Not-Home for the Holidays
November 17, 2004 11:11 AM   Subscribe

If you could spend the Christmas holidays anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why? [mi]

I'd like to take my family somewhere new for the holiday. Unfortunately, we're not widely travelled, so we don't know where to even begin to look.
posted by Irontom to Travel & Transportation (21 answers total)
Myself? Perhaps to a Muslim country, or Israel. I hear they don't practice christmas there, and as an agnostic retailer, I want to puke by the 25th. :-D
posted by shepd at 11:16 AM on November 17, 2004

We don't celebrate Christmas, but my family and I were in London at Christmas several years ago and it was lovely. The weather was cooperative (no snow, a little rain but much warmer temperatures than in Pennsylvania) and the people were kind, and there were great things to see and do. Except for Christmas Day itself, when everything was shut down (no transit, no nothing) except for the Indian-owned grocery down the road from our hotel, where we laid in provisions to eat while we watched British Christmas television including the Queen's Address.

We stayed in a shabby chic tourist hotel and around 7 in the evening on Christmas, we went down to the lobby atrium to find that all of the other tourists had gathered around the massive tree and were sharing snacks and drinks and talking about holiday traditions where they lived and what inspired them to be in a tourist hotel with strangers on that day. Good times, and I mean that sincerely.

Paris, on the other hand, had no visible celebration of the holidays (compared to American cities) and was frightfully boring when we were there in mid-December the following year. No decorations, no holiday spirit, just lots of jaded Parisians who seemed more annoyed than usual since there seemed to be a higher than usual number of tourists milling about. Things changed dramatically, when I lived there in the early 80s it was much nicer and more holidayesque by that point in December. YMMV, but I wouldn't recommend it as a "holiday" destination at this point.
posted by Dreama at 11:28 AM on November 17, 2004

Christmas Island because it's Christmas Island.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:31 AM on November 17, 2004

I don't celebrate Christmas and generally want to be as far away from people who do celebrate it as possible. I found that being on a ferry halfway to Alaska when December 25th hit was about my favorite Christmas ever [self link] and if I still lived on the West Coast I'd be doing it this year as well. It was a great way to force yourself to do pretty much nothing but play games, read, eat and stare at the ocean.
posted by jessamyn at 11:32 AM on November 17, 2004

Rio de Janeiro! Tropical trees decked with Xmas lights, the million-man Santa parade. And, to top it off, you're in Rio de Janeiro!
posted by ba at 11:43 AM on November 17, 2004

I spent the last 2 Christmases in Morocco and India respectively. Nothing like a non-Christian country and wicked warm sunshine to forget about all that Christmas clap-trap. Unfortunately I'm stuck in northern Europe for this one. Bah humbug.
posted by DelusionsofGrandeur at 11:45 AM on November 17, 2004

I think Australia at Christmas would be great.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:48 AM on November 17, 2004

I've spent Christmas in Brasilia in the past. It was a bit dull, really. It's not a big thing there, though it was celebrated. I was also 17 and completely homesick, so it might have been a happier moment if I'd been happier in general.

This year, my immediate family and a portion of my extended family are going to be on a cruise, sailing from San Diego to Ft Lauderdale. Near as I can tell, on Christmas, we should be 1/3 - 2/3 of the way between Aruba and Florida. It's an 'At Sea' day, and I'm sort of looking forward to seeing what the cruise line lays out for Christmas. Ultimately, though, it's the people that I'm with that matters more than where I am.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:53 AM on November 17, 2004

The Island of Misfit Toys, of course : >

Actually, a muslim country sounds like a good idea--maybe Bali? i get tired of Xmas excess too.
posted by amberglow at 12:31 PM on November 17, 2004

posted by waldo at 12:35 PM on November 17, 2004

I've done the Caribbean a couple of times. Avoiding the all-inclusive resorts, and straying from the beaten path was very rewarding both times. Jamaica is a very social place (but has some security problems). The British Virgin Islands were like our own paradise---an hour-long drive from the hotel got us our own beach for the day. It was like being in a postcard.
posted by bonehead at 1:10 PM on November 17, 2004

Hawaii, because that's my answer to every question that starts or ends "Where would you go?" The only downside to Hawaii in the winter is how much more depressing the season is when you return. Also, as an Atheist/Jew I only celebrate Christmas when someone's giving me a big meal or presents.

BTW, air fares are very cheap on Christmas day because everyone's already at where they're going. Lots of us Jews take advantage of that.
posted by callmejay at 1:14 PM on November 17, 2004

Home. My home; not my Mom's and not my In-Law's. But, you knew I'd say that, Irontom. BTW, you're welcome to come unwrap your presents with us. I'll even fix you Eggs Oscar for breakfast.

For foreign countries, I'd love to try Italy during Christmas. My office mate is going to Austria this year for Christmas.
posted by onhazier at 1:16 PM on November 17, 2004

St. Lucia. It's gorgeous. My friends from Barbados say that that's where people from Barbados go to get away from it all and revel in the beauties of nature.

Or Spain. My sense is that the big commercial celebration energy in Spain is more targeted to Three Kings Day rather than Christmas itself, which might be nice.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:23 PM on November 17, 2004

Spending Christmas and New Year's in New Zealand was absolutely one of the best times ever. Just me and the spouse, travelling both the North and South islands was a very nice way of celebrating. The weather was very mild and the retail commercialism of Christmas isn't anywhere near the level you get in the US, so we both enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Also, I've spent Christmas in Australia and that is equally as nice.

Pretty much anywhere that is completely different than what you're used to in your hometown will be an interesting and unique experience.
posted by cyniczny at 3:54 PM on November 17, 2004

New Zealand, because I want to go there anyway, and I figure that the weather should be nice this time of year.
posted by Mars Saxman at 4:16 PM on November 17, 2004

I had a great Christmas in Prague, and not just because they have a tradition of selling live carp on street corners, bludgeoning them, and gutting them into the... gutters. Ahem.

Anyway - Prague is architecturally beautiful, largely atheistic, and not as commercially-Xmas-frenzied as N. America.
posted by stonerose at 4:49 PM on November 17, 2004

(was in prague this year, although not for xmas, obviously - it's beautiful and has amazingly low prices).
posted by andrew cooke at 8:01 PM on November 17, 2004

I'd like to give Norway a try in deep winter so that could be good. The Hurtigruten up the coast, good chance at a decent Northern Lights display, and if your family includes kids then a trip to Father Christmas can also be thrown in.
posted by biffa at 1:52 AM on November 18, 2004

Spent the last two in Dubai and Bahrain respectively. Would definitely recommend Dubai. Stay in one of the Hotels on Jumeriah beach. Great golf as well if you play.
posted by lloyder at 4:42 AM on November 18, 2004

Home to America.

Not that Australia's bad. I love it here. I worked hard to get here. But having spent most of my life in the Pacific Northwest, hot Christmases freak me out. And nobody here cooks nearly as well as my mom.
posted by fricative at 5:44 AM on November 18, 2004

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