Christmas is a cultural explosion in many parts of the world, a time for family, community and faith. That makes it a perfect time to visit another city and immerse your family in the local traditions. For us Southern Hemisphere types, a Christmas up North suddenly puts all those Christmas traditions into perspective.
Here are five Christmas destinations to feed your soul:
Wake up early Christmas morning, rug up in your Sunday best for Christmas Mass at Westminster Abbey and then enjoy a stroll through the uncrowded streets of London. Plan ahead and book a traditional Christmas lunch at a restaurant or drop into the local pub for a simple meal with the locals. Most businesses and attractions close for 2-3 days but there are seasonal events to keep you entertained like the annual river swim in Hyde Park. Why not take a dip with them?
Christmas markets fill the city and provide a great place to watch Germans at play and enjoy the wonders of hot mull wine and hearty German food. The main Christmas Mass occurs on Christmas Eve at the Berliner Dom and you need to be early to get a seat or try the less crowded Christmas Day service. The markets open after lunch on Christmas Day and the usual attractions open throughout the holidays albeit with some reduced hours.
Attend Christmas Mass at St Peters Basilica, even the agnostic feel God’s presence as the Pontiff celebrates Mass above the resting place of Saint Peter (you know someone who actually met Jesus).
Join thousands of pilgrims on the trail of Jesus, and visit some of the Holiest places in Christendom. Then remember Jesus’ Hebrew heritage and leave a prayer at the Wailing Wall.
One for the Northerners, grab a bucket of seafood and an esky (cooler) full of beer and head to the beach for a traditional Aussie Christmas experience. Then on Boxing Day join the faithful at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the Boxing Day Test Match. Christmas will never be the same again.