Santa doesn’t need to be the only one flying for Christmas. This year, we’ve been extra nice and are hoping to trade snow boots and waist-high snow for bikinis and swim-up pool bars. Find out what’s on our Christmas wish list, and steal some ideas for your own Christmas vacation. We have the top 10 holiday destinations for Christmas Break 2015:
1. Sun Holidays in Hawaii
For an island vacation full of sunshine, beaches, and friendly locals, spend Christmas in Hawaii. Here, you’ll get the best of both worlds: a vacation with everything you’ve come to expect from a visit to the beach mid-winter, and Christmas celebrations similar to what you’re used to in Canada. Experience the Honolulu City Lights for the tree-lighting, and giant Yuletide displays. With smaller resorts, and no huge resort strips like the island’s Caribbean counterparts, you’ll have a quieter, restful vacation here. Let someone else look after Christmas dinner and relax on the beach in this top vacation destination with your family for a Christmas break vacation you’ll want to make tradition.
2. Best Family Holiday Destinations: Barbados
We think Santa heads to Barbados for vacation after he’s done delivering on Christmas Eve. Here, experience the true Caribbean Christmas feeling, where homes and business are decorated in Christmas lights, where Christmas music blasts from every radio, and the locals spend the holidays with family and friends. Enjoy time with your own loved ones with a sun package to this top vacation destination, where the beach is inviting and the Christmas spirit is addicting. Replace the white snow with white sand and enjoy perfect weather, beautiful aqua waters, and smiles as warm as the sun. You won’t feel like you’re missing out on Christmas while on an all-inclusive holiday here: a true tropical Christmas is in store on your Barbados vacation.
3. Holiday packages with Christmas market river cruises
Embrace the colder temperatures and see Europe at discounted prices during slower travel periods. Hop on a river cruise, like the Avalon Waterways’ “Christmas in the Heart of Germany” tour and experience the magic of the German Christmas markets. See the historic cities from the famous rivers and canals that flow through them, and enjoy the historic markets celebrating Saint Nick. Pick up a traditional gift for someone special back home, or swap out Christmas cookies for hot chestnuts and grilled sausages. Enjoy spiced wine, gingerbread, homemade nutcrackers, and both historic and charming cities and towns along the route. A river cruise is the perfect holiday package for a romantic trip away, or for the traveller looking to escape on their own and treat themselves to the romance of Europe. A definite on any top 10 holiday destinations list.
4. Best family holiday packages: Kids stay free resorts throughout the Caribbean
Gifts for the kids that keep mom and dad happy are the best kind, aren’t they? Opt for a holiday destination which offers a kids stay free program at the all-inclusive resort: save some cash to splurge on excursions or to make a Christmas vacation possible for the budget-minded traveller. Ask your travel agent for a list of resorts with programs for kids staying (and eating!) free, or for programs like teen exclusives or savings for single parents. Your kids will beg you to make a Christmas vacation away the new normal, and you might just be able to afford this new Christmas tradition.
5. Going places in Turks and Caicos
Your Turks and Caicos vacation will be one you’ll want to do again and again. Sit back and relax and get the R&R you deserve over the holidays with a trip to this beautiful island of beaches, snorkeling, diving, and clear water. Stick around the island and celebrate Maskanoo: a musical celebration with groups competing against each other with drums and costumes on Boxing Day. Coming from the days of slavery when Christmas and New Year’s were the only days off given, Maskanoo is a celebration of the island’s history, music, and the holiday period. You’ll be going places you won’t want to miss with Turks and Caicos day trips. Take part with dancing and toe tapping, Masquerade costumes, or opt to lay pool-side and soak up the sun over the Christmas break with your sun holidays. Whatever you choose, a Christmas vacation in Turks and Caicos will be memorable – and guaranteed to be full of sunshine.
6. Best family holiday destinations: A Christmas vacation at Disney
Christmas at Disney World is magical, and lucky for travellers on a strict time schedule, runs from early November until January, ensuring you can make it to Disney for a bit of holiday spirit and make it for family turkey dinner on December 25th. Visit during Christmas week for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party or New Year’s Eve for an elaborate fireworks display. For travellers looking to visit Disney and enjoy an Orlando vacation package earlier in the holiday season, you’ll still see lots to get into the Christmas spirit! All Disney Parks are decorated with massive Christmas trees and Christmas ornaments throughout, and Cinderella’s castle lights up with the Dream Lights display throughout the holiday season. Catch Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade during the weekends that bookend Christmas and see the parade during regular park hours. Other special Christmas vacation activities in Disney include choirs, light displays, characters decked out in holiday attire, and more.
7. Going places in St. Kitts
Visit St. Kitts and celebrate twice as much as you would at home. On the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis, Carnival (Sugar Mas) is celebrated during the holiday season, rather than around Ash Wednesday, like the majority of Caribbean countries, making it one of the best holiday destinations. Celebrate with locals and learn about St. Kitts’ culture and African heritage and see a blend of colours as part of the native dress, alongside Santa hats here. Choose from a range of vacation packages and enjoy a peaceful Christmas away beachside. Who says the holidays are stressful?
8. Best holiday destinations: Winter Wonderland in London, England
From the end of November to early January, celebrate Christmas with one of the best holiday destinations: London. Watch as Hyde Park transforms into a Winter Wonderland with a huge Christmas market, ice skating, big top shows, and a lit-up observation wheel for views of the festivities from the sky. Festive goods will be found in the markets, while the young – and young at heart – will enjoy rides and games. Look up for a view of the Zippos Circus (and maybe Santa’s sleigh) at this event that we couldn’t forget in our top vacation destinations guide.
9. Going Places: Portland, Oregon
For something closer to home at Christmastime, opt for a visit to Portland, Oregon on the United States’ westcoast and get into the Christmas spirit. The Christmas Festival of Lights, running from American Thanksgiving through December 30 at The Grotto, is a Christmas spectacle not to be missed. The largest Christmas choral festival in the world, experience over 150 holiday concerts and family entertainment for your holiday vacation. Oh come all ye travellers: this musical event should be on the top of your holiday destination list as church, civic, and school choirs welcome you to the season.
10. Going places in the Caribbean: Christmas cruises
Can’t settle for a top vacation destination? Neither can we. Families looking to keep the young ones busy over the holiday season, even while on vacation, should consider a Christmas cruise. With activities ranging from visits from Santa to bubbly to ring in the New Year, and turkey dinner just like grandmother makes, taking a sun holiday over the Christmas period has something for everyone. Many cruise lines have special Christmas Day activities and entertainment, to make each island you visit the best holiday destination.
Tell us: where are you spending this year’s Christmas vacation?