December finishes the year with the Christmassy glory, as glasses filled with red wine clinked amongst the chatterings of ‘New Year’s Resolutions’. Christmas for some of us may be as simple as gathering with loved ones and stuffing our faces with Roasted Turkey and Cold Ham; but for others, Christmas will only begin when they have the real deal - Rudolf-like red nose, glistening treetops, sleighs covered in snow… White Christmas that is.
Stuck in our tropical climate, we can only fabricate White Christmases scenes with plastic Christmas trees, foam-bubbles, or more tragically, staring at the snowglobe we bought from a souvenir shop.
Those who have decided to live your White Christmas dream this year end in the Northern Hemisphere, these are the best locations for your magical moment.
With average maximum temperature of frosty 3 degree celsius, a proper ‘White Christmas’ is a definite in Austria. Salzburg is a winter wonderland with the merry bustle of the Salzburg Christmas market located at the food of Hohensalzburg Fortress, along with the countless ringing of church bells.
Although there is only 2 hours of sunshine, many smaller scales events are happening around the city; ranging from Christmas markets filled with warmth, to adventurous winter skiing, to enjoying the peaceful glow of the cities, cuddled with loved ones as the eventful year comes to an end.
Internationally known for its hilltop castle, cultural festivals, and Hogmanay street party, Edinburgh is a destination that will warm your heart in the wintry weather during the Christmas season. The gusty climate with occasional snow while events like live music and spectacular firework display on George Street make the city more magical than it already is.
If you want a mellow, party-free Christmas, Weimar is the place for you. This UNESCO World Heritage town is where the first Christmas tree was erected. Do you also know that the famous Christmas carol, ‘O Du Fröhliche’, was first composed here by Wilhelm Hoffman to cheer up the poor children of the town in early 1800s?
The heart of Nuremberg’s Old Town will morph into a Christmas city with more than 180 snow-covered market stands, shining as Germany’s most famous Christkindlemarkt. This little town of wood and cloth with more than 400 years of tradition is endowed with the high chances of snow in late December.
‘Champagne Showers’ kind of snow covers the roof of the medieval old town and outdoor candles fill its cobblestone lanes with glowing snow. Bask in this fairytale atmosphere from December to the first weeks of January at Town Hall Square in Tallinn, keeping warm with Estonian food and drink of the season, shopping at handicraft specialists’ shops, and even visiting mini zoos and snow sculptures for kids.
Winter calls for exciting sporting opportunities such as outdoor ice rinks and ski tracks.
Winter chills add to the snuggly, romantic atmosphere as frost fogs bistro windows and snowflakes sparkle against glittering skyscrapers and a few struggle to tickle your nose before they melt away forever. From Fort to St Urbain, await the annual Santa Claus Parade that will bring out your childhood fangirl mode.
Montreal is not a city of concrete jungles, you can indulge in various winter activities such as cross-country ski, riding snowmobiles and horse drawn sleigh at Mont Royal, and even ice fishing within the city itself!
Sure the name of the country does help in creating the atmosphere and makes your nose turn Rudolf-red at the thought of it, but Iceland is no blizzard climate. There are no shortages of winter activities to keep visitors entertained and Reykjavik’s main Christmas market is definitely the one at Ingolfstorg Square with Yuletide music; nothing will beat a White Christmas amongst these toy house looking buildings.
You might want to try glacier hiking too.
Unlike Europeans celebrating on 25th December, Christmas is marked in January under the Orthodox calendar. However, Christmas spirits will not pale. Red Square will be littered with stalls representing European and Russian cities selling traditional Russian souvenirs - Tula Gingerbread, shawls from Orenburg, and Khokhloma painted wooden tableware.
Snow? It will stick around till spring.
Prague, Czech Republic
Old style Christmas markets with red-roofed huts at Old Town Square will dazzle you with their enchanting lights and the romantic city streets with the festive spirits. Concerts and performances fill the halls of Prague’s theatres and churches. Spot random ice skating rinks erected in various locations around the city as you strut down the lanes in your layered coats.
Aspen, Colorado, USA
White Christmas is not a dream, it is a certainty. Powdery snow covering the four majestic mountains, Aspen is one of the world’s most famous ski destinations. Before you retire for the night in the brightly lit posh hotels, enjoy all sorts of cheery activities from concerts to street entertainment to sleigh rides. It is as if you spent your White Christmas from a selected postcard.
Be sure to gather round Senate Square at 2pm to see Santa arrive by tram along with the mayor of Helsinki. This is a page out of your storybook where singing carolers line the streets alongside real reindeers and snowmen.
Of course, the most surreal destination for the last. Do you know Santa Claus comes from Finland? If you already knew, then what are you waiting for? Meet him in his office at Santa Claus Village in Lapland! Live your childhood dreams and forget about people telling you Santa Claus doesn’t exist, because you get to talk to him right here!
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