Christmas is inarguably America’s greatest holiday. Being surrounded by family and watching the kids geek out because Santa will be making his way down the chimney on Christmas Eve is such a magical time.
And there really is nothing like spending Christmas at home. Whether it’s the blistering cold in New England or the blistering heat in Arizona – the cheery vibe is still the same.
But, there’s something truly magical about a white Christmas.
So if you decide to get out of the house this Christmas – or better yet, out of the United States – then check out these must-see destinations.
You’ll find they celebrate Christ’s birth just as well as we do, if not even better!
St. Petersburg, Russia
One key fact about St. Petersburg, Russia is that it’s only 500 miles away from the Arctic Circle, which means baby it’s cold outside! During Christmastime in St. Petersburg, you’ll find steaming banyas and frozen canals.
It’s important to note that most Russians follow the Julian calendar, so they celebrate Christmas in early January. But that doesn’t mean the Christmas spirit isn’t already afoot.
Other than their snow-dusted architecture and magnificent cathedrals, the best thing about this time of year in St. Petersburg is their Christmas markets. With a heavy influence on food, tourists should also expect concerts, toys, and fairground rides.
Are you an ice skater? You better believe ice skaters are welcome here too. Skate to your heart’s content.
If you can get over the cold weather, and it will be cold, then St. Petersburg is where you want to be this Christmas.
If you’ve ever been to Tuscany, you may have heard the expression, “Tuscany is never closed.” Well, that’s certainly the case during Christmas, because December is a peak season for this region.
Like St. Petersburg, Tuscany has wonderful Christmas markets like the Pisa or the Florence Noel. You’ll find delicious roasted chestnuts and mushrooms, spicy red wine, and all the cultural gifts you could possibly imagine.
Tuscany is also huge on the Nativity scene as well. They take it very seriously and to the max. Any Nativity you’ve ever seen before will pale in comparison to Tuscany!
You might not think anything could be more “Christmas-ey” than America, but London would prove you wrong. In fact, some might argue that London does Christmas better than any other place in the states.
From the magical Christmas attractions like Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park to experiencing Kensington Palace decorated in Victorian era fashion, London is truly magical at Christmastime.
And if you want to test out those vocal cords and show the Londoners how to sing, you can sing Christmas carols at the Trafalgar Square under their world-famous Christmas tree, or at St. Paul’s Cathedral or Royal Albert Hall. Their singers are probably better than you, but all are welcome to join in song.
One of the coolest things about London during Christmas is what they call “pop-ups”. Step back in time at Lady Celeste’s 1900s Parisian Rooftop Bar at the Queen of Hoxton, or snuggle with your loved one in York & Albany’s gingerbread cabin.
But it doesn’t matter where you go, the Christmas decorations and displays are world class all over London.
Three words. Sausage, sausage, sausage.
Do you like sausage? Then there’s nothing like the world-famous sausages in Germany. But don’t forget about the Lebkuchen either!
This world-famous treat, similar to gingerbread, has been baked in Nuremburg for more than 600 years. You can find this gingerbread goodie in every size and all shapes, and topped with different icings and sweets at every single Christmas market.
Nuremburg also offers wonderful stagecoach tours where you can curl up under a blanket and enjoy the city’s incredible sights while the coachman plays his trumpet. Yeah, they do it real like that.
The Christmas markets in Nuremburg also sell tons of handmade ornaments made out of wood or glass—the perfect souvenir to forever remember your Christmas trip to Germany.
And if you’ve brought the little ones, they also have a children’s Christmas market with merry-go-rounds and even Santa Clause!
This might be the most unique destination of all.
If you’ve never been to Finland, then prepare yourself for the most awe-inspiring experience of your entire life.
Finland puts most places to shame in terms of beauty.
Gorgeous? That word is an understatement. Especially around Christmastime.
Here you’ll find a very Santa Clause inspired atmosphere, complete with all his reindeer. In fact, only 8km north of Lapland is the town of Rovaniemi—the official hometown of Santa Clause!
Your kids minds will be completely blown away. They may even believe in him forever, because it’s that impressive!
People say they come here more for Finland’s Christmas experience and magical ambiance than for their cuisine. Expect to eat lots of fish, root vegetables, and all sorts of exotic, gamey meats—including “reindeer”. Just don’t tell the kids they’re eating Rudolph.
These destinations might cost a pretty penny, but there’s no question—you will have a once-in-a-lifetime Christmas!