A time for reunions, joy, and celebrations, Christmas is one of the most cherished holidays around the world. It is the perfect time to get together and spend some quality time with your loved ones. One of the most magical aspects of this holiday is that each country has its own unique traditions and special ways of celebrating. From caroling in the streets to decorating trees with colorful ornaments, each culture brings its own flavor to how they celebrate Christmas. Keep reading to find out how you can experience Christmas like a local in some of the most iconic cities across the globe, where the festivities and traditions are so big you will not want to miss them!
New York City, USA
As the decorations have been set and the lights illuminate Fifth Avenue, and ice skating at Rockefeller Center becomes a favorite activity amongst locals and travelers, New York City turns truly magical around the holidays. Simply walking through the city streets and seeing the displays and festivities, you will feel like you’ve stepped straight into a Christmas movie! Many events are also organized during this season… you can find plenty of Broadway Shows performed entirely with some of the best-known Christmas jingles. Not to mention the range of shopping opportunities available, with stores extending their hours late into the night to accommodate last-minute shoppers searching for gifts for their loved ones before December 25th. You may just find the perfect gift, whether it’s for that special someone or family who’s tricky to shop for!
Planning a trip to Helsinki during the holidays will be a magical opportunity to experience the best of Finnish culture. People gather for a traditional Christmas dinner known as “joulupöytä”, which typically includes tasty dishes made with ham or salmon, potatoes, carrots, turnips, and a wide variety of vegetables deliciously cooked with butter and spices. After dinner, people sing carols before heading out for midnight mass at one of Helsinki’s magical churches, such as Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral. You can also admire the sparkly lights as you walk through the city, visit one of the indoor or outdoor Christmas markets, or unwind in a sauna. Finally, on Christmas Day itself, everyone enjoys exchanging gifts while indulging in plenty of sweet treats.
As beautiful as Sydney is during any time of the year, the city truly comes to life in the winter. The iconic harbor is transformed into a winter wonderland in December, with colorful lights stretching across the waters (also known for their magical fireworks displays on New Year’s Eve). When you visit Sydney during Christmas, you may enjoy some of the city’s many free events, including carols by candlelight concerts, outdoor movie screenings, or exploring the bustling markets where local gifts are sold. You may just find the perfect present for who you’ve been searching for! There are also carol services held at The Domain or Bondi Beach on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, you can participate in some traditional Aussie BBQs held by locals across the city… just make sure you bring your own snags!
Germany is known all around the world for their extraordinary Christmas markets. If you want to get the full holiday experience, we suggest you visit Nuremberg in December. This breathtaking city hosts numerous traditional markets that date centuries back in time, including one in front of the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady). Here you can find all sorts of handmade decorations and gifts, wooden toys and nutcrackers, and traditional German food such as roasted almonds or bratwursts. Throughout the month there are also various concerts, plays, and other performances being held in various venues across town. If you visit Nuremberg during Christmastime, don’t miss out on their famous Christkindlesmarkt – a large outdoor market that features over 200 different stands selling local goods and treats!
Your Christmas Adventure
So, there you have it… Some of our favorite Christmas celebrations around the world. Have you experienced any – or which one’s at the top of your list? We’d love to know! 😊
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