Christmas is a magical time for families. Young children suspend disbelief and imagine a burly, old, fat man showing up in a festive red suit, sliding through the chimney, slipping some gifts under the tree, and then sticking around for milk and cookies. Though adults know the story is not real, they still enjoy the merriment that comes along with just believing in miracles. Families reunite, friends reconnect, and people everywhere enjoy the kind of happiness that can only come with Christmas. It is a worldwide universal holiday, even for those not directly celebrating it. It is also a great occasion for travel, especially internationally. Enjoy the sights, sounds, tastes, and textures of another country's Christmas this year. Here are some of the best cities to spend Christmas 2012.
Prague, Czech Republic. If you have never been to the enchanting city of Prague, Christmas is a great opportunity to explore it. Each year, the city transforms its Central Square into a vibrant stage for wooden toys, handmade puppets, and costumed children dancing. Visitors flock here from all over the world to enjoy the energy or pure, joyous celebration. With a shot of Becherovka, the traditional spicy liquor, and a piece of a Trdelnik, a delicious cinnamon sugar pastry, you will be happy to have found this real life winter wonderland.
Quebec City, Canada. Without having to go across the world to find it, Quebec City offers Americans a bit of foreign culture just across the border. Christmas in Quebec City offers magical, snow covered, narrow, old streets, with sparkling lights showing the way. Live street theater brings Old World charm to this beautiful city, and the famous Marche de Noel (Christmas market) has something for everyone - handmade winter accessories, homemade baked goods, and toys crafted by hand.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.Christmas in Africa is celebrated differently than in the United States, and the capital city of Ethiopia is no exception. It even celebrates the holiday on a different date - January 7thinstead of December 25ththanks to following the old Julian calendar. In Ethiopia, devotees fast on Christmas Eve, and then wear traditional white garments on Christmas morning (Christmas is called "Ganna"). The early Ganna mass commences at 4am, so don't forget your alarm clock!
Tokyo, Japan. With less than 1% of its population identifying themselves as Christian, Japan is not the destination for those looking for a traditional holiday. December 25 is not a national holiday, but the holiday season feelings still endure. Celebrations and gift exchanges abound, as do big sales in the stores. If you are looking for an alternative Christmas vacation, Tokyo may be the option for you.
Vienna, Austria. Vienna combines sophistication, elegance, tradition, and cozy warmth in its Christmas time celebrations. Visitors can check out the beautiful and lavish City Hall and take in several holiday concerts. Pick up some apple strudel, hand crafted gifts, and local brews to full enjoy the pleasures of an Austrian Christmas.
These are just a few cities that make special destinations during Christmas. Many cities around the world make special celebrations, so find the one that best suits your needs.
About the Author: Adam Franklin is an avid traveler and writer with a passion for backpacking the American Southwest. Click hereto see other destinations Adam recommends!