Christmas can be a magical time for young and old alike. While many of our most magical moments might be the simple ones, surrounded by friends and family, if you’re looking to experience a truly memorable Christmas away from home next year, here are some travel suggestions:
Germany is known for its Christmas markets, and what better way to go Christmas shopping this year than by travelling from one market to another? Home of the Nutcracker, there are beautiful wooden sculpted pieces of every imaginable size to choose from. The markets often take place in the town square at the foot of the Cathedrals which were built in the centers of every major town hundreds of years ago. Here is video of one such market I’ve personally visited in Cologne. A list of every major market in Germany is available here.
What better place to celebrate the birth of Jesus than his home? The security situation in Bethlehem varies from year to year, however there are plenty of options within Israel proper to choose from. There are services, activities and tours from the Galilee to Jerusalem’s most holy church, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is identified as the place both of the crucifixion and the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. The church has long been a major pilgrimage center for Christians all around the world. If travel to Bethlehem is possible, an Israeli website dedicated to Christian tours of Israel during Christmastime has the details on the magic to be found there:
The city of Bethlehem — decorated in tinsel, lights and Christmas trees — celebrates Christmas for nearly two months as different denominations mark the holiday on different dates.
The Church of Nativity and its underground grotto with the famous 14-pointed star — assumed to be the spot where Jesus was born — is a pilgrimage site for all Christians visiting the Holy Land.
“It’s a wonderful pilgrimage to experience Mass at the Church of Nativity or at the Church of St. Catherine, carols in Manger Square or to be in Bethlehem when the Patriarch makes his way to Manger Square,” says Travelujah’s Moed. “These are experiences you can only have here in the Holy Land.”
If you’re not interested or able to travel abroad this Christmas, spending it in Pennsylvania can be the next best thing. There’s even a few towns named Bethlehem stateside which offer Christmas celebrations. Bethlehem in Pennsylvania is one of these towns, and is arguably the most famous for its Christmas activities. There’s a long list of events taking place throughout the month of December, as well as some that go on for the entire month. This year the town is exhibiting ethnic Christmas trees from around the world at one of the local hotels. There’s also a Christmas market with food vendors, artisans, performers and of course, good old St. Nicholas.
Christmas in snowy New England’s small colonial towns is a blast from the past. There are dozens of activities across many states to choose from, which could be a fun road trip, weather permitting. The historic town of Deerfield in Massachusetts has a wide variety of options, including demonstrations on hearth cooking, gingerbread decorating, horse drawn wagon rides, gift making, and historic letterpress printing demonstrations to make some beautiful Christmas cards for friends and family.
Have you ever traveled to celebrate Christmas somewhere unique?