Where will your family spend the holidays this year? At Aunt Betty’s in Baltimore? Uncle Harold’s in Harrisburg? Over the river and through the woods at Grandma’s House? Why not create a new holiday tradition and travel to an altogether different destination? Here are three locations that will get you in the spirit of Christmas from a new perspective.
This isolated island group is known not just for its namesake shorts! Bermuda’s legendary pink sands – perfect for digging your toes into – and crystal clear waters make it an ideal holiday destination for anyone looking to simply escape the cold and snowy climates. And the holiday season is one of the merriest times of year in Bermuda. To kick off the season, several homes in UNESCO World Heritage Site, St. George’s, complete with lavish seasonal décor and lights, are open to the public; historical re-enactors roam the candlelit streets; and the sound of classic carols fills the air. On Christmas day, hundreds of locals, ex-pats and visitors gather at Elbow Beach in Paget’s Parish to take in the sunrise, drink champagne and, if they’re brave, take a plunge in the Atlantic. On New Year’s Eve, St. George’s in Hamilton hosts an only-in-Bermuda tradition, celebrating the island’s longtime association with onions. The Big Onion comes down at midnight to ring in 2015, and is preceded by parties, live music and more. Don’t forget to try Cassava Pie, a sweet cake made with butter, eggs, vanilla, and shredded cassava root layered with meat and chicken; it’s been the Bermuda national dish for more than 300 years and is an essential part of any Christmas meal.
At Christmastime, when snow blankets the city and the temperatures dip down below, Montréaliens bundle up and hit the streets of their amazing city. Festivals galore are on offer in just about every corner of the city – indoors and outdoors – and the outdoor sporting activity options are just about never-ending. At the Pointe-à-Callière Museum, visit the Who is the real Santa Claus? exhibit to learn more about the man in red. See how people around the planet celebrate the holidays at Saint Joseph’s Oratory, where visitors can admire nativity scenes by Québec artists and some 200 crèches from over 100 countries. Over at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, gaze at more than 25 Christmas trees decorated by different cultural communities. Warm up with a chocolat chaud in a cozy café to wrap up a perfect day of exploring beautiful Montréal.
Santa Claus, Indiana
The spirit of St. Nick is alive and well in a corner of southern Indiana, home of Holiday World, the world’s first-ever theme park, family-run since 1946. Though the theme park is closed in the wintertime, this cozy town will give you a taste of what Christmas used to be, thanks to its great line up of fun, family-centered events. The Santa Claus Christmas Celebration adds Christmas cheer to the first three weekends in December. Visit Santa at the Santa Claus Christmas store or write him a letter at the Santa Claus Museum & Village, where you can also learn about the history of this sweet town. Follow the shining story of Rudolph as told through the Santa Claus Land of Lights: a Family Christmas Light Adventure. Don’t forget a cup of gourmet frozen hot chocolate at Santa’s Candy Castle!