Family guilt aside, if money and time were no object where would you spend your holiday season? Would you still be balancing whose mother-in-law’s turn it is? Or would you get on the first flight out of town?
As a military brat, I spent most of life moving from city to city, country to country. This changed very little as I grew older. That gypsy blood in me only got stronger – always ready to explore new places, new people. Taking a job overseas or moving to Mexico on a whim is my MO.
Fortunately, family guilt is not in my DNA. Packing a bag and going MIA for the holidays would be something right up my alley and totally expected. “That’s just Grace” my family and friends would say.
Here are my top 5 Christmassy hot spots. These locations should be on everyone’s bucket list. Some may be more achievable than others; but, hey you’ve got one life to live!
- Prague, the Czech Republic – It’s Gothic churches and baroque buildings set the stage for a very regal holiday experience. There is a 600 year-old clock, cobble stone alleys, a castle or two. Oh and the snow, the magical powder transforming the city into something straight out of a Mark Twain novel. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what does this say to you?
- Bethlehem, West Bank – Is there anything quite like spending Christmas where it all started? If you really want to experience the meaning of Christmas – this is the place to be. The Manger Square is considered to be the most iconic Christmas destination on the planet. Church of the Nativity, the Milk Grotto, the Shepherd’s Fields, Mount of Olives make this a never to forget pilgrimage.
- Midnight Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City – And to carry on that heavenly theme, there is nothing quite as memorable as hearing Pope Francis hold Christmas Eve Mass. Christmas in of itself is a magical time of the year, add the Vatican and now you have the makings of a fairy tale experience. Religion aside, the Vatican Christmas Mass is a special occasion that spreads peace and unity as you stand shoulder to shoulder with about 15,000 other believers.
- Santa Claus Village, Finland – Need I say more? I mean you get to cross the Article Circle and meet Santa Claus – all at the same time, everyday!? All jokes aside, this is indeed a magical experience. The flying reindeer may be a legend; but, not this generous character. Oh, did I mention it’s also an amusement park? Feel like a kid again and see St. Nick’s 2nd home.
- New York City, USA – This is one city that epitomizes the hustle, bustle and beauty of Christmas. Feast your eyes on the world’s largest Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, catch New York City Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” or just stroll around The Big Apple and take it all in: window shopping, museums, Central Park, ice skating. It’s the main character of so many iconic movies for a reason.
And honestly, the list of Christmas destinations could go on and on. There’s Christkindlesmarkt (Christmas Market) in Nuremberg; sun bathing in Bondi Beach; unexpected fairy-lit Toyko and countless other winter destinations.
Life is about the memories you make; not the possessions your own.
Step out of your comfort zone and take time to see new things. If not now, then when?
Do you have a favorite Christmas hot spot? Leave me a comment below. I love hearing from you!
Happy Advent and Happy Blogmas
(Pstt Don’t forget to subscribe so that you don’t miss any of my Blogmas stories)