If the thought of insipid weather, soggy sprouts, middle-of-the-road TV and a houseful of distant relatives makes you want to escape the UK for sunnier climes this Christmas, then there is a world of fabulous destinations to be enjoyed sans Auntie Sylvia!
If you're after snow, then head north to Swedish Lapland for guaranteed white stuff and a bevy of authentic looking Santa Claus’s. You may see the Northern Lights, which are certainly a more exciting spectacle than a re-run of ET and will provide that bit of magic for children 'the night before Christmas'. If you're after city life, visit the capital, Stockholm for a cosy, picture-perfect ambience, stacks of culture and delicious, alternatively festive cuisine, including gamey meats, berries and lashings of brannvin or 'burn-wine', which is sure to put fire in your belly.
Without children in tow, Reykjavík in Iceland offers a grown up Christmas city break, with snow as standard for that authentic Christmassy feel, amazing nightlife and the famous Blue Lagoon to warm the cockles al fresco style! However, if you're after some heat this festive season, then countries in South East Asia, the Indian Ocean and Indonesia will be basking in temperatures exceeding 30C and provide that balmy beach backdrop for a chilled out Christmas holiday abroad.
For those wanting a compromise between a traditional home-style Christmas and hot, hot, hot weather, Australia and New Zealand provide a Christmas model not unlike our own - but with the perks of great weather and great beaches. So if you'd prefer to throw a prawn on the barbeque than a log on the fire this Christmas, these Antipodean beauties might just fit the bill for the festive season.
South Africa is also a fabulous festive destination, with lush green scenery, outstanding marine and wildlife, exciting cities and a rich culture. Visit the vineyards of Stellenbosh before heading south to Cape Town for a pre-dawn walk up Table Mountain ready for a Champagne breakfast on Christmas Day. Or see Christmas in at Storms River on the Garden Route, where this spectacular gorge spills out onto the surf.
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