.. or, How To Avoid The Traditional Xmas Holiday
Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean that you have to head home for the holidays. We suggest five different destinations for those wishing to avoid a traditional Christmas or who just want to spend the festive season somewhere out of the ordinary.
If it’s the consumerism of Christmas that you wish to escape, then head to Cuba for a tropical festive season. Although Americanisation is inevitably on its way, for now the country remains charmingly stuck in the past. The traditional Caribbean Christmas customs were banished from the island in the sixties by Castro, and commercialism is nowhere to be seen. You’ll find the islanders going about their normal daily routines, giving you free reign to spend the day how you like without worrying about Christmas dinners and gifts.
If you’re looking for somewhere hot to spend the holidays, but don’t feel quite ready to completely give up Christmas, why not head to Christmas Island? Discovered and named on Christmas Day, the island is famed for its beautiful beaches, spectacular diving conditions and abundance of interesting flora and fauna to explore. Every December, millions of red crabs migrate to the sea across the island, making for a spectacular once-in-a-lifetime sight.
Named by Travel & Leisure magazine as the best place in the States to spend Christmas, Taos in New Mexico celebrates the festive season in their own unique way. The entire season of Yuletide is celebrated, rather than simply Christmas Day, with activities ranging from arts and crafts fairs to torchlight processions. Lighting Ledoux is the highlight of the activity, with the historic street being lit by luminarias and bonfires whilst the locals walk around and sip mulled wine.
Unsure if you want a traditional Christmas or to spend the festive season sunning yourself on the beach? Head to Bali for the best of both worlds, with the Christian territories of Belimbingsari and Palasari on the western side of the island offering a Balinese version of the holidays. You’ll find plenty of celebrations in the more touristy resorts, particularly on Christmas Eve, where parties go on all night on the beaches. Spend the day itself relaxing and eating a much healthier meal than you would get back home.
If you’re looking for something a little different this Christmas, yet don’t want to stray too far away from the traditional, head to Kussnacht in Switzerland. You’re extremely likely to be treated to a white Christmas, and you will definitely catch sight of Santa Claus – the only difference is that 20,000 people turn up every year to chase him across the town! The Klausjagen tradition dates back to the Middle Ages as a pagan tradition when locals would attempt to drive away evil spirits, and was updated to chasing Santa in the 18th Century. The chase is carried out in the form of a night-long parade with horn blowers, cow bell percussionists and locals adorned in traditional costumes.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.