Best Holiday Destination to Spend this Christmas
Christmas is everyone’s favourite time of year. Although it is a Christian tradition the atmosphere, vibe and decorations has everyone caught up in the fun of the holiday season. What’s more is that Christmas is a time for giving and sharing and that invokes feelings of warmth, which is another reason why people from all backgrounds enjoy this time a year.
Christmas is only a matter of months away and spending it abroad can be an entirely new and unique experience. We all know what Christmas is like where we live so why not explore and see how it’s celebrated elsewhere! We’ve narrowed it down to one place to spend your Christmas this year. It’s been a difficult decision with so many wonderful countries that celebrate the festival so lavishly, but there can only be one winner.
We’ve gone with Germany and in all honesty we could have gone with 10 other places however, we felt Germany is underrated. The country does have a lot to offer during the holiday season, let’s take a look…
Christmas markets in Germany go as far back as the 14th century and there is no shortage of things to buy and do. In their infancy, the markets traditionally sold practical items and foodstuffs to help citizens get through the winter months, however over the centuries, they have turned into buzzing markets open for 12 hours every day from November onwards. Help yourself to German Christmas delights such as Stollen (traditional German bread and dried food), Lebkuchen (gingerbread biscuits), Bratapfel (baked applies) and Maronen (roasted chestnuts). Once you’ve eaten to your fill, take a tour on an old-fashioned carousel, listen to some carols and pick up a few souvenirs! There are no shortage of markets either, Berlin has 60 alone!
German winters are very cold and temperatures usually drop below zero but that presents a great opportunity to try out some winter sports. Germany is home to some quality ski resort so if you don’t want a quiet Christmas telling stories around the fireplace, go and check them out. The most famous ski resort in Germany is the Garmisch-Partenkirchen. These were actually two different resorts but merged for the 1936 Winter Olympics and since has become a well-renowned place to ski owing to its 47 miles of downhill skiing and 7 miles of cross country skiing. Even today, the resort is used for World Cup competitions.
German Christmas Traditions
The people of Germany enjoy some of their very own unique Christmas traditions. The tradition of the Advent Wreath was established by a gentleman named Johann Hinrich Wichern who was a German pastor that founded an orphanage in 1833, in the city of Hamburg. The children of the orphanage would get quite impatient during Christmas time and would constantly ask him if it’s Christmas yet. In order to make the wait bearable for the children, Johann created the Advent Wreath. The last 4 Sunday’s before Christmas, or every Sunday in December, a candle is lit on the Wreath and families help themselves to cookies. In the present day, this practice has been altered a bit, namely the advent calendar, which is more widely used.
Another fun German tradition that takes place on 6th December is called Nikolaus day, Santa’s actual name. Residents leave their shoes on the front door and a man, representing Nikolaus fills them with sweets and treats. This practice has also been altered, the more widespread stockings are used for packing little gifts.
If you want some time away from the German markets, Germany has a wide range of shopping malls with a whole host of restaurants and department stores.
In Cologne there is a shopping mall called the Schildergasse. Schildergasse is the busiest shopping street in Europe with 13,000 people passing through it every hour. The Schildergasse is decorated with modern architecture but has a long history behind it, it has been running since the middle ages.
Munich, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Berlin are also home to great shopping centres and Boulevards. Expect to see your traditional department stores with a German mix.
If you can handle the freezing conditions and want a proper winter Christmas, Germany is the place to be. Soak in the atmosphere, take part in the traditions and come back with many memories and gifts!