It’s the most wonderful time of the year, filled with peace, joy and a wealth of seasonal shopping opportunities. The festive season is a special but bizarre time of year, with the build up to Christmas becoming stressful for many people. Well we believe Christmas is not just a time for shopping, but an ideal time for a holiday! Fuse the two by jetting off to these wonderful destinations, perfect for a last minute shopping trip.
It isn’t too far away for most of us – a train ride or drive if you’re brave – but for those who don’t live in the capital, visiting London at Christmas really does feel like a holiday. With the world famous Harrods, Oxford Street and countless other shopping districts you can’t go wrong, but it’s the huge Christmas tree and topiary Rudolph in Covent Garden which will make you feel all festive. It’s a great choice for a mini-break or a one day shopping extravaganza.
Although the festive season is all about being cold, making snowmen and huddling around a fire, sometimes you just need a bit of reprieve! Unless you plan on heading to the other side of the world, the best place you will find some sunshine in December is Dubai. It also boasts some of the best shopping in the world – it’s a win-win situation! Although a non-Christian country, the Emirates really go all out on the decorations too – one Abu Dhabi hotel has the world’s most expensive Christmas tree, costing $11.5 million.
We couldn’t decide on a definitive German city; the country has more festive markets than any other and transforms into a Winter Wonderland for the joyous season. The continental markets attract visitors from all over the world, with Cologne, Nuremberg and Dresden probably offering the best Christmas market experience on the planet. They offer the real deal when it comes to gifts; carved wooden toys, handmade candles and crafts, not to mention local revered German cuisine and traditional mulled wine. There’s also lots to keep the kids entertained, including classic fairground rides, to make the city shopping break a family affair.
Strasbourg is home to the oldest Christmas market in France, dating back to the 16th century, making it a real authentic experience. Again this festive market is not just designed for shopping; go for a romantic skate on the ice rink, keep the kids entertained with a gingerbread bakery and storytelling, and lap up the Christmas cheer with over 50 concerts and performances. Strasbourg is the very essence of Christmas!
- New York
If you’re willing to travel a little further, then New York is truly unbeatable when it comes to Christmas shopping. Not only can you shop-til-you-drop at some of the world’s best malls, you will get to experience the holidays in true extravagant American style. The department stores go all out with their holiday window displays, and you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to seasonal entertainment (think famous ballets and musicals). Don’t miss the huge New York spectacle that is the Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree – it’s worth braving the crowds for.