I always dreamt of a white Christmas as a small boy. The nostalgic childhood thoughts burst into memories of Christmas movie favourites such as A Christmas Story, A Christmas Carol and Home Alone.
But thinking of what the snow is falling on, is just as important as where the snow may fall. These six cities will put the magic in Christmas like nowhere else.
Vail, Colorado - USA
Ski lodges deck the halls with holly; skiing Santa’s line the many slopes; Christmas lights twinkle throughout the snow covered trees. Vail is a popular ski resort that really turns on the Christmas charm.
The third largest ski mountain in North America, Vail is a winter favourite. With more than 200 ski runs and an endless number of family activities, this popular destination comes alive at Christmas.
Tree lighting ceremonies, Christmas parades and loads of cheer make for a festive holiday. If renting a villa or home, arrangements can be made to have a beautifully decorated Christmas tree waiting for you upon arrival.
Lapland, Finland - Scandinavia
Even as adults, we’d like to think there could be a place where anything is possible; where the natural beauty is endless and constantly draws your breath. Lapland in northern Finland is a place where you can watch the Northern Lights dance across the night sky, and where dog and reindeer sleighs are the most common form of transport.
This is not a mythical place though. This is after all the place where Santa Claus himself calls home, a place for the perfect multi-generational Christmas for both the young and the young at heart.
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Quebec City - Canada
Voted by CNN as one of the top ten cities in the world to spend the holiday season, Quebec City has for centuries delighted visitors with its French heritage and charm. Each December this charming city transforms into the perfect Christmas village where the lights, decorations, concerts and festivals elevate the season into one of sheer joy.
Stroll along Rue du Petit-Champlain, skate on an outdoor ice rink or sip mulled wine from the Christmas markets. Stay at one of the world’s most photographed hotels - Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac – and toboggan down the slopes of Dufferin Terrace at the foot of the Chateau, a family Christmas tradition for over 100 years.
Vienna - Austria
Vienna at Christmas could convert even the Grinch into a carol singing, holidays loving fan. One of Europe’s most charming cities, Vienna plays host to over 300 Christmas balls, many of which are held in the palatial settings of grand ballrooms and historic opera houses.
Arguably the most famous Christmas ballet, The Nutcracker is performed at the famed 19th-century Staatsoper, Vienna’s majestic State Opera House and a great way to introduce the family to ballet and a Christmas favourite.
Many of the city squares host regular concerts which are well attended by the locals and Christmas markets dot the city.
Tallinn - Estonia
Admittedly, Tallinn may not be the first Christmas destination you think of, but aside its many charms, it’s also responsible for a much loved Christmas tradition which is still recognised today – the Christmas tree.
In the centre of town sits Raekoja plats, where evening lanterns light up the narrow cobblestone streets. It is here where wooden market huts have hosted Christmas markets for centuries and where in the year 1441, the world’s first Christmas tree was erected.
This Eastern Europe winter wonderland also sports an outdoor ice skating rink and film screenings throughout the season with classical musical events and jazz concerts. Old Town is Heritage-listed site and is often referred to as the ‘medieval pearl of Europe’.
Rochester, Kent - United Kingdom
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, with such iconic characters as Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet to come, is one of the most beloved family Christmas stories of all time.
And with Rochester in Kent being Dickens’ final resting place and where he spent five of his childhood years, it only seems fitting that the town would host an annual Charles Dickens Christmas Festival.
With lamp-lit parades, Christmas carollers and fabled Dickens characters from his much-loved stories, the magic of Christmas springs alive. Rochester’s fairy-tale castle and lovely cathedral frame this magical season, bringing one of England’s much loved writers back to life.