Are you looking for a great place to spend the Christmas holidays with the family? If you want to rekindle the spark of whimsy in you there’s a place where you can get into the Christmas spirit and make you feel like a child all over again. Where you ask? In Disney World of course! Christmas in Disney World is sure to give you and your family an experience that you will never ever forget.

Holidays Santa Mickey

Disney World Attractions and Events

On ordinary days Disney World is still a great place for your whole family to enjoy themselves, but come Christmastime and you will discover the park takes on a whole new festive mood. There are certain events that are only held in this time of the year and it would be a shame if you miss them. Here are some of the Christmas Disney World events and attractions that you should definitely go to:

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – Celebrate Christmas with the world’s favorite mouse as he and his friends share the spirit of the season with you and your family. Snow will fall on Main Street where there are complimentary cookies and hot cocoa, and to cap off the celebration there is a parade and fireworks show at midnight!
Epcot Christmas Around the World – Learn about how other cultures from all over the world celebrate their versions of Christmas as storytellers regale you with tales from different countries and learn about their versions of the holidays.
Epcot Candlelight Processional – This is an annual event and should be a part of everyone’s Christmas in Disney World experience. Here you will get to listen to a touching retelling of the Christmas story as told by celebrity storytellers accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra.

While You’re Here in Disney World

Besides the big events there are still plenty of things you can do in Christmas Disney World. You can enjoy a magical holiday sleigh ride, listen to carolers, you can even take the kids to visit Santa Claus. Even though there are lots of people inside the park during the holidays it will not make your Disney experience any less enjoyable, in fact all of the activity during this time will surely add in the fun.

Outside of the holidays you can be sure to enjoy rides, attractions after your favorite Disney movies, and plenty of fun and entertainment to last for several days. It is truly a place to take your children and your inner child too!

Where to Eat in Disney World

There are plenty of places you and your family can enjoy a sumptuous meal in the Magic Kingdom, but if you are looking for a little something that will add to your whole Christmas in Disney World experience there are several places you might want to check out.

The Liberty Tree Tavern (Magic Kingdom) – If you are looking for a slightly peaceful respite from all of the holiday activity out in the park you should give the Liberty Tree Tavern a try.
Biergarten (EPCOT) – If you want a livelier Christmas Day lunch or dinner what better place to eat than at the Biergarten? In here it is Oktoberfest all year long and the party never stops.
Trail’s End Restaurant (Fort Wilderness) – Though a bit trickier to go to, the Trail’s End will surely give you a Christmas dinner you will never forget. The Trail’s End gives off a rustic and cozy atmosphere that will only increase come Christmastime when all the decorations are up.

Where to Stay at Disney World

Walt Disney World is known for its nice selection of hotels, and although all of the hotels in the park get into the spirit of things in the holiday season, there are some hotels that give off more Christmas spirit than others.

The Grand Floridian – This Victorian-style hotel is probably the best among the deluxe Disney hotels in the park. When the Christmas season comes a huge gingerbread house will appear in the hotel lobby, and lights and decorations will come out everywhere. If you want to spend Christmas in Disney World in class the Floridian is where you should stay.
The Wilderness Lodge – This hotel is in one of the park’s most beautiful resort. The ambiance inside the Lodge during the Christmas season is just great and the giant Christmas tree in the main hall of the lodge is truly an amazing sight to see.
Though it is a bit hectic during this time of the year, Christmas in Disney World will still trump most of the Christmases you and your family have had in the past. So if you are looking for an enjoyable holidays for the whole family you simply cannot beat the allure of the Magic Kingdom.

Its that time of year again, when thoughts turn to choosing offerings for loved ones, but the annual round of festive retail can become a bit of a bore – so why not do something a little different?

If you have trawled the local malls, exhausted the internet and cashed in all your discount voucher codes for the UK stores, you may be considering combining the rest of your seasonal shopping with a little getaway, then Europe has some exciting destinations on offer.

The cities of Europe present some great opportunities for festive retail therapy – as well as the perfect place to relax and recharge in advance of the hectic festive season. If you want to take a Christmas shopping vacation in a European destination why not consider one of the following countries.

France

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France is perhaps the best place in Europe for Christmas shopping, a great destination for gift getting for yourself and others. There are a number of brilliant places to shop for gifts in France such as:

Chic boutiques and designer stores: City destinations such as Paris offer a great choice of upmarket retailers. As a country that is well known for its fashion sense, France is a good choice of destination if you are looking to buy for those who like the finer things in life.
Delicious delis and perfect patisserie: France is a nation of foodies so edible gifts abound here. Try small local retailers for a great selection of seasonal fayre.
Bargain brocantes and interesting antiques: If you are looking for an individual gift with personality then why not trawl the “Brocantes” or antiques fairs that are held across the country, alternatively, head for one of the country’s great “Marche aux Puces” (Flea markets) to bag a vintage-style bargain.

Spain

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If Spain is your getaway of choice, take the chance to stock up on some of the following gift ideas in advance of the holidays:

Leather Goods: Spain has some amazing tanneries and artisans who craft amazing piece from the leather manufactured here. Leather goods rom shoes to handbags to clothing are beautifully made and on offer an prices beating those here at home.
Ceramics: Again, this country offers a wonderful selection of artisanal pieces that will compliment any home. Head for Toledo and Seville for the best selections.

Italy

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Italy is a place where quality really counts and shoppers can secure some wonderful gift offerings from the retailers here. Ideas to consider include:

Wine and Spirits: Italy has some great vinos and aperitifs – so why not grab a bottle or two of grappa or a vat of Valpolicella to share with friends back home.
Art: The home of the renaissance remains a great place to find artistic talent. Head for the art stalls of cities such as Florence and Venice to bring back bespoke pieces.

Scotland

Scotland

If you’ve not considered Christmas shopping in Scotland not is the time. Items to head north of the border for include:

Whisky: The Scottish national spirit makes a great gift for connoisseurs with bottles on offer to suit all budgets.
Tweed: Hand woven Harris can only be made in the Western Isles and outlets in Scotland stock some of the best offerings.

Europe is certainly one of the most popular places to travel for Christmas – and why not? With its cultural and historic attractions, all blanketed with a light dusting of snow, couldn’t be a more atmospheric backdrop for the season.

Slowly, Europe’s Christmas traditions are expanding beyond borders – for example, the classic German Christmas market can be found in nearly every country, and the shopping frenzy that started in America and spread to the UK is now alive and well in every European capital. Still, each country has its own special treats and festivals, making any Europe tours during Christmas a trip to remember.

No matter where you end up, here are three of the best Christmas Traditions in Europe that travelers love – and you haven’t enjoyed them yet, you’ll love them too.

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Christmas Markets and Street Lights

We’ve all seen those amazing photos of Europe ablaze in Christmas lights – there are so many cities that really roll out the Christmas cheer in terms of lights, and in most cities and even many smaller towns, you’ll find the squares and streets lined with Christmastime markets. It’s hard to choose a favorite, but many of Germany’s major cities – Nuremberg, Hamburg, and Cologne, to name a few – have some absolutely incredible Christmas markets and light parades.

Christmas Parades, Music and Theater

Performances and parades are also a mainstay of the Christmas traditions in Europe. Perhaps a favorite, not that well known, is the panto in Great Britain – not to be confused with a pantomime, these are funny skits that are a hit with children. But in many countries there are parades, such as the Netherland’s unusual cookie-throwing Santa Claus parade, but in other towns, like Vienna, you’ll be treated to wonderful Christmas ballets and operas. If you happen to be in Scandinavia, check out the local television for some of the Christmas shows playing – it’s all part of the experience.

Even if you don’t totally understand the customs or the language, dive in – these wonderful events are certainly a memorable way to enjoy the holidays.

Christmas Food & Drink

Just like in your own home, one of the best Christmas traditions in Europe is the tasty food and beverage! Many of the items you’ll find on sale are at the aforementioned markets, but of course many restaurants feature special holiday menus. I love the fried dough balls at some of the Belgian and Dutch squares, or any of the gingerbread treats you’ll find at the Austrian or German Christmas markets. In Ireland and the UK you can fill up on mince pies, or how about some yummy marzipan in Spain? And who can’t pass up some hot chocolate (spiked or not) or a warming glass of mulled wine? If those aren’t for you, you could always enjoy a cold glass of Kolsch, a popular beer in Cologne that goes down well with the hot food at the Christmas markets.

Have a look around during your European Christmas trip and see what the locals are enjoying, and jump in – you don’t know what you’re missing!

Why not spoil yourself this Christmas by planning a winter break in the lap of luxury? As the cold descends on the UK and summer feels it’s out of reach, a last-minute luxury getaway could be exactly what you’re looking for. From a warm holiday in the sun to a short city break to last minute cruise deals, a winter break is the perfect way to escape from it all.

Luxury cruising is one type of holiday that is garnering more attention in recent years and here are the reasons why.

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Everything is included

Most of what you experience while cruising, from accommodation, food and transportation to entertainment, facilities and activities, is all included in the price. This means that you’ll no longer have to deal with weeks of researching several hotels for the best price. In fact, your whole itinerary is all mapped out for you in advance – you won’t have to deal with anything. Simply, pack your suitcase, board the ship and relax.

Manageable costs

Besides excursions, alcohol, souvenirs and add-on such as beauty treatments, everything else is included in the price, which means you can experience your holiday without worrying the costs will spiral out of control. When going on a cruise, it’s very easy to keep a close eye on costs to ensure that they remain low. The nice thing is that you will have the option to customise activities as you go along according to your budget and what you want to achieve from the holiday.

Several destinations

The fact that you’re on-board a cruise ship for the majority of the holiday with the opportunity to visit several destinations at once is good news for people travelling in groups or with small children because it means that you don’t have to deal with constantly moving children through airports and hotels. Being able to by-pass airports and hotels also means you only have to pack and unpack once. If you visited several destinations by air, not only would you have to deal with all the check-ins, you’d have to pack and unpack several times. Cruising eliminates all the hassle.

Lots to do

While you’re spending days at sea cruising across the ocean, there’s so much to do. From sunbathing to on-board entertainment, you’ll seldom have to worry about keeping yourself occupied. Many cruises offer lectures and lessons ranging across a wide selection of subjects. So, if you’ve always wanted to learn how arrange flowers, make bread, salsa dance or learn how to play the piano, then you can put all those hours at sea in-between ports to great use. If learning isn’t your cup of tea on a cruise, there’s also a whole host of entertainment, such as live performances from Cirque du Soleil and Disney.

It’s a good idea to plan early, and book your cruise through a reputable agent like Co-operative Cruises. Many operators even offer early bird discounts – good luck.