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What’s the ultimate Christmas holiday? This is what we’re always asked, and we’re actually on a mission to find out for ourselves! Of course, it truly comes down to the individual, but there really is no better festive getaway than a visit to Lapland in search of the real Santa Claus. It’s the most popular destination around the world for people looking for that true Christmas adventure, so naturally there are some great packages that include everything you’ll want from your Christmas holiday. Here are some of the features included when you book an official Lapland holiday to visit Santa.

Flights – When you book a package trip to Lapland, your plane tickets will be included, with the option to fly from almost any major UK airport. You will usually get discounts for advance bookings.

Accommodation – Depending on your provider, you will have a choice of hotels. It’s wise to select the package with the best range of accommodation, as this is a good indication that the elves organising the trip are among Santa’s most reputable!

Meeting Santa – Of course, you need to make sure your visit to Santa himself is included in your package! This is what makes the trip unique and memorable for most kids. Some providers will make this into a bigger adventure, including some which offer a snowmobile search for Santa’s cabin.

Sleigh Rides – Another classic staple of family trips to Lapland, sleigh rides are essential for most visitors! You can enjoy rides pulled by huskies, and even travel like Father Christmas himself in a sleigh pulled by a reindeer team!

Igloo Visits – There are many real igloos in Lapland which are another great thing for the kids (and adults) to experience. They might be a little bigger than you’re imagining!

More Activities – There really are tons of things to fill the rest of your time on a Lapland visit. Tobogganing, snow hockey and even ice fishing are all fun and safe festive activities that the whole family get enjoy. Make sure your package includes all your top picks when you book.

Right now, many of us on the northern hemisphere are experiencing some of the warmest weather of the year. In fact, in the UK, July has brought us one of the strongest heatwaves in recent memory. Is it any wonder the last thing on any of our minds has been Christmas? Sorry for the lack of updates lately, by the way!

This has got us thinking, though. For everyone down south, including Australia, New Zealand and so on, Christmas actually falls in the middle of summer due to the backwards seasons. This is bizarre to most of us, who associate snow and warm fireplaces with the festive season. To others, it might actually sound like pure paradise. Imagine all the fun of Christmas without the sometimes treacherous weather conditions! If you’re thinking of actually escaping to another country (like Australia for example) for a warmer festive season than you’re used to, what exactly should you expect?

For one thing, the weather will be different. Yes, just to reiterate… Christmas is in summer for 50% of the world, although you would never imagine it based on our traditional festive imagery. Expect scorching sun throughout the season if you’re heading south. Most celebrations are held outside so people can keep cool and cheerful, and you won’t see many woolly coats, hats and scarves.

When it comes to the food, of course, many people still enjoy a roast turkey meal followed by traditional Christmas pudding, but there may be a little more variation than you’re used to when it comes to Christmas Dinner in Australia. A lot of people opt for a BBQ, which usually lasts all afternoon with plenty of ice cold beer to keep everyone going. Prawns are actually an Australian Christmas tradition – they’re 10x more popular in December than at any other time of year.

Not much else is really that different with a hot Australian Christmas. It’s still a time for family to gather and play games together, exchange gifts and have a merry time. You’re really just swapping the snow for sand. If that sounds like your kind of thing, maybe you should consider a visit!

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!