Just hearing the word Christmas can sometimes be enough to instantly transport us to that warm, comforting feeling that surround the festive season. What’s not to love – relaxation, indulgence, celebration, fun, family, presents – this time of year has it all.
So, if you’re one of the many Brits who can’t get enough of the festive season, you may feel a tug on your heart strings when considering your options to move abroad. After all, Christmas in other countries can be rather different and some don’t even celebrate it at all.
It’s understandable to wonder how Christmas is celebrated around the world and believe it or not, you may just enjoy spending Christmas abroad more than you thought, as there are in fact countries who give a UK Christmas a run for its money!
If Christmas is an important part of your life, then it deserves some research to ensure you select a country where you can celebrate this time of year to its fullest. Of course, there are many other considerations you’ll need to think about before making a decision, but you might as well lead with something that’s important to you and if that is Christmas… then these countries deserve a place in your shortlist!
Now this is one of those countries that celebrate Christmas; it would be almost impossible not feel festive in Germany during December, especially with that familiar chill in the air.
Germany is famous for its festive markets, where the streets twinkle with brightly coloured lights and vendors sell a vast array of delicious Christmas treats and decorations, among which are traditional glass ornaments, decorated gingerbread, mulled wine and stollen.
Advent is a big part of the Christmas celebrations in Germany, as well as St Nicholas’s day on 6th December. Presents are usually exchanged on Christmas Eve, so if you’re looking for a Christmas that comes early, Germany is the one for you!
Whilst it may feel slightly different, given that its summer and all, the Christmas traditions are still pretty close to the UK – well there are Christmas crackers at least!
Wreathes hand on the front doors, lights and Christmas trees fill the houses and gardens and carollers fill the streets with festive carols (with an Australian twist). All sounds very British…yet, when it comes to Christmas day, lunch is cooked on the BBQ and includes fresh seafood such as prawns and lobsters.
If you love a bit of sunshine and can adapt your Christmas traditions a little – swapping Rudolph for a Kangaroo – then Oz may just be your destination.
Citizens of the Philippines could celebrate Christmas all year long if they could! It is one of the only Asian countries where most of the population are Christians and as such offer an eclectic fusion of western and native traditions.
Filipinos absolutely love Christmas and many familiar aspects can be sighted, including Christmas trees, carols, cards and Santa Claus. Christmas celebrations begin on 16th December which is followed with nine early morning masses, with the last on Christmas day.
Unique Filipinos Christmas traditions further add to this vibrant time of year, such as the Giant Lantern Festival which is held on the Saturday before Christmas Eve in San Fernando – often referred to as the Christmas Capital of the Philippines.
For those that can embrace fusion and like the religious aspect to Christmas, the Philippines should rank pretty highly.
Festivities in Colombia begin on 7th December which is known as ‘Day of the little Candles’. Candles and lanterns fill the windows and fireworks light up the sky.
Many Colombians take part in ‘novenas’ between 16th December and Christmas Eve, where family and friends come together to pray, sing and feast.
While houses are decorated with Christmas trees, the main Christmas meal is far from a standard British Christmas lunch – festive dishes, such as cheesy fritters, pork stuffed with rice and peas and chicken soup are eaten on Christmas Eve night. This is then followed by Midnight mass, with many staying up until the next day, so Christmas Day is very much reserved for rest and relaxation!
So, if you can handle a different take on Christmas dinner and festivities from early December, Colombia could just be your place to relocate to.
Finland certainly has all the hallmarks of a true Christmas season and this includes spending quality time with family and friends which often features time relaxing in the sauna.
Christmas dinner usually consists of salt fish to start and roast pork with mashed potatoes or casserole for main, followed by baked rice pudding with plum jam.
This one may be a little obvious, but you really can’t beat Finland for the ultimate cosy festive experience. Complete with Santa Claus, reindeer and snow, you’ll be in Christmas heaven here.
That said – if you’re still struggling with the thought of not celebrating your traditional British Christmas, this can always be the time you take your trip home each year…