It’s the end of the year. You deserve a break before those New Year’s resolutions.
December is a beautiful month with fun rituals, but sometimes it can get a bit monotonous. Run away from that Christmas shopping list, turn off the Michael Bublé, revolutionise the family reunion: try out one of our suggestions for December holidays.
This country is a pro at turning holidays in December into 100% mad fun. In early December half of Aberdeen goes on a Santa Run. Yep, you’re imagining that right: an army of Santa Clauses jog a few kilometres along the beach for a good cause.
If you’ve never been to the infamous Hogmanay, then put it on your December holidays bucket list immediately.
Expect the most random, hilarious, and heartwarming medley of events that put all other New Year’s Eve celebrations to shame. Edinburgh‘s opening torchlight procession kindles a sense of a ceremony, which soon descends into costume-clad chaos and electrifying open-air concerts.
A unique way to bring in the New Year is to be locked in a ceilidh in the old town. A ceilidh is a traditional Scottish group dance that makes total strangers fall into fits of laughter.
How to get there: Edinburgh and Aberdeen are served by bus, rail and flight connections. Start planning your Scottish getaway now to get the best price possible.
If you are a Christmas fiend, there’s no question of where to go in December: Germany is practically your homeland.
Starting even in early November, Christmas markets take over any decently sized open space and fill them with sugar and spice and all things nice. Little handcrafted wooden tree deccies or star-shaped lanterns make great early Christmas gifts.
The edibles are so good they probably won’t make it home. When choosing where to go on holiday in December, why not turn eating every German goodie possible into a sort of Pokemon Go? Lebkuchen are gingerbread cookies, mastered in Nuremberg.
Schneeballen (“snowballs”) are pastry scraps smooshed together with chocolate, caramel, nougat, or anything yummy. The world’s finest marzipan is made by Niederegger in Lübeck.
Stollen, a weighty fruit loaf doused in icing sugar with a marzipan core from Dresden. Glühwein, mulled wine (or literally “glow wine”) can be found in any self-respecting establishment.
Want to know more about great German cities? You can check our guide to German cities worth putting at the top of your travel list!
The best thing about holidays in December has to be snow. And snow means it’s time to hit the slopes! Austria and its share of the Alps are well known for scenic ski resorts.
If you want a glamourous city break along with your sports, Salzburg has the best of both – it’s the dazzling home of Mozart, Hadyn, and inspired the Sound of Music. ‘Nuff said.
Austria is also home to an entertaining Advent tradition: Krampus, the hairy, goat-headed demon who is St Nicholas’ counterpart, gives children twigs and coal if they’ve been bad.
This is basically a great excuse for adults to dress up in scarily believable costumes and prowl the streets for a bit of mischievous fun.
The best way to travel to Salzburg? Plenty of international UK airports serve direct flights to Salzburg, start planning your December holidays and find the best price for you.
If someone told you that they’d willingly walk around outside in -10°C, they can only be talking about one thing: the Dutch Ice Sculpture Festival.
Solid ice versions of Mozart, Prince, and every other musical deity will turn Amsterdam’s Arena Park into a freezing cold and more aesthetically pleasing Madame Tussaud’s. This life-size cityscape sculpted out of 550,000 kg of ice makes choosing where to go on holiday in December a lot easier.
The best way to get to Amsterdam? If Santa’s sleigh isn’t an option, you can find daily direct flights from the UK to Amsterdam pretty easily.
Don’t be ashamed to admit it: sometimes you just do not want winter to happen. Malta is a great place to go into hiding or hibernation for holidays in December, not just for its warmth but also to beat the crowds during the off-peak season. The weather is still just about beach-friendly, with low twenties (Celsius) and plenty of vitamin D rays.
But if you think that Malta is just another beach resort, you’ll do a double-take when you see the 16th-century stoney capital, Valletta, enclaved by azure harbours. Although you’ll feel the heavy touch of old Mediterranean culture as you explore, you’ll also feel yourself sinking into the small island life like a comfy bean bag.
The best way to get to Malta? Escaping to the sunshine is easy as there are a generous amount of direct flights between the UK and Malta.