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Christmas… with a Twist

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Christmas… with a Twist

Not all of us love yuletide and season’s greetings, but you don’t have to go into hibernation to avoid the same five songs repeated on the radio, roads blocked with holiday traffic and of course, the inevitable bad cracker jokes.

Don’t be left out in the cold this Christmas. Bin the Brussels sprouts and trash the tacky tinsel; here are a few of our seasonal escapes that are really worth celebrating. Take a look to see how you can enjoy Christmas with a twist this year…

Get the Gifts

Shopping in the souk

Shopping in the souk

Forget Oxford Street, souks are not only cheaper, but you’re almost guaranteed nobody else will have got the same gift as you. Forget the unforgivable talcum powder cop-out and replace with a real beauty treatment, such as Argan oil from a local co-operative, or any number the ornately painted pots, intricately carved wooden boxes and other handicrafts on sale in the shaded alleyways; it’s the perfect place to find a keepsake after a week of exploring this varied kingdom.

Take me there:

Atlas Panorama Departs 20 Dec 2015

Highlights of Morocco Departs 20 Dec 2015

Put up the Decorations

Indian man

Indian man surrounded by flags

English Christmas comes with a uniform; gold, green and scarlet. For a kaleidoscope of vibrant swirling saris and shimmering rainbow streets, head for Rajasthan in Northern India, where vibrancy and beauty are part of everyday life. No seasonal restrictions here; just a riot of celebratory colour every day.

Take me there:

Colours of Rajasthan Departs 20 Dec 2015

Classic Rajasthan – Premium Departs 20 Dec 2015

Time with the Relatives

Gorilla - AYU

Infant Gorilla

Fitting in time with your folks is pretty standard, but why not widen the visiting to your extended family? Coming face to face with an endangered Mountain gorilla is a Christmas encounter you will never forget, as a huge silverback stumbles out of the bamboo forest – better than any present you could find under the Christmas tree.

Take me there:

Gorillas & Masai Mara Departs 21 Dec 2015 – NOW FULLY BOOKED FOR CHRISTMAS 2015

Enter a Real Winter Wonderland

Oulanka National Park

Oulanka National Park

For a winter with credibility, Finland’s winter wilderness is the white Christmas you dreamed of as a child. Frolic on snowshoes, build your own igloo and spot grazing reindeer as an bounding team of huskies whisk you across a frozen, snow-draped land. Bliss.

Take me there:

Finnish Wilderness Week Departs 20 Dec 2015

Christmas Dinner with a Difference

Sri Lankan meal

Sri Lankan meal

Roast turkey can go get stuffed this year. Sri Lankan fare exemplifies the old adage that variety is the spice of life, with everyone from highflying chefs to your average family cook embracing the rich variety of flavours to hand. Spicy curries are soothed with sweet coconut cream and juicy dessert platters piled high with luxurious heaps of delicious fresh fruit picked straight off the tree.

Take me there:

Sri Lanka Explored Departs 18 Dec 2015

Cool Cultures

Bran Castle, Transylvania

Bran Castle, Transylvania

As glittering snowdrifts drape a white cloak around Europe’s shoulders, signalling the onset of winter, it isn’t just the landscapes that are transformed – it’s the people too. Our selection of cultural cultural winter holidays perfectly capture this magical time of year. From the cinnamon scented Christmas markets to snow-dusted castles, these adventures sparkle with seasonal traditions, festive celebrations and wintry charm.

Take me there:

Bavaria Winter Discovery Departs 29 Nov 2015

Vienna to Prague in Winter Departs 3 Dec 2015

Stockholm & The Baltics in Winter Departs 12 Dec 2015

Winter in Transylvania Departs 12 Dec 2015

The Guilty Boxing Day Outing

Cycling through Bagan

Cycling through Bagan

Cooped up indoors all day eating too much has the same effect year on year; the guilt-ridden Boxing Day outing in an attempt to shift the sluggishness. Why not avoid it completely with a guilt-free bike ride? Cycle away the clichés in Burma, this year’s cycling brochure front cover destination. Take to two wheels to discover the temple complex at Bagan and you’ll escape the crowds with ease.

Take me there:

Burma by Bike Departs 14 Dec 2015

Article first published October 2013 and mostly recently updated November 2015. 

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