Places To Visit During The Holidays

The place to be right now for me would be the very first I’m sharing with you. It’s so surreal and magical even my kids would love this place to adventure and take pictures. It makes Christmas extra special!

Santa Claus House, North Pole

By 1952, the Millers had decided to build a trading post thirteen miles south of Fairbanks, in an area newly dubbed “North Pole.” One day, while hard at work on the new store, a young Alaskan boy recognized Con and asked, “Hello, Santa Claus! Are you building a new house?” Inspiration clicked, the new store would be called “Santa Claus House!”

In those early days, however, Santa Claus House offered more basic necessities than it did Christmas treasures. Situated between two military installations and right in the middle of developing North Pole, Santa Claus House became an impromptu gathering place for area residents. In addition to purchasing their groceries, locals could mingle at the soda fountain or pick up their daily mail, as Santa Claus House, under the direction of Postmistress Nellie Miller, was a mail contract station and served as North Pole’s first Post Office for almost 20 years.

The Santa Claus House family tradition, begun over 65 years ago by Con and Nellie Miller, continues as following generations of Millers build on the past and look forward to the future. If you should happen to be one of the thousands who visit Santa Claus House each year, you just might catch a glimpse of the Millers as they dash about performing their endless duties. But, whether sending Santa letters to boys and girls around the world, or greeting visitors to Santa Claus House, you know that when they wish you a “Merry Christmas!”


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Japan

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Christmas parties are held around Christmas Day; Japanese Christmas cake, a white sponge cake covered with cream and decorated with strawberries, is often consumed and Stollen cake, either imported or made locally, is widely available. Christmas lights decorate cities, and Christmas trees adorn living areas and malls. Christmas Eve has become a holiday for couples to spend time together and exchange gifts. A successful advertising campaign in the 1970s made eating at KFC around Christmas a national custom. Its chicken meals are so popular during the season that stores take reservations months in advance.

The first recorded Christmas in Japan was a Mass held by Jesuit Missionaries in 1552. Some believe that unrecorded celebrations were held before this date, starting in 1549 when Saint Francis Xavier arrived in Japan. Christianity was banned throughout Japan in 1612. However, a small enclave of Kakure Kirishitan (“hidden Christians”) continued to practise underground over the next 250 years.

Colombia

MedellΓ­n River during the Lighting of Medellin (Wikipedia)

Presents are brought by El NiΓ±o Jesus / NiΓ±o Dios (Baby Jesus). While Christmas decorations may be put up as early as the beginning of November, the unofficial start of Colombian Christmas festivities takes place on December 7, DΓ­a de las Velitas, or “Day of the Candles.” At night, the streets, sidewalks, balconies, porches, and driveways are decorated with candles and paper lanterns, which illuminate cities and towns in a yellow glow to honor the Immaculate Conception.

Christmas Eve is the most important day of Christmas in Colombia. Families and friends get together to pray the last Novena and wait until midnight to open the presents, parties are held until sunrise on Christmas Day, kids stay up late playing with their new presents, and fireworks fill the skies. Families gather around meals, music, and singing. Because Christmas Eve is the most important day, little occurs on December 25. Families join Christmas Day mass although it is not nearly as festive as Christmas Eve.

Italy

Christmas tree in Milan, in front of the Duomo of Milan (Wikipedia)

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Italian Festa dell’Immacolata Concezione) on December 8 is a national holiday in Italy. Christmas decorations, including the presepe (nativity scene),as well as the Christmas tree, are usually put up on this day. Some modern takes on this holiday involve them hanging vultures to symbolize the cleaning of their spirits.

Christmas is celebrated in Italy in a similar fashion to other Western European countries, with a strong emphasis given to the Christian meaning of the holiday and its celebration by the Catholic Church, also reinforced by the still widespread tradition of setting up the presepe, a tradition initiated by Saint Francis of Assisi. It is quite common to attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve and practice the custom not to eat any meat. On Christmas Eve, in the squares of many towns of eastern Sicily, a big bonfire, U Zuccu, is lit to warm the Baby Jesus.

Valkenburg

christmastownvalkenburg

In Valkenburg Christmas doesn’t last two, but 58 days! Christmas Town Valkenburg brings light in the darkest time of the year! Visit the Christmas town for the ultimate Christmas feeling and enjoy the atmosphere, the cosiness and all the wonderful things that the Christmas destination of the Netherlands has to offer.

Underneath the ruined castle of Valkenburg, centuries-old corridors meander through the yellow marlstone. The Christmas market, that spreads its stalls through the caves each year, makes a visit to the Velvet Cave (Fluweelengrot) even more enchanting. Next to the 50 beautifully decorated stalls with surprising Christmas items, you can also admire historical charcoal drawings and other cave art on the carved marlstone walls. Fragrances of typical Christmas market delicacies infuse the inviting, underground catering square.

Where the Christmas markets are a real experience, where you can walk endlessly in unique and beautiful winter landscapes, where Christmas stimulates all your senses, where Christmas lights are enchanting and where you can have endless fun. Christmas in Valkenburg is a magical affair. Experience it yourself!


What is ONE of your favorite places to travel to during the holidays? πŸŽ„β€οΈβœ¨

8 Comments

  1. bosssybabe says:

    My sister was in Italy for Xmas the year before the pandemic started, she said it was spectacular!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Catarina says:

      Amazing! Italy is definitely on my bucket list as well.. I’m such an Italian food lover

      Liked by 1 person

  2. mehsi says:

    Generally with the holidays I just stay home/visit family. Not really in the mood to travel then. So I don’t have a fav place to visit. But one day I hope to visit Japan, no matter the season (though probably will pick whatever the cheapest season is for flying XD).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Catarina says:

      I would LOVE to travel to Japan I’m so into the food and all the fun gadgets they have! Definitely on my bucket list

      Liked by 1 person

      1. mehsi says:

        Hope we both get to travel to Japan one day then! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Inna says:

    I love to travel but never did during Christmas time. I feel like because of the pandemic I haven’t traveled much but I do want to. This Christmas I am just staying home with the family and enjoying good food.

    I hope we can soon travel when it is safer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Catarina says:

      Me neither but I said this year I’m gonna do this differently because life is short and why not travel and make the best of it. πŸŽ„πŸ€ΆπŸΎπŸŽ„πŸ€ΆπŸΎπŸŽ„πŸ€ΆπŸΎπŸŽ„ LOVE me some GOOD FOOD!

      Like

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