Xmas Away From Home - Christmas Hotel Breaks

Love it or dread it, Christmas is inevitable. No sooner have the stores taken down their Halloween displays than they're replacing them with huge spangly icicles, gold stars and beaming Santas. The pressure's on to fight late night shoppers, order turkeys and vast pork pies, and work out how to be in three different places on Christmas Day. There's no escape.

Or is there? Maybe it's time to start thinking outside the festive box.

For those fortunate families who love the annual round of feeding fourteen relatives, closing the curtains against the drizzle and huddling round for the TV Christmas Specials and yet more chocolates – great! But what if you're one of those countless people who secretly yearn to be rebellious and dare to 'Do Something Different?'

Celebrating Christmas away from home doesn't mean that you have to lose the festive atmosphere – unless, of course, you want to! The possibilities are endless. All it takes is a bit of imagination and planning – and, if you stay at home, aren't you doing enough of that anyway?

As with anything involving travel and accommodation, budget will be a key consideration. The least expensive option is likely to be simply treating yourself to a 'day off.' Instead of spending hours in a steamy kitchen, returning to wrestle a pile of washing-up and trying to squeeze some relaxation in between, many people turn to a local restaurant or hotel. Served with good quality food and all the hassle taken care of, they can make the most of the day and enjoy it from start to end.

Spending the festive season at an all-inclusive British holiday park/camp can be a great way for mums and dads to take it easy while the kids still get to enjoy a fun-packed Christmas. As ever, there's tons for children to do, loads more room for them to let off steam … and Santa still drops by for the ones who've been good!

For younger children, why not go and visit Father Christmas at home in Lapland … and if he's already whizzed off on his sleigh, well the elves will still be around to give a warm welcome, taking a well-earned break after all that hard work! As well as day trips, there are plenty of tours around, lasting from two days upwards. Huskies, snowmobiles and those all-important reindeer will all leave magical memories that the kids will treasure for ever.

When it comes to the grown-ups, city breaks are always a popular choice and there are plenty to be had at a reasonable price for those shopping around. Prague, with its rich history and opulent beauty, is a firm favourite and the wonderful Christmas markets are open throughout the festive season, including Christmas Day itself. In Vienna, the Christkindlmarkt in the City Hall Square is famous the world over for its elaborately decorated trees, dozens of wooden huts selling gifts and food and, of course, welcome glasses of hot Gluhwein.

Curiously, although renowned as one of the most romantic and magical places in the world, Venice is comparatively overlooked when it comes to spending Christmas away from home. Gone are the souvenir stalls and sweltering August crowds, as the population seeps to just half of its summer size. Spending Christmas in Venice gives the visitor a chance to enjoy the real city, with its wonderful architecture fully on show and evening concerts in its vast, albeit chilly basilicas.

If it's that traditional White Christmas you're dreaming of, then the ski resorts of Switzerland, France and Austria are great places to head for. Sunshine on crisp snow, pine-covered mountains and crackling log fires all make for that perfect Christmas card scene. And, away from the slopes, a glass or two of hot punch always goes down well as the snow softly falls.

For those with a higher budget and looking for a decidedly less chilly Christmas, what better than a Caribbean island or the Maldives. With softly swaying palms, turquoise seas and freshly prepared gourmet food and drink, how much further could you get from rainy streets, empty sweet wrappers and yet another turkey sandwich?

But for Christmas with an even bigger difference, imagine being out in the deep, silent snow at night, lying on a reindeer skin as amazing colours dance and shimmer their way across the sky. Imagine the spectacular Northern Lights. Several destinations offer a great chance to see the Aurora Borealis in all its magnificent glory, including Finland, Norway, Sweden and The Yukon.

Before you dig out those fairy lights for another year, stop for a moment. Do you really want to spend another Christmas half asleep on the sofa with indigestion? Go on … dare to Do Something Different.

Written by Glynis Charlton for Cheap Hotel Chains


A Selection of Christmas Hotel Breaks

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