Christmas Etc Around the World

December and January festivities and what they look like in the places I’ve traveled and/or lived around the world. Mostly Europe and USA.

In addition to the usual stunning Christmas Markets, there’s also L’Escalade. An annual event in Geneva that celebrates the defeat of the Duke of Savoy’s troops in 1602. It is celebrated on the weekend closest to Dec 11 & 12 with costumed participants in the hundreds roaming the Old Town re-enacting parts of the attempted surprise attack and resulting victory.
in the mountains of Bavaria, we joined a candlelight walk to the top of the mountain before a feast and bonfire with local beer
Reute, Oberstdorf
this soup was extraordinary and so welcome after a long, cold candlelight walk up a mountain [I wish I’d written down what it was, it paired very well with the local beer]
Alpe Oberstdorf
Is it even actually the holidays if you don’t have a souvenir mug of Glühwein at a Christmas market in Germany or elsewhere in Europe?! 😉
Pretzels for sale in Budapest, Hungary at the Christmas market. This was quite close to the river but I don’t remember the name of this specific market.
Stopped in Passau for a Christmas Market river cruise with Viking, I literally left the ship and went back to this square we’d passed earlier in the day - when everyone else was eating dinner - because I had to take a photo of this fountain when no one else was around. I thought it was so beautiful.
Have you actually experienced Christmas if you haven’t eaten German gingerbread? Even better, take a class and learn how to make it from scratch before putting it in a traditional mold.
Cafe Simon
The actual Christmas Market in Passau, which was one of my favorites on a Christmas Market-themed river cruise with Viking. The selection of food and gifts was superb.
Linz was also a nice Christmas Market. Also on a river cruise with Viking. It’s in a really lovely square not far from the river.
The town of Dürnstein in Austria was really good for Christmas shopping from people that still make arts and crafts by hand as well as fruit liquors. I also loved the way they decorated every little space from windowsills to front doors and more.
Dropped pin
Rome always gives good Christmas [lights]. And the way the light bounces off the ancient cobblestone is always a nice bonus.
Amazing in Spring for cherry blossoms, even more amazing in November/December for their Christmas light display that fills the gardens with wondrous light in all forms from strings of lights to synchronized displays and more.
Descanso Gardens
an inn decorated for the holidays in the Hudson Valley
Stewart House Ca. 1883 Tavern
As a NYer for many many years, I never liked the crowds that descended on the city for the holidays. But I sure did like the decor and the red ornaments always in place by Radio City were one of my favorites for some reason I can’t explain.
Radio City Music Hall
Another favorite ‘Christmas in NY’ moment, the holiday windows on Fifth Avenue. The sheer magnitude of the creativity some years just made me so inspired. Bergdorf Goodman were always my favorite and this blue & white architecture-themed window is one I’ve still never forgotten.
Bergdorf Goodman
Shanghai, China - one of the wildest places I’ve ever been near Christmas many years ago with Four Seasons. It seemed at night there wasn’t a surface in the city which wasn’t lit up by someone or some brand!
Edinburgh is a must from Christmas straight up through Hogmanay [what other people call New Year’s] and even a few days beyond - the city knows how to do the holidays in every way including a huge fireworks display. Favorite elements for me: the Christmas Markets, the torchlight procession, Hogmanay street party, the live music in New Year’s Day at smaller venues all around town and of course the fireworks that go off from Edinburgh Castle.