Mulled wine, roaring fires, carol concerts, mince pies… a traditional Christmas in the UK is unbeatable. Or is it? Have you ever thought about having a Christmas holiday in the sun?
The magical thing about Father Christmas is that he visits all the countries around the world in just one night, so whether you’re in the Bahamas or Birmingham, you can still celebrate Christmas. Top up your tan in the Canary Islands or choose to explore a destination even further away such as Mexico – we have the perfect Christmas holiday for you.
Year-round sunshine and a relatively short flight are two big draws to this shimmering oasis in the desert. Even in winter, expect temperatures of around 25°C, perfect for sun-worshipping on Jumeriah beach or heading out on a desert safari with views over the city. While the UAE is predominantly a Muslim region, other religious festivals are celebrated, including Christmas! Dubai is a great option for a Christmas holiday in the sun.
Celebrating Christmas in Dubai
- With its world-class shopping malls, Dubai is a fantastic place to do your Christmas shopping. The city’s malls and shops embrace Christmas, so you’ll find a full choice of seasonal gifts on display, complete with tinsel, baubles, and even artificial snow. Head to Wafi Mall if you’re travelling with children and they want to see Santa.
- If you’d like some festive snow whilst you’re in Dubai, you can head to Ski Dubai. Open all year round but particularly popular at Christmas, this faux ski slope gives you the chance to ski in the middle of the city. Don’t miss the cheese fondue!
- You might be surprised to hear that Dubai has its own Christmas markets. La Farine is always popular, and in previous years has hosted some special displays like a giant gingerbread house! There’s mulled grape juice on offer, as well as cakes, hot chocolate, and plenty of unique gifts and stocking fillers.
To find out about other attractions and activities in Dubai, check out our Dubai travel guide.
Average temperature in Dubai
With the Canary Islands being closer to the UK, you might expect Christmas to be celebrated in a similar way to what you’re used to at home. But Spain has many of its own customs and traditions. Firstly, you can expect to enjoy temperatures that rarely dip much below 20°C, so no need for jumpers. Father Christmas may visit Canarian homes and drop off a little gift or two for the kids on Christmas Eve, but it is the Three Kings who bring the children their presents in Spain on the night of the 5th of January.
Celebrating Christmas in the Canary Islands
- Christmas kicks off on Christmas Eve, which is usually celebrated with a big feast among friends and family. This typically begins with a huge selection of tapas-style starters, followed by fish or a roast for the main course. To finish up, there’s lots of sticky turrón, or Spanish nougat, which is traditionally made with honey and almonds. Many resorts put on a feast for guests on the 24th!
- Christmas Day is mostly spent recovering from the night before, and it’s the Three Kings Parade which is the real celebration. Celebrated over two days in January, Spain’s annual Three Kings Festival (Fiesta de los Reyes)features colourful street parades, a delicious cake with a surprise hidden inside and a vibrant display of brightly illuminated costumes.
- During the Christmas period, you’ll find manger scenes (‘belenes’ in Spanish) everywhere in Spain - in homes, at businesses, in public squares and even, particularly in the Canaries, on the beach! Some of them are spectacular, such as the belén on Las Canteras beach in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, which attracts thousands of visitors.
Christmas in Australia means hot temperatures, beach barbeques, and festive city lights. Although traditions are similar to the UK, a hot Christmas in Aus undoubtedly feels a bit strange. You won’t get the roaring fires or mulled wine, but you’ll feel the Christmas spirit around Sydney for the whole month of December.
Celebrating Christmas in Sydney
- The Martin Place Christmas Tree is rather iconic when it comes to a Sydney Christmas. Sydney’s largest Christmas tree is decorated with more than 110,00 LED lights, a 3.4-meter colour-changing star and 330 bespoke glossy baubles. To really get into the Christmas spirit, sing along with choirs who perform carols at the tree.
- Christmas lunches are a tad summerier than we are used to in the UK. Cooking ham and turkey is still common but is more likely to be served cold, and is usually accompanied by prawns, fresh fruit and classic barbecue favourites. From 23 December, the Sydney Fish Market stays open for 36 hours straight, so it’s the perfect place to buy fresh shrimp, oysters, fish and more for the big day.
- There are many carol concerts hosted in the city but one of the most unique is Carols by the Sea, held beside Bondi Beach. This lovely annual event brings the community together to celebrate the spirit of Christmas. The night kicks off with fantastic entertainment from young, local musicians followed by Christmas favourites and carol singing. Take a picnic blanket and some snacks!
Average temperature in Sydney
A Christmas in Cancun is sure to be a new experience for you. In Mexico, Christmas is celebrated from December 12th to January 6th. From December 16th to Christmas Eve you may see local children performing the 'Posada' processions or Posadas. A popular game played at these processions is piñata. Instead of Christmas trees you are likely to see nativity scenes, known as the 'nacimiento'. These are popular in Mexico and are often very large, with life size figures!
If you want to keep in the Christmas spirit or are travelling with children, all-inclusive resorts are a great option for you. They usually have lots of Christmas festivities, dinners, and special events for all ages. Decorated Christmas trees, surprises and holiday music create a special atmosphere.
Celebrating Christmas in Cancun
- On Christmas Eve, you may want to join the locals and attend a Midnight Mass service, known as the ‘Misa de Gallo’. You’ll get a real community spirit and get to see fireworks celebrating Christmas Day.
- Spend Christmas day on the beach. Cancun’s biggest draw is its beautiful beaches which line the coast of the Hotel Zone and continue along the Riviera Maya. Brochure-like talcum powder sands invite you into the warm blue waters of the Caribbean. Choose beaches running down the east side of the Hotel Zone for the best waves or stick to the northern stretch for calmer waters perfect for a swim.
- Perhaps you’d like some culture on Christmas day? Cancun is full of archaeological settlements of the Mayan civilization. The most outstanding among them is Tulum, one of the most important Mayan cities which has the distinction of being the only settlement by the sea. There are many others that you can visit in the surroundings, including Cobá, Muyil, or Chichen Itza. The latter is considered one of the 7 wonders of the modern world.
Hopefully one of these hot Christmas holiday destinations take your fancy, but if not, we fly to locations all over the world. Discover where else we fly and book your Christmas holiday now.
Average temperature in Cancun