Places to visit for a merry Christmas
Christmas season is a much-awaited and celebrated holiday around the world. The significance of Christmas may be different for many countries, but its celebration all manifests into festivities and a sense of tradition to thoroughly enjoy.
Some places put more emphasis on the observance of the Christmas season compared to other holidays. In the Philippines, the Christmas season begins as early as September. Here are some places in the world that embody the Christmas spirit and attract tourists and visitors annually just to celebrate Christmas:
Santa Claus Village in Lapland, Finland
Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, has dubbed itself as the official address of Santa Claus—a center figure during the Christmas season. As a Santa central destination, traveling to the village would mean being transported to a town that observes Christmas activities daily.
In The Santa Claus Village, one can meet Santa in his grotto, ride reindeer-driven sleighs, decorate gingerbread cookies with Mother Claus, and make decorations and visit the Elf school to learn Finnish words such as “Hyvaa Joulua” (Happy Christmas). Other activities available in the village include visiting souvenir shops, seeing ice sculptures, skiing, and snowboarding.
Rockefeller Center in New York City, USA
For many people, New York City has been the face of Christmas because of the prevalence of Christmas-themed films set here. One of the most iconic images of Christmas in New York is the famous Christmas tree of Rockefeller Center. A must-visit for tourists and New Yorkers alike each holiday season, the celebration of putting up a giant Christmas tree has a lot of history too.
In 1931, workers at Rockefeller Center pooled their money together to buy a Christmas tree. They decorated the 20-foot high balsam fir with garlands handmade by their families. In 1933, Rockefeller Center decided to make the Christmas tree an annual tradition and held the very first tree lighting ceremony. In 1999, Rockefeller hosted its largest tree. Hailing from Killingworth, Connecticut, the Christmas tree stood at 100 feet tall.
Tallinn Christmas Market in Tallinn, Estonia
As far as history goes, the Christmas Market in Tallinn has been held annually since 1441. Set inside the city’s Town Hall Square, the market is usually packed full of stalls with traditional Estonian cuisine, artisan bread and handicrafts for sale.
The festivity also includes riding on carousels, visiting a winter grotto, and seeing Santa who rolls up on a sleigh complete with reindeers. Visitors are also treated to regular performances by dance troupes and choirs. The lighting of the Christmas tree which has been displayed since 1441 is the main event of the celebration.
Christkindlemarkt in Leavenworth, Washington
This small town tucked away in the Cascade Mountains is the epitome of white Christmas. The village’s snow-covered Bavarian-style buildings in Leavenworth are illuminated by more than half a million twinkling lights and seasonal decorations to celebrate the Christmas season.
Weeks prior to the main Christmas event, hand-bell ringers, marching bands, and carolers already fill the streets to capture the festive feeling of the holidays. The town also has a nutcracker museum, sleigh rides, and a reindeer farm where people can feed them.
Sources: Inquirer Archives, National Geographic, CNN, santaclausvillage.info, thetimes.co.uk, rockefellercenter.com, leavenworth.org, Official Facebook page of BCC Christmas Village