For some people, Christmas is all about being at home with the family, doing all the traditional things like a big turkey dinner, the Queen’s speech and too many Roses chocolates. But for some, the thoughts of a cold, dreary, wet Christmas do not appeal. Some families dream of getting away for the festive period so in this post you’ll discover five awesome Christmas Getaway Destinations with Kids. One we’re doing this year, one we’ve done before, and the others are all destinations I’d love to spend Christmas at with my family in the future.
The ultimate family bucket list destination for Christmas is a trip to Lapland to see Santa. What better way to celebrate the festive season than in the hometown of Father Christmas. With pretty-much guaranteed snow, reindeers and a chance to meet the big man himself, Lapland has to be the ultimate Christmas getaway destination for families.
There are lots of ways to get to Lapland. You can either book a package holiday, but these become expensive. Or you can visit in Santa in Lapland on a budget like we are this year, by booking everything yourself and making it a magical trip to remember. There are several towns in Lapland that you could go to, but the official hometown of Santa is Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland. In Rovaniemi you’ll find the Santa Claus Village where you can visit Santa’s Post Office and send a special letter to a loved one back home. You can even see the man himself in his office.
Or why not visit Santa Park, an underground wonderland where the kids can take part in Elf School, taste gingerbread cookies baked in Mrs Gingerbread’s Kitchen and also meet Santa again. And of course, you can do other exciting activities such as a reindeer sleigh ride, take a husky ride or visit Snowman World. There is no better Christmas holiday destination than Lapland where kids are concerned. We’re so excited to be visiting Lapland just before Christmas this year.
The other ultimate Christmas getaway destination with kids has to be Disneyland Paris. Just imagine spending Christmas Day with Mickey Mouse and all your children’s favourite characters. We’ve been lucky enough to visit Disneyland Paris in December, although not for Christmas itself, and it truly is a magical place to visit with kids. Everywhere is decorated to perfection with huge Christmas trees, festive music all around you and an unforgettable Christmas atmosphere encompasses the parks.
Walking down Main Street can be very exciting around Christmas as you might even feel some snow falling around you. Even if the skies are blue, Disney’s magic conjures up some snow to make sure everyone gets into the festive spirit. The parades are a sight to see with Christmas-themed floats and Santa might even make an appearance to delight children of all ages.
If you’re lucky enough to be staying in one of the Disney hotels, you’ll be treated to reception areas suitably themed for the time of year. The Disneyland Hotel in particular has a spectacularly decorated foyer that is worth popping in to see, even if you’re not staying there. I’d love to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Disneyland Paris one year. I think it would be truly magical.
If we’re mentioning Disney, then Orlando in Florida has to be another great Christmas getaway destination with kids. Not only do you have Walt Disney World located there with no less than four parks to it’ name, but also Universal Studios, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, SeaWorld, Legoland and a few others.
Disney’s Magic Kingdom is the place to be for a spectacular Christmas celebration with Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on offer, with festive fireworks, shows and parades. It certainly will beat a wet and dreary turkey dinner any day of the week.
We had friends who went to Orlando over Christmas one year and they thoroughly enjoyed it. Santa managed to find them there and left a few small presents for their kids, with their main ones safely waiting for them back home. Orlando is a Christmas destination with a difference and with average day time temperatures of 23°C, you’re guaranteed some sunshine to enjoy the big day.
The Canary Islands
If the UK winter is getting too much and you long for some winter sun, then the Canary Islands might just be the idea Christmas getaway destination with kids. Just a short haul flight from the UK, usually no more than four hours, you have your pick of no less than four islands; Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, and my personal favourite, Lanzarote.
Daytime average temperatures in December are 20°C with plenty of sunshine, you just need to watch out for some cool breezes. Hotels are suitably decorated for the festive season and if you are staying in one over Christmas itself, Santa might even make an appearance.
We stayed in Tenerife one Christmas and the hotel really made an effort for the time of year that was in it. The main lobby, restaurant and foyers were decorated with Christmas trees and baubles, with a small nativity as well. On Christmas Eve, Santa made a pit stop with his reindeers and gave every child who was staying there a present. The Christmas Day Gala dinner was plentiful and was a welcome change from being stuck in the kitchen cooking a massive dinner, only to have to wash all the dishes afterwards. All this and some lovely warm sunshine, what’s not to like.
If you’re kids are older and not too fussed about being at home for Christmas, why not consider New York. Yes, it might not be the warmest of places to spend Christmas, but it will certainly have some magic of its own. New York is famous for its fairy-tale atmosphere during the festive season (Fairy-tale of New York Christmas song anyone?), and they definitely go to town when it comes to celebrating and decorating.
One of the most iconic Christmas things to do in New York is visit the Rockerfeller Centre. The lighting of its huge Christmas tree is a major event in the city but if you miss this event, fear not, you can still go ice-skating in the ice rink in front of it.
Another thing that must be done in New York during the festive season is to wander the pavements and enjoy the amazing window displays in the windows of Macy’s, Saks, Bloomingdale’s and Barney’s. And if the kids aren’t too old, you can pop into Santaland in Macy’s, a New York tradition since 1902.
Christmas markets are plentiful, there are other ice rinks in Bryant Park and Central Park and all the other major attractions will be suited and booted for the festive season as well. We visited New York with our son in the month of September but when he’s older I’d love to spend Christmas in the Big Apple!
So, there you have it. Five awesome Christmas getaway destinations with kids. Some will be cold, and some will be warm, but all will be festive and cheery. All you need to decide is whether you want to spend Christmas at home or abroad.
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Cath is an Irish expat who now lives in Portugal with her husband and son. A former scientist, she gave up working when they emigrated south from the UK. She is a family travel blogger and hopes that, through her blog, they will inspire more families to travel, especially with the toddlers in tow. As a family they love travelling and have started working their way through their family travel bucket list. Cath writes about their family travels and experiences on her blog, Passports and Adventures. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.