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Christmas Around the World

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The holiday season is in full swing and all around the world people are celebrating the arrival of Christmas with giant feasts, giving gifts, singing carols and religious and family traditions.  One of the things I like to do is explore the world and see what people are doing to fill their holiday with joy and bright-eyed wonder.  If you’re traveling over Christmas, don’t forget to bring along whatever traditions you can fit in your suitcase. If you’re like me, you’ll find reasons to celebrate Christmas around every corner…wherever you may be.

If you were to shake the Earth like a giant snow globe, this is what you might see as the snow floats slowly to the bottom.  In honor of Christmas around the world, here are a few places that know how to celebrate:

Paris, France

How magical would it be to skate at night the Eiffel Tower at night?  The rink opens every holiday season and even provides free skates.  Enjoy a hot chocolate and watch or jump on the ice try it yourself.


Moscow, Russia

Speaking of a snow globe, this gigantic 38-foot Christmas ornament located in central Moscow is in the Guinness Book of Records for largest Christmas toy in the world.  Here’s a look from the inside.


Edinburgh, Scotland

I’ve always had a soft spot for pandas.  They are so fun and cuddly!  At the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland, Tian Tian eats this special Christmas tree cake.  You can tell he’s ready to grab that star right off the top!


Sydney, Australia

How does Santa arrive in Sydney?  Not like the rest of the world.  He comes to town on an inflatable rescue boat on the shore of Coogee Beach.  No elves or reindeer required!


Tokyo, Japan

Every year hundreds of runners in Santa costumes raise money for children during the holiday season in Tokyo.  A 1.5 miles run through the city makes for a festive sight and some adorable Santa selfies!


Nuremberg, Germany

Dating back to 1628, the oldest Christkindlesmarkt (Child Christ Market) in the central square in Nuremberg’s old town attracts about 2 million visitors each year.  Stroll through the market while you enjoy the incredible gingerbread with a hot mulled wine.  This is where I’m spending Christmas with my family this year! #bucketlist


Nashville, Tennessee

In Nashville, you might run into this Zombie Santa at Death Yard Haunted Attraction near Hendersonville.  Along with his undead elves and demonic reindeer, Santa goes on the attack to create a one-of-a-kind holiday experience for charity.


Altadena, California

Most everyone finds huge displays of holiday lights fascinating.  How many lights?  How long did it take them to string it all up?  One of the most notable displays is in Altadena outside the Balian Ice Cream House. Bring your camera!


Seattle, Washington

What the Ho?  Jolly Santas of every shape and size have a drink at Gameworks in Seattle following Santarchy.  The annual event celebrates Christmas, inebriation and general debauchery.  Santa sure knows how to have a good time.


All photos and caption information courtesy of Reuters.

More from Samantha Brown:

2014 Top Gifts for Travelers

World’s Most Fabulous Christmas Trees

6 Great Places to See Holiday Lights

Holiday Travel Survival Guide

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