As an Australian, there's something truly magical about experiencing your first White Christmas; making a snow-person, with the chill of winter in the air. Christmas in Australia doesn't feel as Chrstmassy without snow, no matter how much tinsel or lighting is used.
Every few years, It's become a family tradition to spend Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere to maximise our chances of experiencing a white Christmas.
The best Christmas ever, was one spent in New York. It's exactly like in the movies and we were lucky enough to have a a huge dumping of snow, which made it extra special. To find out how to make Christmas in New York happen for your family, check out my Christmas in New York article.
Rovaniemi in Northern Finland, is the home of Santa Clause and features a Santa Village complete with elves, reindeer, and books with names of all the good boys and girls.
Rovaniemi is surprisingly easy to get to (Finnair offers cheap flights to Europe in conjunction with Qantas). You can fly to Rovaniemi or catch a train from Helsinki. There's certain bragging rights that come with being above the Arctic Circle; which as a kid, is the equivalent of going to the North Pole to see Santa. Rovaniemi is far enough north to experience virtually complete darkness over winter. The sun never rises above the horizon making dawn roll into dusk, creating a delicate blue glow, which is reflected off the snow.
There is also the underground Santa Park with elf themed rides. It's pretty kitschy but little kids will think it's cool. A word of warning, taking a five year old to the 'North Pole' to see Santa, may also involve ridicule from teachers and school friends who aren't as well travelled.
Japan often experiences a white Christmas, especially in the north. The Japanese love the commercialism of Christmas but it's more of a couples day, with boyfriends and girlfriends exchanging gifts and the traditional Christmas meal is KFC. There's plenty of Christmas trees and decorations up in shops, but they are gone the day after Christmas which loses some of the magic.
One of the highlights of Christmas overseas is perusing markets on Christmas Eve, listening to carollers, whilst sipping a warm gingerbread latte. Often you can pick up unique handcrafted souvenirs which make excellent Christmas presents like decorations and snow globes.
Having a Christmas overseas is more relaxed, without the fanfare of trying to visit everyone in a single day; presents are kept to a minimum because everything has to be packed back into suitcases, so more thought tends to go into them (except this one time, my step-father bought everyone laser engraved crystal cubes as a souvenir that weighed half a kilo each).
There may be some compromise on the traditional Christmas meal but if you choose to stay in an apartment, which can easily be arranged through Airbnb then you can still cook up a feast.
Having a white Christmas creates unique memories, photos and stories that will be treasured for years.
Have you experienced a memorable white Christmas? Where else would you recommend for a family vacation over Christmas?
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