While it’s not a new observation, it’s true to say that Christmas is a very special time. There’s something about it that brings people together, heals rifts and emphasises the value of family and friends. Not to mention the sack-loads of presents.
Be that as it may, many people complain about the tedium of the festive period; how each year is the same, how uninspiring it is to be stuck in the same house. It’s no surprise that we’re fascinated by the Christmas traditions associated with other nations – wouldn’t it be nice to try something a little different and spend the holidays somewhere else?
If you share that sentiment and are perhaps thinking of investing in a second property, here are five places which are just magical around Christmas time:
Christmas in Spain
Only a short flight away, Spain is a great option for a second home. Depending on location, of course, you could be close to stunning beaches and a relaxed way of life in a home that has rental potential when you’re not using it yourself.
It’s at Christmas that Spain really comes alive, though. A religious country, Christmas has a very special significance and various events last throughout the month of December, punctuated by traditional foods and dancing. It begins on 8th December with the feast of the Immaculate Conception and ends at Epiphany, the twelfth night after Christmas.
No one does the holidays like the Americans; they don’t just go big, they go massive and Christmas is the best loved. The shop windows are crammed with stunning displays, the streets are festooned with lights and ice rinks pop up almost in every town, really spreading the Christmas spirit. Just like in the films.
Households tend to put their decorations up after Thanksgiving, usually the last Friday in November, a day which is coincidentally the busiest shopping day of the year. The nice thing about Christmas in the US is that many of the traditions are similar to the UK, thus you won’t feel too homesick.
Christmas in Austria
There’s something about that whole Austro-Bavarian ‘thing’ that seems to define Christmas: snow-topped wooden stalls selling hand-crafted decorations, Gluhwein and gingerbread, mountains and gabled houses. Not to mention that it was the location for arguably the best family-favourite, essential Christmas viewing film ever: ‘The Sound of Music’.
Austria offers beautiful landscapes, pretty houses and forests of pine trees, if that’s what you want. It oozes Christmas from every corner and spending the festive period there could truly reinvigorate the Christmas spirit in everyone.
And now for something completely different. Fancy a dip in the pool on Christmas morning? Or a Boxing Day swim that doesn’t involve freezing solid? Then Australia might be the place to head to. As December is the height of summer ‘Down Under’, you can be assured of warm temperatures, blue skies and a great time.
You could join the millions of families having a BBQ or taking their turkey dinner in picnic form to the beach. Christmas in Australia is unlike any other and though there won’t be snowmen, you could catch a few rays.
Christmas in the UK
Try as you might to inject a bit of variation into your Christmas, the chances are your thoughts won’t stray far from home, so you could always opt for a second property in the UK. That way you can still catch the Queen’s Speech in real time, not to mention the [insert reality show here] Christmas final.
The UK comprises beautifully varied landscape – the Lake District is virtually incomparable to the South Coast, but both are equally lovely at Christmas. Then there’s the buzz and excitement of the big cities, illuminated to seasonal excess. That slight change of scenery might be just enough to refresh your Christmas and perhaps see the birth of a few new traditions.