Christmas Shopping – We’ve Got It All Wrapped Up!
How many times have you battled with the crowds in the pouring rain and howling wind in the quest for the perfect Christmas presents? It’s all quite stressful, isn’t it? The run up the most wonderful time of the year can be anything but. The advent of online shopping has maybe made things a little easier but then you can never be sure you’ll get what you ordered or if it will arrive in time for the big day. Then there’s the hassle of sending everything back if it doesn’t suit and there’s also the possibility that someone will be disappointed on Christmas morning. Shopping is a serious business at this time of year but don’t let the pressure get to you. We’ve got the ideal solution to the stresses and strains of Christmas shopping. Why not take a short pre-Christmas shopping break before Santa comes and really get into the festive spirit?
Just imagine strolling through magical Christmas markets in a beautiful city that’s been all dressed up for the season. Twinkling lights, mulled wine and perhaps even chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Browsing stalls laden with beautiful hand-made trinkets as you fall under the spell of this winter wonderland. The atmosphere will fill you with child-like wonder, leaving you feeling all Christmassy and nostalgic with a warm, fuzzy glow inside.
Some of the prettiest Christmas markets can be found on the continent and as well as seeing some of Europe’s most exciting cities you’ll be able to tick off that shopping list and enjoy a break away too. Best of both worlds really and you’ll come back revived and ready to embrace the busy party season.
For the best of the Christmas markets, check out places like Munich, Cologne, Berlin, Prague, Salzburg and Vienna. These cities are magical at the best of times but even more so in late November and into December when it looks and feels like someone has sprinkled fairy dust over them and everyone is just so happy. You can feel the excitement building in the air and you can’t help but feel like a child again, anticipating the big day when finally, the wait is over and those presents under the tree can be burst open.
Christmas markets are age old traditions, going back to a time when they were a welcome addition to the winter season, adding light and joy to the dark, long winter days and nights. They were and still are, festive meeting place to buy gifts, stock up on traditional food delicacies as well as handicrafts, wooden carved toys, ornaments and all manner of trinkets.
The markets are a delight to rummage in but don’t forget the brilliant choice of designer boutiques, department stores and quirky shops in all of these cities where you’re bound to find something different and special to bring back.
Rome has also joined the ranks of the hot spots of Christmas as visitors young and old alike flock to Italian capital – some for a more spiritual experience, being the epicentre of the Catholic Church but for others. It’s more about designer labels, rich Italian nosh and the allure of this city with all her glitter on.
One of the best shopping malls in Europe can be found here in Rome. The Galleria Porta di Roma is a must for shopaholics who want to bag everything under one roof. The centre is so big it could house Italy’s Colosseum, The Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Uffizi Gallery inside!
The big hitters of New York and Boston are also popular destinations in December and we can see why. These cities are magnificent backdrops to any city break but imagine them with all their festive sparkle on – even the stars are jealous!
Both cities are a shoppers’ paradise and where you will find some of the most luxurious department stores in the world.
In New York you have the world famous Barneys, Macys, Bloomingdales, Tiffany & Co, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue, to name but a few. Until now you may only have seen them in Christmas movies but you could be starring in your own festive blockbuster this year if you opt for a New York city break.
Boston may not be as in your face as the bright lights of the Big Apple but the shopping opportunities are just as dazzling. One of our favourites is The Prudential Centre – a beautiful mall located at the foot of the Prudential Tower.
In this vast, airy cavern you’ll find brands such as Kate Spade, MAC, Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue, Gucci, Vineyard Vines and many more as well as a top choice of eateries like The Cheesecake Factory, Eataly, Wagamama etc but for a totally unique dining experience – and a Christmas treat to yourself try and book the restaurant at the very top of the tower. Top of the Hub soars 52 floors above the streets of Boston and offers the best views of the city skyline you could imagine – all while you’re having a cosy dinner and cocktails.
Find out more about Christmas in Boston this year with the top things to do in the city.
Even if your budget or holiday entitlement won’t allow for an overseas break, you can still enjoy plenty of festive fun and retail therapy closer to home. Glasgow and Edinburgh turn out impressive street fairs, Christmas lights and attractions to complement their ample shopping outlets.
And who could overlook London when it comes to shopping? The city really bursts into life at Christmas and the bright lights of Oxford Street and Regent Street will certainly get you in the festive spirit. With some of the most famous department stores in the country, such as Harrods, Selfridges, Fortnum and Mason, Liberty, John Lewis and Harvey Nichols, you’ll be in retail heaven!
Plus if you want to see the Christmas lights being switched on, head to Regent Street on 7 November for a truly spectacular evening to kick start your trip.
So now that we’ve got the shopping duties covered, what else are you going to do on your pre-Christmas break? You won’t be spending every waking hour in the shops (although some of you might enjoy that!) but there’s plenty more seasonal delights to fill your days and nights with wonder.
Here’s our top pick of city attractions this winter that will really bring some fun and excitement to your trip.
Take this wonderful two-hour excursion with an expert local guide who will show you the Berlin landmarks illuminated for the season.
Take in an evening of classic Austrian culture and Viennese charm. You’ll be entertained by top class musicians performing waltzes, arias and piano concert melodies.
A whole host of festive magic takes place at the Salzburg Winter Festival in the heart of the city. The festival runs from 29 November 2017 until 6 January 2018 and a must if you find yourself in Salzburg at this time of year.
For a totally mind-blowing experience, you can catch the world-famous Cirque du Soleil at the Olympiahalle in Munich from 13-17 December.
If Prague is your city of choice this December, you’re in for a treat at this feast of carols, music, dance and of course a market of delicacies, spices and wines.
If a romantic city break to Venice is on the cards for you this winter, you’ll find yourself in the most magic and dramatic spot and for your entertainment, you could join in this fabulous evening of music, wine and song!
Join in this musical extravaganza for a great night out for all ages. Andre’s tour takes him around the UK this December.
Now that we’ve packed your diary with stuff to do, we need to get your there. Take a look at some of these top Christmas city breaks from our travel partners.
- Christmas Market City Breaks with easyJet
- Thomas Cook Christmas Market Breaks
- SuperBreak Winter Hotel Deals
- SuperBreak Winter Flights and Hotel Packages
Don’t forget to tell us where you went to. We know you’ll have loads of sparkly Christmas pics on your phone so upload them to your talkholiday profile and make us all jealous!
We love a bit of festive cheer and our members love to hear your tips and advice on where to stay, where to eat, the best pubs and so on and it’s so much nicer to hear these recommendations from someone who has actually been.
Now go and book your pre-Christmas break today. We promise Santa won’t put you on his naughty list!
Ho! Ho! Ho!