Christmas is a time for bringing the family together.
And what better way to celebrate the festive season than by creating Christmas travel memories to last a lifetime. There are public holidays to take advantage of and some easy destinations just a short flight away. Whether you’re looking to warm up and spend your Christmas in the sunshine, or find the full winter wonderland, or even stay put right here in Hong Kong, Sassy Mama has some inspiration for you!
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The weather may not be cool, but the Christmas spirit is in full swing for the Singapore festive season! Head to the shopping Mecca along Orchard Road in the evening and dazzle your family with the lights on display. Wander the 1.5km stretch from The Forum to Orchard Gateway for the best displays!
You should also make time for Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay. Featuring carnival rides and an outdoor ice rink (well, a high-tech, looks-like-ice-but-isn’t rink), market stalls, festive entertainment and, of course, a chance to meet Santa!
If you’re looking for a Christmas feast during your stay, your best bet is the big hotels. The Fullerton, Four Seasons and the Grand Hyatt are just some of those offering extensive dining options over the holidays.
If you are craving a white Christmas, you should think about a trip to the annual Harbin Ice Snow Festival with the theme, “Pearl on the Crown of Ice and Snow.” Festivities start in mid-December with events like the Ice Lantern Fair (from Sunday, 22 December), Snow Sculpture Art Expo (from Friday, 20 December) and the famous Ice and Snow World (from Saturday, 21 December). Events continue all through January and into early February, so don’t worry if you can’t quite make it in time for Christmas. We’re sure the kids will love seeing this winter wonderland!
There are frequent flights to Harbin, however, you will have to connect through Beijing or Shanghai.
For a wintery Japanese getaway that isn’t all about skiing, put Nagano on your radar. An easy ride on the Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo and you’ll be at home in the mountains.
Nozawa Onsen has around 30 different hot springs and includes 13 public bathhouses perfect for a warm dip. Even the local monkeys like the thermal pools! We’re sure kids (and parents!) will love a day trip to see the Japanese macaques, or snow monkeys, taking a warm respite from their snowy surrounds!
You could also consider a day trip to nearby Matsumoto Castle (just over an hour long drive) for some medieval Japanese culture! This is one of Japan’s historic castles and we’re sure the kids will enjoy exploring all the nooks and crannies.
If you do want to get in some time on the slopes, Hakuba is a world-class, family-friendly destination that’s an easy drive from the city.
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Filipinos know how to do Christmas! This is, after all, one of the most Catholic countries in the world and with decorations appearing as early as September, you’re bound to get caught up in some Christmas cheer. Home to some of the best family-friendly resorts in the region and a quick direct flight from Hong Kong, Cebu in The Philippines is always a winner.
We’re sure the kids will love splashing in the pools, snorkelling in the crystal clear waters and generally running wild in the sunshine. If you’re staying over the Christmas holidays, be sure to check out the festive dining offers at the Mövenpick Hotel Mactan Island.
December is considered one of the best times to visit Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon as it was formerly called). The humidity and temperatures drop, but it is still warm and tropical. Perfect for exploring with the family!
Head to the Notre Dame Cathedral, an icon of the city at any time of year, but particularly beautiful when decorated for the festive season. Wander down Nguyen Hue Street for some people watching and top it off with a visit to Chinatown where you can buy Christmas decorations galore. Plus you can eat your fill of banh mi and pho!
Sometimes it is just too hard to travel – especially with little (or big) ones in tow! That, or you don’t want to battle the throngs of people circling the globe during the holidays.
There’s never been a better time to head to one of the many family-friendly hotels in Hong Kong. We’ve all heard how the tourism industry has taken a hit, and there are great deals to be had all over the city. We are spoilt for choice with some true gems right on our doorstep for a Hong Kong staycation.
Rediscover the city we call home with a visit to an outlying island or the New Territories. Treat the kids to an adventure at Disneyland or Ocean Park (both decorated spectacularly for the holidays!). Wander the streets of Central and Tsim Sha Tsui and look at the decorations and Christmas trees popping up all over the city.
For a real treat, head to the Gold Coast Hotel for a family staycation. The kids can let loose at the water park, Sharks and Pirates Adventure Zone or the outdoor Kids Island. When they’re all tired out, retire to the awesome kid-themed rooms. Future astronauts will love the outer space room, while little princesses will be right at home in their own carriage bed. You can also choose from safari, pirate, dinosaur, carnival, racing car and even a Hong Kong-themed room (complete with a tram for a bed!).
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Featured image courtesy of Denise Johnson on Unsplash, image 1 courtesy of Christmas Wonderland, image 2 courtesy of Septumia Jacobson on Unsplash, image 3 courtesy of Snow Monkey Resorts, image 4 courtesy of Dave Feril on Unsplash, image 5 courtesy of Peter Nguyen on Unsplash, image 6 courtesy of Getty.