Christmas is a time to celebrate with friends and family during the cold winter months. Kick off the holiday season with a bang at these wonderful Christmas festivities all around the world, from America to Australia.
Old Town Square, Prague
It feels like Christmas comes to life in the city of Prague. The painted facades of the stone buildings look like opulent gingerbread houses and the church towers twinkle with lights. And in Old Town Square the effect is even more magical as the brightly decorated wooden huts surround the Christmas Tree, a 70-foot fir that stands out against the gothic skyline. Schoolchildren dressed in traditional costumes travel to Prague from across the country to sing Christmas Carols. And you can't miss the elaborate nativity scene! The Czech Republic is known for its intricately detailed nativity scenes, carved by hand and often installed with mechanical puppets. You can find miniature crèches and other handmade ornaments in the market, along with exotic goods like frankincense, handcrafted linens, and Christmas potpourri called "purpura." Try some Czech treats like large hams roasted on spits, barbecued sausages called "klobása," and cakes and pastries like "trdelnínk," baked right in front of you and covered in sugar. You feel like you've stepped into a fairy tale in Prague.
Galeries de Lafayette, Paris
Christmas is a season of splendor and romance in the City of Lights and nowhere more so than the Galleries de Lafayette. This prestigious store is one of the ritziest in the world, located on the beautiful Boulevard Haussmann in Paris. Seasonal splendors are on display in the windows of the luxury store Le Printemps, but the Galeries de Lafayette is home to the most spectacular Christmas decorations. The Art Nouveau mall has five floors of balconies circling a gilded atrium capped with a glass dome. And hanging from the center of the dome is a large Christmas tree! The tree is suspended above the shoppers below like a Christmas chandelier. Crystals and presents can also hang from the dome as well, creating a magical, airy feeling in the mall. We recommend going earlier in the day to avoid the crowds, purchase some Parisian designer goods, and experience Christmas in Paris.