Can we talk about the weather for a minute? Don’t get me wrong – I’m a summer baby through and through. December, however, is supposed to be COLD. It’s the one month of the year that I don’t mind waking up to frosted windows and numb toes, watching my breath swirl in the icy air. I don’t mind wrapping myself up like a present every morning, swaddled in five hundred layers to ward off the chill. I positively enjoy the clear, pale blue skies and nose-glowing cold as I walk to work in the mornings. It’s December, it’s nearly Christmas, it’s the way it should be.
This weather, though? This isn’t December. The mercury has yet to drop into single figures – each morning I’m waking up to the same grey skies, the same only-vaguely chilly and overly blustery air. Climate change – I’m not happy with you. You’re stealing my festive feels.
If this is what we can expect for the festive season from here on out, I’m done. English winter, I bid you adieu – I’m jetting off to more suitable climes…
Budapest is a great option for a festive escape: close, cheap and chocolate-box beautiful. Historic Buda sits across the river from buzzing Pest, the city straddling the icy Danube river which is spanned by many beautiful bridges. For me, the real draw for Budapest comes in the form of a slightly warmer water source: the thermal baths that dot the city in spectacular old bath houses.
You can sit in a bikini in the frigid air – hot breath misting in front of your eyes – in perfect comfort, as you soak in therapeutic waters with temperatures of up to 38 degrees. Can you imagine a more perfect winter scene?
Perhaps your dream festive getaway is a little faster-paced? A winter’s ski trip is up there on many people’s festive to-do lists – whizzing down the dramatic Alpine pistes, warming up with steaming glasses of vin chaud and hearty dishes of hot raclette and fondue. Living in Europe we’re spoilt for choice of beautiful ski resorts, but for sheer chocolate box perfection, little towns like Meribel and St Martin de Belleville are hard to beat.
The Northern Lights
In terms of bucket list travel ideas, this has got to feature pretty highly for everyone: sitting in the snow as every extraordinary shade of green, blue and purple swirls and loops in the Arctic sky above you.
For the ultimate escape, you need to stay in one of the unique accommodation options available in the far north – glass-roofed igloos and spectacular mirrored treehouses are amongst my favourite options.
The Big City
I’m a country girl, but there’s something magical about Christmas in the big city. Whether it’s ice skating beneath the towering Rockefeller Christmas tree in New York or wandering the South Bank Christmas markets in London, it’s hard not to feel festive when you’re surrounded by seasonal cheer. In London, every street is frosted with twinkling lights and outdoor ice rinks pop up all over the city, whilst countless continental Christmas markets dole out steaming cups of gluhwein and rustling paper bags of hot roast chestnuts. SKATE at Somerset House has to be my favourite ice rink in the capital – huge and surrounded by the beautiful facade of Somerset House – but the Natural History Museum rink is pretty lovely too. Either way, you’ll need to book as far ahead as possible because the skating slots book up FAST.
Maybe you’re not feeling like a cold weather Christmas at all. If the pasty skin and gloomy sky is getting to you, you’re spoilt for choice of beautiful hot weather destinations for the Christmas break. If you can spare the time off work, Australia is the perfect location if you don’t want to abandon Christmas entirely – there’s nothing quite like spending the day sunbaking on golden sands in nothing but a bikini and a santa hat.
Where will you be spending Christmas this year? x