What country celebrates Christmas? World’s top 10 best places to celebrate Christmas

Christmas has evolved into a worldwide celebration, regardless of religion or geography. 1000 Ultimate Experiences by Lonely Planet is a list of the best places in the world to experience the holiday spirit.


With today’s emphasis on gift-giving and overeating, it’s difficult to deny that the true meaning of Christmas is often overlooked. Nothing beats a journey to Jesus’ birthplace for a refresher. On Christmas Eve, the energy in Manger Square and the Old City could illuminate a grove of Christmas trees. The Midnight Mass service at St Catherine’s Church is the place to be as the clock strikes 12 a.m.


When there’s never enough Santa, bundle up and travel north to Finland’s Arctic Circle. This neighborhood’s most renowned resident is the jovial man in the red suit, and the locals milk him for all he’s worth. Despite the touristy ambiance, the thick winter snow and reindeer-dotted forests go a long way toward offsetting it, however there is a Santa Park amusement park not far from the settlement. You’ll need a lot of cash, but you’d have to be a real Grinch to walk away without a smile.


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Countless movies have shown Christmas in New York, so you’re probably familiar with the scene: Christmas lights, cheesy muzak, and a light sprinkling of snow, if possible. In early December, the world’s tallest Christmas tree is illuminated at Rockefeller Center. Winter tourists must go ice skating below it, as well as look at the window decorations of New York’s top department stores. Finish with a performance of “The Nutcracker” by the New York Ballet for a Christmas that is straight out of central casting.


Meet up with other travelers on the beach to speak turkey. Sun, sand, and surf replace snow and fairy lights in Bondi, which is the polar opposite of northern-hemisphere Christmas clichés. On December 25, the beach becomes a magnet for backpackers from all over the world who come to celebrate with other “Christmas orphans.” The Pavilion is rocked by bands and DJs, and everyone is checking out everyone other, creating a lively scene. Swimsuit, sunscreen, and a sunhat are items you might not ordinarily bring to a Christmas dinner.


You can rest convinced that Catholicism’s spiritual heart knows how to celebrate Christmas. The Eternal City is lovely at any time of year, but December adds an extra layer of enchantment, with roasted chestnuts offered on every corner and presepi (nativity scenes) aplenty – see them in St Peter’s Square, Piazza Navona, and the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli on the Capitoline Hill. The Vatican attracts the greatest number of visitors. On Christmas Eve, or at noon on Christmas Day, Midnight Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica is an event to remember.


The firmly Catholic Irish have a few unique ways to celebrate Christmas, thanks to their wicked sense of humor. The morning swim at the Forty-Foot sea-water pool on the 25th raises the most eyebrows. There’s lots of life on Dublin’s streets in the run-up to the big day, and the craic pours. The Docklands’ 12 Days of Christmas Market, cheesy pantomimes, Christmas lights, ice skating, and markets, and seasonal cheer can all be found in Temple Bar. At St Patrick’s Cathedral, don’t miss the carols.


If you associate gift-giving with crowded department stores, you should visit Nuremberg’s Hauptmarkt for the enchanting Christkindlesmarkt (Christmas Market). 180 stalls sell toys, trinkets, candles, gingerbread, and sweets to shoppers who have been warmed by sizzling bratwurst and mulled wine. After dark, when the colored lights create a fairy-tale scene, come to see it. Christmas shopping has never looked so magical.


All of Switzerland’s famous chocolate-box features — mountains, snow, cobblestone streets — make it extra-appealing around the holidays. We chose Zurich because of its abundance of Christmas markets (don’t miss the one inside the railway station), guided Christmas-themed city strolls, and the enchanting all-singing Christmas tree that lights up Werdmuhleplatz. A choir of local children performs charming Christmas carols on a tiered triangular platform draped with varied greenery and fairy lights.


Tokyo’s Christmas is a magical, non-religious sight to see. In Japan, the New Year is traditionally more important than Christmas, yet this is what happens when non-Christians embrace Christmas wholeheartedly: outrageously extravagant decorations and lights. While the build-up is spectacular, Christmas Day itself is a letdown because it isn’t a holiday. Christmas Eve is a big affair, with activities similar to Valentine’s Day — it’s a night for lovers and romance. Fried chicken is served with a sponge cake topped with cream and strawberries in a Japanese-style meal.


Puerto Rico, a small island with a huge personality, gives you a bright Christmas with a salsa soundtrack and spit-roasted pig as a side dish. The festivities stretch from early December through the 6th of January, which is Three Kings Day. Beginning in mid-December, churches have Christmas carol-filled dawn masses, while enthusiastic roving groups of carolers go from house to house making merry. On Christmas Eve, a large feast is held, followed by Midnight Mass. Head to City Hall on the Plaza de Armas and the fairy-lit boulevard Paseo de la Princesa for festive displays.

F.A.Q: What country celebrates Christmas

Which country celebrates Christmas first?

So we see that Australia is one of the first countries in the world to commence the Christmas Day celebration

How many countries celebrate Christmas?

160 countries
While Christmas is now largely a secular holiday celebrated by over 160 countries, it was traditionally a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, and so some countries don’t commemorate it

Do the Japanese celebrate Christmas?

In Japan, Christmas is the time for friends and couples to have parties, make plans to meet up for dinner and celebrate as much as they can. And New Year is the time of the year when all members of the family come together, visit the temple, and usher-in January 1st, with food and drinks

Where is Christmas banned?

The public celebration of Christmas has been banned in the tiny oil-rich Islamic state of Brunei since 2015, with anyone found violating the law facing up to five years in jail or a fine of US $20,000, or both


While Christmas is celebrated by Christians around the world, the date and customs vary depending on the country. In some countries like Venezuela, Spain, and Sweden, Christmas is celebrated on December 24th. In others like Germany and Austria, it’s celebrated on December 25th. And in still other countries like America and Canada, Christmas is typically celebrated on December 26th. Regardless of the date, many of the same traditions are observed including gift-giving, decorations, feasting, and spending time with family. What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?

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