The Great Escape from Christmas

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There are those who love Christmas, people who are indifferent and then there are those who really don’t like it one bit. Everyone has personal reasons for their antipathy towards the festive season, which is pretty much unavoidable from November onwards in Spain as the shops fill with decorations and gifts, and advertising in every medium is swamped with Christmas adverts. It can be very wearying, especially when social media posters who are enchanted by the festival tell you there are only so many ‘sleeps’ until Christmas. And these are grown-ups! If you want to ignore the 25th December completely, there is an answer – escape to a place where it isn’t celebrated. With that in mind, here are some suggestions for Christmas-free destinations. It isn’t too late to book now.

Laos

It’s a Communist state with a very small Christian population, so you won’t find much interest in the festival here.  You might encounter some celebrations in Vientiane and Luang Prabang, two of its major cities, but they will be subtle rather than in your face. Laos is poor compared to neighbouring Vietnam and Thailand and has lower numbers of tourists. This is a bonus as there will be fewer places trying to cater to Western tourists with some form of Christmassy activities . Head to Luang Prabang and spend the end of December contemplating Buddhist temples rather than leftover turkey.

Morocco

It is right on our doorstep and has for some time been a popular choice for a Christmas week holiday, because it’s a Muslim country. Book a riad in Marrakech and after you have explored all the souks, head up into the Atlas Mountains for horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking. You won’t hear any jingle bells here.

Russia

With direct flights to St. Petersburg and Moscow from Málaga airport, Russia is a great choice, even if you will need thermal underwear. But isn’t this a country that celebrates Christmas you ask? Yes, but here’s the brilliant thing about Russia; it follows the Julian calendar for its religious festivals, which means that Christmas Day isn’t until 7th January. You can be in and out before the festivities begin in Russia. December 25th remains just an average day, aside from a few small Catholic celebrations. In other words, nothing will get in the way of visits to the Winter Palace and all the other wonderful sights in St. Petersburg.

The Maldives

If a luxury holiday in the sun is what you’re looking for then The Maldives might fit the bill. This is a Muslim country, so Christmas isn’t high on the agenda. You will find that some of the resorts will get in the festive spirit to please their Western customers, but you can just head to the beach, lie on a sun lounger, sip a cocktail and pretend that Christmas belongs to another universe. The overwater bungalows at the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort and Spa will provide endless pampering and prepare you for an energetic start to 2018.

Thailand

From November to February is the best time to visit this stunning country, because the humidity levels drop. It’s also an ideal vacation place when you want to rest, relax and enjoy some Thai spa treatments. Most Thais are Buddhist or Hindu, so it is unlikely that you’ll encounter too much in the way of the traditional Christmas trimmings. You might find some in Bangkok, but if you head to the islands you should be able to avoid any trace of Christmas.

Japan

This is another country that isn’t Christian, which makes it a safe zone for those of you who are escaping. Avoid Tokyo and Osaka, where you might find the commercial elements of Christmas on display in the shops. However, even if you do see some tinsel looming at you, you can be reassured that in Japan, the 25th December is just a normal day. If there are any celebrations, they will be on Christmas Eve. As with some of the other countries on the ‘Great Escape’ list – stay away from cities if you want to be totally festivities-free. Mountain resorts with hot springs are a good pick and there is skiing in Japan as well, providing that all the snow doesn’t make you think that Santa might be coming.

Well, those are the top picks for the Great Escape from Christmas. Alternatively, you can just close the door, turn off the phone, watch box sets and plough through a box of chocolates and the tipple of your choice. It’s a cheaper solution for sure, but be prepared to stay in there until 6th January, or you’ll find Christmas is still lurking, waiting to pounce on you. 

 
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