Have you ever been on Christmas vacation? Here’s why you should try it – and where to go
The countdown to Christmas has already begun and, if you’re like me, you might be wondering what new delights this festive season has in store for you. Omicron’s fears last year followed a canceled 2020, while 2022 has, so far, seen the loss of a beloved monarch, political chaos, a plummeting pound and a global crisis. cost of living which shows no signs of slowing down as the long nights set in. time.
Never have we needed something to look forward to so much – and combining winter holiday costs with festive celebrations just might look more and more appealing.
In 2016, after years of choosing between cold and consumerism in the UK and long and expensive flights to see my family in Australia, my husband and I decided we needed a year off over Christmas. We explained to our children – then aged 10, 9 and 7 – that we couldn’t afford both vacations and presents, and instead we were going on adventures. Sri Lanka ticked several boxes – a destination we had never visited before, winter sunshine and a country where, save for a few garlands, children would not be taunted by the specter of Christmas every turning.
Starting out at a luxurious resort just outside Colombo relieved us of jet lag; these are now local transport and family bed and breakfasts. We explored tea plantations and waterfalls, scrubbed elephants with coconut husks in the river, played cricket with curious children, marveled at a roadside sword swallower and watched devotees dressed in dazzling white arrive at the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy. In the south, we spotted leopards on a safari in Yala, slept in a tree house, surfed in Weligama and snorkeled at Jungle Beach. Children received blessings at every temple we visited, ate curry with their fingers and drank coconuts – all without a Playstation or tablet in sight.
This year, some people might be able to enjoy a lavish Christmas at home and a winter break, but for those who can’t, going on holiday over the festive period can earn you a lot of money. Not only do rates tend to be much lower if you’re traveling on Christmas Day, but many hotels and resorts offer festive packages with added value and special offers. There’s also the advantage of not having to decorate your own rooms or wash your own dishes – and you can be sure that everyone in the vicinity will be full of seasonal cheer.
Sri Lanka has also had a tough time this year. However, there are plenty of fabulous options that work with a similar brief, whether you want to travel alone, as a couple, with friends or family, for the sun or the snow.
As for us, we loved our non-Christmas-Christmas so much that we are doing it again this year by traveling to Mexico. Children are counting down, not to Christmas Day, but to the day we fly. The Covid nightmare may seem like some kind of fever dream now, but the memory of how much we missed togetherness and travel is still strong. Who could blame anyone for wanting to feast on both?
Ideal for couples
Azul Nomeolvides, Mexico
Couples might have been ready to strangle each other at the height of lockdown, but this idyllic boutique hotel, part of the Welcome Beyond collection, will banish all murderous memories. Each cabin on the six-room property — which showcases bioclimatic design, with locally sourced materials and grass roofs — overlooks the clear blue waters of Lake Bacalar. A small on-site restaurant is complemented by a handful of local restaurants in Bacalar — and, though the property is off-grid, Wi-Fi is always available for connecting with the outside world.
How to do: Minimum two nights from £310 per night including breakfast (azulnomeolvides.com)