With the city skylines glittering and festive delicacies making everyone loosen their belt buckles a few notches, the Christmas season is upon us once again! All thanks to the Bollywood, Indians love celebrating special eves around snow for more filmy and dreamy moments! So, how about a “White Christmas” this year?
While images of Father Christmas knee-deep in snow, snowmen rugged up in fleecy neck-wear and imagery of reindeer with a bright coloured nose continue to don our holiday season gift-cards, a very small percentage of us have actually experienced a true white Christmas. Western countries like Norway, Finland, Canada, Switzerland, Austria and many more are perfect gateway for snowy Christmas but where can we find White Christmas close to our home? Well, here’s where you can almost guarantee your dream white Christmas in Asia.
Apart from the eastern Switzerland (Kashmir), travellers can experience white Christmas in Manali, Shimla and Auli. Gulmarg in Kashmir is a perfect destination for white Christmas in India. Experience the snow-clad mountains and the entire region covered in white dreamy snow. We recommend you to book your hotels in advance to avoid last minute tourist traps and heavy room tariff prices. In Shimla, you can experience the true spirit of Christmas as the place is famous for beautiful churches that are decorated beautifully during Christmas.
How about indulging in some fun activities while celebrating a white Christmas? Visit Ulan Bator in Mongolia famous for luxurious ski resorts and activities. The destination also features high-end shopping experience to make your holiday more exciting. Apart from world-class high end resorts and hotels, the region also houses a resort named Sky Resort, which is a year-round resort that typically offers skiing from November to March or April.
Niseko and Kutchan are world-class skiing destinations featuring few of the most visited ski resorts in Japan and never have a shortage of snowfall. Onsen’s snowmobiling and spas are also popular in the area. In fact, there are special events (Snow Candle Event, Christmas Eve celebration, New Year’s Eve fireworks) organised in Niseko during Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Other destinations like Hakuba, Hakodate, Otaru, Sapporo, Yamagata, Shiga Kogen, Nozawa Onsen and Zao Onsen are also good options!
In Japan, the first sunrise of the New Year is believed to have special supernatural powers. Prayers for health and well-being of family are directed to the sunrise and have been a popular practice since the Meiji era. Take a gondola ride for best sunrise and seek blessings.
Destinations like Yabuli, Beijing and Harbin are popular for snow-clad mountains and Christmas celebrations. In Harbin, you can also enjoy the ice and snow-sculpture festival after the New Year’s Eve (starting from January 5, 2015 till February 25, 2015). The Shangri-La Hotel features the luxurious Ice Palace Restaurant and Ice Bar, which is only open during the winter, where patrons can enjoy world-class Chinese hot pot dishes and expensive alcohol.
Seoul is one of the most preferred destinations for white Christmas in South Korea. Famous guests like Bill Gates and Tom Cruise have frequented the presidential suites at the Shilla Hotel in Seoul. If you are willing to spend USD 87,000 a night you will be treated to 24-hour butler service and a Finnish dry sauna.
Did you know: Santa’s unofficial home
Few destinations are as quintessentially Christmassy as Lapland, spread across the arctic regions of northern Norway, Finland and Sweden and the unofficial home of Santa Claus. Mr. Claus is in residence throughout the holiday season at Finland’s world famous Santa Claus village in Rovaniemi, where you can take a ride on a reindeer sleigh, get your postcards stamped at Santa’s very own post office, watch Santa’s Elves at work and even learn to bake gingerbread with Mrs. Claus. It’s not the only place to catch Father Christmas in action, though – he also runs a number of similar villages dotted throughout northern Norway and Sweden.
The longest Christmas Eve:
If the Christmas fun feels like it’s over all too quickly, try spending the holiday season in the Philippines. Boasting the world’s longest Christmas season, the Filipino Christmas stretches from the start of September up until the “Feast of the Epiphany” on January 6. Carol singers and parols (traditional star-shaped lanterns made of bamboo or rattan) begin to brighten up the streets from September, but the main festivities kicks off on December 16 with the capital’s giant lantern festival and street parties culminating on Christmas Eve with a huge family feast.
Author : Anita Jain