Frankfurt Christmas Market, Birmingham, England
When: Now through December 23
Started in 1997, the Frankfurt Christmas Market Birmingham (above) has become so popular it is now the largest Christmas market located outside of Germany and Austria. With more than 120 stalls, it is bursting with German delicacies and treats, including bratwurst and Glühwein—a mulled wine. Less-traditional attractions at the market include Chris Moose, a moose head that sings carols from his perch above the crowds (he even has his own Twitter account, filled with a-moose-ing puns).
Vancouver Christmas Market, Vancouver, B.C.
When: Now through December 24
Drawing inspiration from a traditional German Christkindlmarkt, the Vancouver Christmas Market offers old-world tradition with new-world flair. Grab a sausage to snack on as you peruse the more than 75 stalls before heading over to the second storey of the Christmas Pyramid (dubbed the Flying Stage) to tap your toes to some live music. Lovers Lane, a tunnel decorated with 10,000 lights and hung with mistletoe, is the perfect spot to sneak away for some holiday romance.
Where to Experience The Nutcracker
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, New York City Ballet
When: Now through December 30
The New York City Ballet’s performance of this holiday classic will sweep you away in The Big Apple.
When: December 14
Comedy fans will crack up with The Nutty Nutcracker, a tongue-in-cheek spoof of the original featuring local celebrities.
When: December 15 and 16
Touring across Canada and parts of the U.S., including Boston, The Hip Hop Nutcracker offers a fresh take on composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s classic score.
Holiday Light Displays
Las Noches de las Luminarias, Phoenix, Arizona
When: Now through December 31
More than 8,000 luminarias (a traditional holiday lantern made by placing a candle and sand in a bag) will line the trails during the 40th anniversary of Las Noches de las Luminarias at the city’s Desert Botanical Garden.
Honolulu City Lights, Honolulu, Hawaii
When: Now through January 1, 2019
Honolulu City Lights is a month-long luminous celebration in the Hawaiian capital. Check out the lights on King and Punchbowl streets before enjoying the tree and wreath displays at city hall.
Zoolights, Calgary, Alberta
When: Now through January 5, 2019
Calgary Zoo’s annual Zoolights sees the trees, buildings and glowing holiday figures hung with more than 2 million lights, turning it into a winter wonderland.
Christmas Lights Across Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
When: December 5, 2018 through January 7, 2019
Celebrate the holiday season in Canada’s capital with this multimedia light show on Parliament Hill. The opening-night ceremony includes live performances and free treats.
[This story appears in the December 2018 issue of WestJet Magazine.]
How to Start Planning your Christmas Vacation in July
It might not be beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the middle of summer, but with less than six months to go, it’s never too early to start planning (and booking) that holiday escape—indeed, many popular places are booked six months to a year ahead. From California to the Caribbean, here are a few hot destinations for when the weather turns cold.