'Tis the season…to go on summer holidays, enjoy makeshift barbeques in the rain and stock the freezer with choc ices - but in the world of travel, all of us are thinking at least a few months, if not a year or two in advance. Organising holidays for any season means making arrangements ahead of time; even if you're the most spontaneous of souls, hotels book up and the cost of flights rise the closer you get to your departure date. While all of this is true, it's also partly an excuse to talk about taking holidays at Christmas, something people can err on the side of caution about, but that we think can be one of the only true ways to find yourself some peace on earth.
So to help add a few ideas to your pro list for when the family start asking who's going to cook their turkey this year, here's our top five reasons to treat yourself to some away time this Christmas.
1) The cost of escaping the usual sherry-filled festivities can often be the same or even less than a more traditional, at home celebration. When you're forking out for oodles of food (that will probably end up remaining un-eaten), making sure there's alcoholic choices that will please everyone, and panic buying presents just in case you receive an unexpected box of chocolates from anybody, the price of a holiday can seem surprisingly reasonable in comparison.
2) There's a reason Christmas handily lands in the middle of winter, the most depressing part of the year for many Brits. There have been public holidays held around the winter solstice for thousands of years, from Roman Saturnalia to the Egyptian's honouring of Horus, son of Isis. The days are so short, blink and you'll miss them and there's no end in sight to the cold, damp weather, so everyone's in need of a party to cheer themselves up, but if you're fleeing the country for a few days, you can pick what weather you'd like to experience! Want to make sure you're going to wake up to Christmas card-esque scenes? No problem! Decided you want to pretend its summer again and fly off to warmer climes, it's easy! And for many parts of the world, Christmas Day isn't that different to any other - even in some European destinations, it's less of an event that Christmas Eve, so you won't struggle to find things to do if eating too much and lazing around is still just a little too close to home.
3) For many, one of the highlights of the big day itself is the annual Christmas walk - heading out into deserted streets that possess a completely different atmosphere this one day than they do the rest of the year, and this is no different in many other countries. While holidays over the Christmas period are growing in popularity, they're still one of the quietest periods to go away during which means you could have some tourist attractions almost to yourself.
4) Ever found yourself wondering what the heck you're doing mid-turkey stuffing? There's nothing like getting too familiar with poultry to make you want to let someone else deal with the cooking, and if you're not at home then you've no choice but not to worry! You can spend the afternoon of Christmas Day sipping a drink, or doing something more energetic if you so choose, whilst letting someone else fret about whether there's enough potatoes or not. And after enjoying your delicious meal, you don't even have to volunteer to help with the washing up. It's also a great chance to experience different foods and traditions, you may be so inspired in fact that you could end up incorporating something new into your own yearly rituals.
5) Christmas is renowned for its comedown. As much as people complain about spending time cooped up with their families in front of the television, most of us secretly love sitting down to watch the Great Escape yet again with a big tub of chocolates, and can get surprisingly upset when it's all over again for another year. Waking up in your hotel on the 27th December brings none of that however, you've still got holidaying to be getting on with! And even when the time comes to return home again, you're sure to be looking forward to catching up with loved ones, perhaps even having a belated celebration all together.
Christmas has become a time of year associated with habit for most of us - we know what next year will bring even before the tinsel's been taken off the tree. And while there's definitely comfort and enjoyment to be had in familiarity, maybe this year it's time to consider something a bit different and inject an extra dose of excitement into your Christmas morning.