Do you love Europe, but want to avoid its traditional Christmas markets, nativity scenes and yuletide snow? Head to Turkey! Despite its name, there’s no roast fowl on the tables here, as this mostly Muslim country does not traditionally celebrate Christmas. So instead of swigging mulled wine and biting the heads off gingerbread men, you can immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and souks of Istanbul. Istanbul tours.
Flying towards the heat and dazzling rhythms of Brazil initially sounds like a good idea, but bear in mind that you’ll be hard-pressed to avoid Christmas celebrations in the major cities. For instance, Rio de Janeiro boasts the world’s largest floating Christmas tree – probably not quite what you’re looking for. So head instead for more remote adventures in the country’s Amazon Rainforest, where the sloths and snakes are a far cry from Santa’s reindeer. Amazon Tours.
Like the idea of snowboarding, but not really into the snow? Why not head to Morocco, where you can surf the desert's highest sand dunes at Erg Chebbi! If you’re staying in the big cities like Marrakech or Tangiers, avoid the larger hotels, which just may pull out the tinsel for Western visitors at this time year; instead opt for a smaller traditional riad deep in the city, where the chances of a Santa spotting are slim to none. Morocco tours.
Visit Japan to immerse yourself in the Shinto and Buddhist cultures, a far cry from the noisy consumerism of North American malls at Christmas. But be warned that celebrating Christmas – at least the trappings of Christmas – has recently become popular in Tokyo, so you’ll want to head somewhere else. We suggest Kyoto, long considered the storehouse of Japanese traditional culture. Spend Christmas day exploring the city’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, and feeling the Zen that comes with wandering through traditional Japanese gardens. Kyoto Tours.
Finally, we should probably acknowledge what many of you are thinking: all you really want this December is to chill out on a sunny beach somewhere. Our ultimate non-Christmassy beach destination? The Maldives. There’s no need for Christmas lights here: the electric blue water, glowing red coral and glittering white sand provide all the festive colour you’ll need. This island archipelago in the Indian Ocean really is a slice of paradise. Maldives Tours.