There are some amazing events on tap all over the world all the time. Here’s just a taste of what you can do and see in December:
  • Warm up at the Mill Road Winter Fair (December 1) in Cambridge, England. Join the jubilant throng at the Carnival Parade, wander through a corn labyrinth, or participate in a treasure hunt. But don’t go hungry: make sure to check out the food fair in Gwydir Street car park.
  • Stake your claim at the 16th annual Bozeman Ice Climbing Festival (December 5-9) in Montana‘s outstanding Hyalite Canyon. The event, sponsored by Arc’teryx, draws the best athletes and participants from around the world for clinics, gear demos, and post-competition fun.
  • Celebrate the solstice. Skansen, an open air museum and zoo on the island of Djurgarden in Stockholm, will be chock full of holiday fun for the month of December, but visitors to the Winter Solstice Fire & Ice Celebration (December 21-23) will be treated to ice sculptures in the making, an ice bar, and a special sami dance performance.
  • Try to resist dancing at the Junkanoo Festival in Nassau, Bahamas on Boxing Day (December 26). Though the origins of Boxing Day remain in question (and might have something to do with the song “Good King Wenceslas”), why split hairs when it comes to having a good time?

    Bahamians celebrate Boxing Day with a Junkanoo parade. (Photograph by Kishan Munroe, My Shot)

  • Witness an entirely different kind of spectacle at the Santa Claus World Championships (December 1) in Samnaun, Switzerland. Watch as more than 100 Father Christmases compete for glory in a host of competitions, including climbing chimneys, decorating gingerbread, and delivering presents (by donkey).
  • Shine your shoes. It’s time for “St. Nick” to pay a visit to boy and girls across much of Europe on St. Nicholas Day (December 6). On the eve of that night, children (and many adults) choose their best pair of shoes to leave out for the bearded and mitred saint to fill with candy and small toys. If, of course, they have been “good.” If they have been “bad,” they get twigs or wooden spoons.
  • Oooh and aaah. It’s about time for Portland Oregon‘s 58th Annual Christmas Ship Parade (December 7-21) to begin. Gather at the banks of the Columbia or Willamette rivers to watch the festive flotilla, brightly decorated for the holiday season, sail by. Make sure to wave at the captains as they pass: this is an all-volunteer, non-profit effort.
  • Walk in a winter wonderland. One stroll around the enormous Winter Wonders concourse in the heart of Brussels (now through January 6) will ignite your imagination no matter your age. Make sure to take a spin on the ferris wheel and browse the more than 200 wooden chalets that make up one of Europe’s best Christmas markets.

    Whirling is part of the Sama ceremony in the Sufi faith. (Photograph by Xavier Serra, Flickr)

  • Witness one of the word’s greatest spectacles at the Whirling Dervishes Festival (December 10-17) in Konya, Turkey. The ritual, performed in the ancient Seljuk capital to pay homage to the Sufic saint Mevlana, is so unique that UNESCO labeled it as one of the “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.”
  • Celebrate the grape at the annual Fête du Millésime (December 5) in Bandol, France. Thousands of oenophiles flock to this quaint Mediterranean port town (less than an hour’s drive from Marseilles) to taste local wines while they’re still young and full of promise. You won’t want to miss sampling the region’s signature variety: the Mourvèdre.
  • Get amped. Come out to the Power Plant Holiday Light Show Spectacular (now through December 30) in Baltimore, Maryland to see fireworks, lasers, and live flames that leap 20 feet into the air. It’s all part of It’s a Waterfront Life, a string of December events celebrating the holiday season and the best of harbor life.
  • Make a wish. Be among the hundreds of thousands of people who wade into the ocean at midnight to make a wish for the coming year while samba drums throb and general revelry ensues at Réveillon (December 31) in Rio de Janeiro. If Rio isn’t your scene, you can ring in the new year in Sydney, the first major city to see the clock strike twelve.

    Sydney is the first major city to ring in the new year. (Photograph by Astro Now, Flickr)

 

Comments

  1. NELLY BUENO
    Buenos Aires -Argentina
    December 28, 2012, 11:09 am

    excelente información , hermosas fotos

  2. imane
    morocco
    December 19, 2012, 6:33 pm

    j’aime bien les photos et j’espère le Maroc a la prochaine ….

  3. Gloria Rivas
    Vancouver - Canada
    December 12, 2012, 8:30 am

    Great article and photos!

  4. Wanthana
    Bangkok
    December 11, 2012, 2:51 am

    Wonderful list, Thanks!

  5. Christian Rene Friborg
    Germany
    December 5, 2012, 6:38 pm

    Might actually be able to attend the Winter Solstice Fire & Ice Celebration in Stockholm since me and my family will be spending the holiday season in Sweden. :)

  6. Alexander
    December 5, 2012, 4:34 am

    Great article!!! I suggest to complete the list with Top 10 Places worth to visit on Christmas by TEG http://travel-europe-eu.blogspot.com/2011/12/top-10-places-to-visit-on-christmas.html

  7. Katie
    http://www.indiegogo.com/transformabletote
    December 3, 2012, 11:14 pm

    What a great list! I’ve already missed some of these this year, but I’ll definitely have to add these to my list for years to come!

    -Katie
    http://www.indiegogo.com/transformabletote