It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

A Very European Christmas

Christmas is a once-a-year occurrence. But every Christmas is also not the same. No, I don't mean year to year, which would be another obvious statement. No, I mean wherever you go, Christmas is celebrated in a variety of beautiful and unique ways. How Christmas is celebrated here in Henderson is different than many places, and we'll take a look at some of them here running up and down Europe. My favorite is Dresden, the picturesque Christmas German town, which is going on its 585 years of Christmas markets. Followed by London, whose perfect architecture is an excellent backdrop for some holiday cheer. Vienna, located in northeastern Austria, is overflowing with Christman festivities that could be ripped from a Hallmark movie. Copenhagen, the Danish capital, is practically made of ice in this season, so bring your skates. And finally France, with its delectable seasonal treats. 

Dresden is a gorgeous little city in the state of Saxony in Germany. And it has the most extensive number of Christmas markets in the eastern part of the country and is one of the cities that can lay claim to the title of being the oldest seasonal event in Germany. Now in its 585th year, Dresden is still going strong, fresh as a page out of a Christmas storybook. Ore Mountain wood crafts, Lusatian blue-printed fabrics and Moravian stars are all classic products you can purchase at the market to bring a little bit of that Christmas cheer home with you.

A classic in European Christmas cheer, London is a big name across the pond. The renowned city offers a wide array of activities and tourist attractions. Marvel at the magnificent Christmas tree at Windsor Castle, get your skates out at Somerset House's glorious 18th-century courtyard ice rink and watch Christmas films in sumptuous surroundings at the Rivoli Ballroom's pop-up cinema. A host of other options await in this magnificent city; it seems almost as if around every other corner, another form of holiday cheer is springing up.

Vienna is the perfect halfway point on this list. Another well-known Christmas market, Vienna is wreathed in holiday tradition. Enjoy a mug of mulled wine, taste a fancy toffee apple and breathe in the scent of frying sausages and Christmas cheer. But the market is not the only draw to this European town by the castle; unique brass and choir groups will be performing all month long throughout the city, but mostly by the town hall shown in the photos here. The common reasons to visit this tucked-away European village is still here: the museums, palaces and other attraction are always open and provide a slice of the olden days.

The Danish capital, Copenhagen, is a heavyweight when it comes to holiday cheer. While most travel sites recommend you visit this picturesque European city in the summer or fall, I can confidently say that Christmastime is the best time to pay a visit. A snapping cold hangs in the air, whose ferocity could be mistaken for a stray dog, as the quiet air of content hovers over the city in the later months of the year. Sometimes called the ice skating capital of the world, Copenhagen has quite the sampling of skating rinks. The ice rink at Frederiksberg Rundel is at the very entrance of a gorgeous garden. The ice rink at Toftegårds Plads is equally beautiful and is in the very heart of the city. And my personal favorite, the ice rink in Tivoli, is at the Nimb hotel.

While Paris was originally going to be the city featured in this spot, another small French Tudor town named Strasbourg almost stole the show. However, first to Paris. Paris, as we all know, is known for many things, but chief among them is the pastry delicacies. Maison Kayser is a Paris-based bakery that creates customizable sweets for the Christmas season. Hugo and Victor, the chocolate masters of Paris, make North Star chocolates that are to die for. Strasbourg, however, is a far cry from the luxurious sweets of Paris. Only 300 wooden Chalets built in classic Tudor style, it has a massive Christmas tree and is known as a world heritage site. Off the beaten path, this little French village is beautiful for the holiday season.

Whether you are spending Christmas at home or abroad, we can all agree that the most wonderful time of the year should be spent with the people we love.

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