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November 16, 2011

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Holiday hot spots for Christmas

MANY people have holidays at the end of the year for Christmas and New Year's Day. For those lucky enough to get some time off work and looking for something different than the usual trip home to see family and friends, travel agencies recommended some Christmas destinations.

Bethlehem, Israel

For many people around the world, Christmas has become synonymous with exchanging presents, parties and family reunions.

A trip to Bethlehem, the birth place of Jesus, can remind everyone of the true meaning of Christmas. Every year at Christmas, people in Bethlehem gather at Manger Square to celebrate the coming of the son of God.

The Church of the Nativity is one of the oldest continuously operating churches in the world. It is where Mary gave birth to Jesus. The church has been listed as an endangered cultural relic as it was severely damaged in the war.

Santa Claus Village, Finland

Although the image of Santa Claus did not originate from Christianity, the image of chubby, jolly old man with a white beard and red suit has become one of the most recognized symbols of Christmas. In Santa Claus Village, which is believed to be the origin of all Santa legends, hundreds of people there dress as Santa Claus to welcome people coming from all over the world around Christmas. They play games with visitors, answer questions about Santa and, of course, deliver presents.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Many people may wish for a white Christmas, but sometimes doing something different can be fun. For a summer Christmas, look no further than the sunny beaches of Australia.

The Whitsunday Islands and Cairns are the main tourism hot spots along the Great Barrier Reef.

The reef offers one of nature's most spectacular sites with an abundance of colorful tropical fish and corals. It's a great spot for scuba diving and snorkeling.

Dublin, Ireland

Christmas in Dublin is both warm-hearted and active. On Christmas Eve, families in Dublin usually place candles on their windowsills, to mark the birth of Jesus and to guide people home for family reunions. Plum pudding and turkey are on almost every dinner table on Christmas Day in Ireland.

After a quiet Christmas Eve, tourists can take the plunge in the city's traditional winter swimming contest. Many locals jump into chilly water to celebrate Christmas. It is reputed to be good for the health.

Nuremberg, Germany

The well-known Christmas Market in Nuremberg is popular around Christmas. Almost all the Christmas goodies people can imagine are available here including candles and Christmas trees. A super collection of food and snacks such as German sausages, candies and ginger bread will ensure a merry Christmas indeed.

Even if you don't need any Christmas goodies, going around and experiencing the festive atmosphere is well worth it.

Hong Kong

If you don't want to venture too far from Shanghai for Christmas, Hong Kong is a good option. Every year around Christmas, Hong Kong Disneyland becomes rather popular, especially among children. The amusement park goes all out at Christmas with such attractions as a gingerbread house and more.

Other sightseeing spots such as Ocean Park will also hold some Christmas events to attract families.


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