Christmas is always fun and memorable but spending it overseas is a surefire way to make it one of a lifetime. Head to the United States during the festive season and you can experience the joys of a white Christmas.
Christmas in the US will be very different to what you're used to (it'll be midwinter for a start) so it's vital to think carefully about your getaway so you can have an authentic experience. Here's some survival tips to ensure you have a wonderful trip.
Shop for warm clothing
The weather in the USA at this time of year is a good deal colder than at home. In New York, for example, the temperature in December averages between zero and seven degrees C so it pays to stock up on plenty of warm clothing. One place in the Big Apple where you can do just that is at the Macy's department store in Manhattan. The iconic retailer sells a vast range of men's, women's and children's clothing – as well as designer accessories and jewellery – so you can definitely find items to keep out the winter chill.
The store also puts on vibrant themed window displays every Christmas. In years gone by, these have contained fascinating features such as waterfalls and jewel-covered forests, so they are sure to get you into the holiday spirit.
Those visiting Boston should head to the Prudential Center. At this stylish mall, which is situated in the city's Back Bay district, you'll find a number of top-quality fashion outlets including Saks Fifth Ave, Kate Spade Saturday and Free People where you'll be able to shop to your heart's content.
Browse festive markets
Christmas markets will also help you get a solid dose of seasonal spirit. These take place all over the US, but those spending time in Chicago should stop by the city's Christkindlmarket.
One of the biggest festive markets in the entire country (it attracts over a million visitors every year), you'll discover dozens of great stalls selling quaint homewares, clothes and handmade gifts.
Browsing here is sure to work up an appetite, so grab a snack or a drink from one of the food vendors. If you're feeling chilly, warm yourself up with gluhwein, a traditional hot spiced wine that originates from Germany.
Another great way to get some festive cheer is attending the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington DC. Taking place every year since 1923, this fantastic event sees a giant glittering Christmas tree lit by the president while a number of celebrities put on a captivating show in front of an audience of thousands.
Enjoy delicious food and drink
Lastly, enjoy traditional festive cuisine and, unlike Australia, don't expect to have a barbecue on Christmas Day! You're much more likely to have hearty roast dinners (usually with beef or ham, turkey is typically reserved for Thanksgiving) which is then followed by a delicious dessert. This could be a tasty pumpkin pie or fruit cake, but you might want to go for the classic American favourite of apple pie.
When it comes to having something to drink, eggnog is one option worth considering. This spiced egg-based drink is topped with cinnamon can be made with a range of spirits – including bourbon, rum and brandy – so it'll certainly warm you up on those cold winter nights!