Page contents

Europe for Christmas? The Tropics? Or Home?

If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Details

Welcome to Across the Cafe Table where every second Wednesday we ask a question and share our answers


If you HAD to spend the holidays away somewhere, where would you go and what would you do?

Christmas market in Strasbourg, France

Briana’s answer:

Being from Boston, a December holiday spent someplace warm and sunny always sounds enticing. I imagine a few days feeling light and free, strolling around without wearing a jacket that makes me look like the Michelin Man.

But throughout all my travels I’ve learned that the holidays are best spent with family and friends. In the end, I love sitting around and stuffing myself on home-cooked food, watching the littlest ones get excited on Christmas morning, and laughing with my aunt the schoolteacher, who never fails to have us in stitches with some harmless yet surprising lewd joke.

So, I’m afraid this month’s Across The Café Table question just isn’t for me. And if I must answer it, I’ll do it by cheating a little bit.

Where would I go if Boston were off-limits this Christmas? Well, anywhere, as long as I could bring my sometimes-crazy family with me. From Alaska to Argentina, California to China, the destination really wouldn’t matter. In the end, I think the holidays are just like travel; they’re memorable not because of where you spend them, but rather because of who you spend them with.

Margo’s answer:

Hey Briana, you know how we love strange old Christmas traditions around here. But did you know that Christmas used to be banned in Boston? You can read about what the Massachusetts Puritans called  “a profane and superstitious custom.”  Also, I’m curious given that you currently live in Ireland about any similarities you have observed between Boston and Irish culture. Maybe another blog post? 🙂

Also I anticipated that we might be tempted to cheat! Because, yes, there is an excellent chance that even the most intrepid of Travel Belles would choose to stay home or at the very least, only travel where spending time with family members as part of the package.

To answer this question as intended I must either pretend that someone is holding a gun to my head, or that there is a provision for taking all of my family members with me to imagined Christmas destination.

I will admit that someday I would like to go to Europe for Christmas. Here’s exactly where I’d go:

Strasbourg, France.

The city bills itself as “Capital of Christmas,” and the title seems fitting given the full calendar of events that are scheduled each holiday season. Additionally, Strasbourg is home to multiple Christmas markets, including the main one that dates from 1570 held in Place Broglie .  Strasbourg also has its fair share of unique Christmas traditions and legends, including a tale about how glass ornaments came to be hung on trees following an apple shortage in 1850. Located in the Alsace region of France near the German border, the picturesque city laced with canals possesses a unique international flair.

Besides, although part of me would love to grab the family and head somewhere tropical over Christmas (I’ve always thought the British Virgin Islands would be very nice over New Years), but Europe for Christmas, in particular Strasbourg, with its seasonal weather would most likely accommodate me in my set ideas about holiday-appropriate cold and dark weather!

*Photo by Francois Schnell

About the author

I’m a writer, editor and educator who is now based in the Boston area after spending several years living abroad in Ireland, Spain and Italy. While I spend most of my time writing and editing for the web (these days you’ll find on, I still love the feeling of holding a newspaper or magazine in my hands. If you’d like to know what I’m up to right now, you can find me at and on Twitter @brianapalma.

14 thoughts on “Europe for Christmas? The Tropics? Or Home?”

  1. Briana, you are absolutely right about spending Christmas with family and friends; it really doesn’t matter where you are as long as they are there too! For the purposes of this month’s question, I kind of took it for granted that the whole gang would be coming too!

    Margo, so interesting about Christmas being cancelled in Boston, those Puritans didn’t have much fun, did they?! They did the same in Britain. Strasbourg sounds like the perfect Christmas destination, with its history and festivities!

  2. I agree Briana, family is definitely the most important part of Christmas! And Margo, I also like the sound of Strasbourg – all those Christmas markets and mulled wine…

  3. As long as the people I love are there, I don’t care where I celebrate!! This year it’s on a small farm in Australia bush country. 🙂 But if I could go anywhere, England would be at the top of my list. 🙂

  4. I would absolutely go to Oaxaca! I have not been there at Christmas but I think I would love it then.
    All my life I have had COLD or SNOWY Christmases. In my opinion, snow really doesn’t have anything to do with the true meaning of Christmas. So….maybe somewhere warm for a change would be just wonderful. Of course hubby and I would want our three adult children to be with us. They make Christmas relevant for us.

  5. @Christina yep.. I always start out liking winter at first, but it doesn’t take much of it to make me want to get out of town… to an island (see above – still want to go to Virgin Gorda)

    @Caterina have you been to Oaxaca other times, I take it? I would love to hear more about it! And yes, having the kids, no matter how old they are make Christmas relevant! 🙂

  6. Yikes! I missed this month so I’ll just post here.

    First of all, Margo — I used to live in St. John and I LOVE Virgin Gorda…but I always wanted to go to Anegada, the least known of all the BVI but apparently the coolest. On the list!

    Being the Yankee that I am, it’s got to be cold for Christmas, but there has to be wine in abundance so I’d pick Vienna. Tons of stuff to do, gorgeous, and so close to wine country in Austria! And when I wasn’t sipping wine, I could have that divine chocolate and streudel!

    Happy Festivus, all!

Leave a Comment