Here are my top picks for pre Christmas breaks as seen on TV3’s Sunday AM.
Christmas Market Breaks
The winter price war between Aer Lingus and Ryanair means there is still great value in Christmas market breaks. The Irish Travel Agents Association has many advertised in their offers section, with packages to cities such as Prague, Krakow, Berlin for less than €200 with flights and hotel.
I particularly like the Copenhagen Christmas market, it offers something different to the eastern European markets. Tivoli Gardens is one of the world’s oldest amusement parks and is situated right in the heart of the city. It is filled with over 500,000 fairy lights and decorated to look like a winter wonderland. There are light shows, concerts, fantastic restaurants and over 60 market stalls. You can take a spin on a rollercoaster or sip some mulled wine, while catching a top class concert. The market itself is the destination. Its also a great place to bring children, with lots of amusement rides for all ages and you can even combine it with a visit to Santa, who is on site! Note that the Tivoli Gardens market is open until the 2nd of January (most of the others are closed by Christmas Eve), so it is a ideal place for a post Christmas break too. ClickandGo are offering a great deal to Copenhagen in December, with Aer Lingus flights and two nights in a 4* Hotel for only €219. For more details click here.
Christmas Shopping Breaks To New York
Another holiday that has made a huge come back this year is the Christmas shopping break in New York. Despite the exchange rate there are still plenty of bargains to be found.
Century 21 department store (an American version of TK Maxx) is open from 730am so its an ideal place to start. Inevitably with the time difference you will find you are wide awake at 6 am the day after you arrive. Its also easier to find bargains when the store is neat and tidy – don’t try to go in the evening time, its like a jumble sale! Most of us love Macys and Bloomingdales and there are plenty of bargains to be found coming up to Christmas. My personal favourite is the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets. They have all the top designer clothes for a fraction of the price you would pay at home. It is also a really nice place to shop, like a massive Kildare village. Of course if you don’t want to venture outside of Manhattan you can always pick up the latest designer bag or jewellery on Canal Street for $20! For more details on shopping in New York, read my blog here. The Christmas tree at Rockefeller centre is illuminated on the 2nd of December so I chose a package on the 4th of December. The price for flights and hotel for three nights is €695 per person, click here for more details.
I went on a two night trip last year with my husband and two children and loved it. It was by far the best family holiday I have had, and one that I will never forget. It is not just about meeting the ‘real’ Santa, the whole experience is magical. The excitement starts from the minute you arrive at the airport to check in, the sign reads The North Pole, the excitement never goes away. There is entertainment on the short three hour flight and when you arrive at your log cabin in the snow, its like a winter wonderland. The trip included snowmobiling, husky & reindeer rides and a visit Santa’s post office and village. I would say to anyone to beg, borrow or steal to go, the memories will last a lifetime for you, and your children. For more information on my trip, read my blog here.
Sunway have the largest number of flights with 8 operating between Dublin and Cork. The two night trips are full and there is very limited availability on the 1 night trips. Likewise Cantebury Travel’s two and three night trips are also full. The good news is that Falcon Holidays still have availability left on their day trips. Prices are from €639 for adults and €579 for children and there is availability on the 5th, 12th and 18th of December. I would recommend anyone who is planning for next year to book well in advance. Use it as a savings club perhaps, pay a small deposit and pay in monthly instalments.