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Best For: A spiritual Christmas

credit: NMaximova

Where: Kerala, India

Why: Because you won’t find much spirituality around Oxford Circus this month.

In Kerala, south India, you’ll feel a million miles away from the seasonal buying frenzies of the West, but will still get to enjoy the region’s own, sunnier brand of Christmas celebrations.

Around one fifth of the population is Christian, but the other religious groups here, namely Hindus and Muslims, have low-key celebrations as well, meaning most of the shops and cafes will be all decked out with star-shaped lanterns and baubles.

Even the palm trees get covered in tinsel and streamers, so the place feels festive, albeit in a slightly surreal, unconventional way.

Since religion is taken very seriously in Kerala – which you’ll be reminded of by road signs everywhere that say, ‘God’s own country’ – Christmas is more of a faith-based celebration than an excuse to party, and you’ll see adverts for English-language midnight masses outside churches across the state.

Don't miss: On Christmas Day, make sure you get hold of a fat slice of yummy plum cake, which is a Keralan take on the West’s traditional Christmas pud. It comes sprinkled with icing sugar and decorated with festive ribbons.

Getting there: Fly from London Gatwick to Kochin from £789pp return (19th Dec - 26th Dec). 

keralatourism.org


Best for: A feel-good Christmas

credit: Jeff_Cagle

Where: Pokhara, Nepal

Why: Remember when ‘Christmas spirit’ used to mean something other than Jägermeister?

Pod Volunteer arranges placements in Pokhara in Nepal, where you’ll help out at orphanages, street children’s centres and schools.

When you’re not working, explore the surrounding Himalayan mountain region by rafting, kayaking and trekking.

Don't miss: That ultimate warm and fuzzy feeling of having done something worthwhile with your holiday.
 

Getting there: Fly from London Heathrow to Kathmandu £792pp return (19th Dec - 26th Dec).

podvolunteer.org


Best of the rest: 'Orphan’s' Christmas Breaks in the UK

Family the other side of the world? Club together with your mates and spend Christmas together in one of these self-catering cottages around the UK.

credit: agostinosangel

Where: Cornwall, England

Stay at Pig House in Mawnan Smith near Falmouth with wood burning stove, oak floors, open plan living room, kitchen/diner and best of all a hot tub! The beach is a mere 10 minute drive to walk off your Christmas Dinner too!

Drive to Cornwall for traditional dinner in the cottage, then spend the rest of the time in the village pub.

Sleeps
: 6

Price
: £888 p/w (19th Dec - 26th Dec)

See
: sykescottages.co.uk


Where: Snowdonia, Wales

Stay in the Snowdonia National Park in Llwyngwril in a beautiful stone and slate farmhouse.

Sleeps
: 6

Price
: £810 p/w (19th Dec - 26th Dec)

See
holidaylettings.co.uk


Where: Perthshire, Scotland

Tirinie Cottage is a stone cottage at the head of a spectacular glen in Central Scotland.

Bring plenty of supplies!

Sleeps
: 6

Price
: £505 p/w (19th Dec - 26th Dec)

See
unique-cottages.co.uk


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Christmas Getaways: Holiday overseas this festive season
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