Christmas is just around the corner, which for many Australians means a long, hot summer day spent beach side, complete with a seafood barbecue and plenty of ice in our drinks. However, some of us thinking about the holiday season are more likely to dream of a roaring fireplace, fluffy snow and mulled wine. Saint Nick wasn't available for consultation, but here's our top destination picks for those dreaming of a White Christmas.
For a White Christmas that's truly jolly, consider heading to Finland to visit the 'official' home of Santa Claus himself. Igloos are available for a truly unique accommodation experience and you can take part in a number of Christmas-themed activities. Kids can take a reindeer sleigh ride with the man in red, while the parents can enjoy the sights and tours tailored toward the adult audience.
When the snow falls in Montreal, it creates a wonderful wintery landscape. A Christmas without snow is rare here, so you will have a good chance of experiencing an 'authentic' winter celebration. One of the more unique experiences offered in Montreal choosing a tree. You can grab an axe and head down to one of the local pick-your-own-tree farms that allow you to select and chop down the perfect tree for your family.
Prague, Czech Republic
A popular choice for travellers around the world, Prague is an undeniable winter wonderland. It's perfect for celebrating with a partner. Just try the romantic boat tours or simply take a stroll under the snow and lights through the beautiful city at night. The Prague Christmas markets are also ranked among the best in Europe, so don't forget to visit the many stalls offering local nibbles and hand-crafted gifts for those back home.
If sticking to an English-speaking country is more your style, you can't go wrong with Scotland. During December, the city of Edinburgh is transformed into a spectacular and festive hub. In the heart of the city centre, the world-famous Christmas market attracts visitors of all ages to enjoy the Ferris wheel, ice skating rink and market - selling everything from mulled wine to haggis. Even if it doesn't snow, the crisp winter air makes it easy to grab a great view from the top of Holyrood Park. Head over early to enjoy the festival of lights and fireworks held on November 23 or stay late after Christmas to celebrate New Year's at the world-famous Hogmanay Festival.
For a stunning European adventure, head along to Norway for the month of December. Christmas is the perfect time of year to witness the dazzling Northern Lights in the sky above the city of Tromso. Norway is considered as one of the best places in the world to witness this stunning event, and the snow only makes the experience even more magical. Tromso could easily be mistaken as the imagined home of old Saint Nick himself, with traditional homes covered in snow and festive lights. The city is ideal for those wanting a quiet holiday with the family, as most stores shut down between December 24 and 26, leaving you to enjoy the season without distraction.
Chicago, United States
As Chicago was the filming location of Home Alone, Fred Claus, Surviving Christmas and the 1994 remake of Miracle on 54th Street, it is not difficult to imagine the city is a great place to spend the holidays. The Christkindlmarket is a real highlight here, inspired by the traditional markets held in Germany. Featuring all the German treats and traditions, including nutcrackers, authentic food and beer steins, Chicago can offer a top Christmas market in the comfort of a bustling metropolitan city.