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Looking to get away this Christmas? While holidays at home may have their own special appeal, heading out of town to celebrate the festive season can be an unforgettable time for you and your family. Have time to stay on till New Years? Read on for tips to keep the festivities going a little longer.
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1. Vienna, Austria

If you're looking for an old-fashioned Christmas, Vienna should be the top of your list. With authentic Christmas markets around every corner⎯selling gingerbread, cooking up grilled sausages, serving warm gluhwein (mulled wine), and singing carols⎯you become immersed in the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the holidays. And with light snowfall typically dusting the rooftops and cobblestone streets, you might just feel like you stepped into a snow globe (which, incidentally, was patented here). Don't miss a Vienna boys choir concert to make your stay truly special.

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2. Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

Rovaniemi may arguably be the best place in the world to celebrate Christmas. Just north of the Arctic Circle, the town⎯dubbed as the official hometown of Santa Claus⎯features husky dog rides, tobogganing and reindeer safaris at Christmastime. If you're travelling with kids, they can make cookies with Mrs. Claus and even enroll in Elf School! Take in the northern lights and stay in the Arctic Snow Hotel (made entirely of snow and ice) to make the most of a Christmas you simply will never forget.

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3. Strasbourg, France

Here in Northern France, a series of themed Christmas villages transform the city into a wonderland of holiday sights, sounds, smells and eats. Enjoy their spectacular Christmas program that's filled with concerts and all types of cultural events throughout the month of December.

And, if you care to extend your holidays in France, Paris is a 2 ½ hour train ride away and considered one of the best places in the world to celebrate New Years Eve. From a midnight meal in the Eiffel Tower, a light show at the Champs-Élysées, or a party on the steps of Sacré Coeur (not to mention the countless bars and clubs you can head to after midnight if you're so inclined), there are some pretty spectacular ways to ring in the New Year in France's capital.

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4. New York City

There is so much to see and do in New York City at Christmastime. Great for adults and kids alike, there is something for everyone, including seeing the Rockettes perform their Radio City Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, taking a carriage ride around Central Park, gazing up at the gigantic tree at Rockefeller Center, discovering off-the-beaten-path Christmas markets, and taking in the decorations throughout the city – especially the dynamic store windows that put on various light displays once the sun sets.

And if you can extend your stay? Venues across the city pull out all the stops at New Years Eve. See a show at the Lincoln Center, a concert in one of the city's grand cathedrals, or head to the Brooklyn waterfront for music and a party. For (relatively) off-the-beaten-path celebrations, check out fireworks at some of the city's best parks, or indulge at some of the best restaurants and clubs in the world. Looking for some touristy fun? Head to Times Square as the ball drops!

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5. Honolulu, Hawaii

While Hawaii might not immediately come to mind as a top Christmas destination, it's a great place to go if you're seeking warmth and sunshine over the holidays. Because sometimes, sand is going to beat out snow on your list of vacation priorities.

But in Honolulu, you're certainly not compromising on the Christmas spirit for the sake of hanging out in your flip flops. “Honolulu City Lights" is a huge holiday spectacle put on by the City & County of Honolulu and features a 50-foot Norfolk pine Christmas tree, elaborate wreath exhibits, giant Yuletide displays and live entertainment. Plus, there's skating, concert and musicals leading up to the big day. And for a truly unique Hawaiian twist, watch as Santa arrives by outrigger canoe to kick off the celebrations!

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6. Quebec City, Canada

Starting in late November, old Quebec City is transformed into a real Christmas village, right out of a storybook. With lots of activities for the kids, an authentic German Christmas market, concerts, masses and shows, Quebec city is an ideal destination for those seeking old-world charm closer to home.

And if you've been to Quebec in the winter, you'll know that it's almost always snowing in December, so you're sure to enjoy a white Christmas. Stay till New Years Eve and party in the street, or (in typical Canadian style) on a heated rooftop patio!

Tip: Not travelling far to get here? With your RBC Avion Visa card, you can use your points to redeem for hotels.

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7. Orlando, Florida

Whether you've got young kids, teens or simply love the magic of Disney as adults, there's nothing quite like Christmas at Disney World in Orlando. From light shows and special effects at Hollywood Studios, to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic

Kingdom (with fireworks, parades and concerts), to traditional celebrations from around the world at Epcot Center, there are so many ways to get festive at the Disney parks. For an experience your older kids and teens are sure to love, you can also go behind the scenes to see how the parks take on the transformation to Christmas.

And if you can stay a little longer, there are some great options for ringing in the New Year⎯with special dining, dancing and fireworks events. Choose from adults-only to family-friendly celebrations to make the night one to remember.

Travelling without the kids? Check out our piece on Disney Without the Kids for some great ideas.

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8. Bruges, Belgium

In this medieval Belgian town with cobblestone streets and winding canals, you might just think that Bruges was made to host Christmas. The centre square is transformed into a still-life Christmas parade all winter long, with a Christmas market that nestles around one of the prettiest ice rinks in the world. Take in the snowy backdrop of medieval buildings while sipping on gluwhein or diving into a sausage or waffle (or maybe both!).

The snow and ice sculpture festival lasts until New Years, as does the festive spirit of this small European town that's right out of a fairytale.

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9. Grindlewald, Switzerland

For the scenery alone, the village of Grindelwald earns top marks as a Christmas vacation destination. Sitting at the foot of two dramatic peaks of the Swiss Alps, it's almost too picturesque to imagine. Ideal if you're in the mood for a quiet Christmas, Grindlewald offers up charm and tradition by the sack full, as decorations line the streets and massive Christmas trees greet you at every corner. Truly a snow-covered winter wonderland, Grindlewald is a gateway to premier skiing for activity seekers, and a place to chill out with mulled wine at festive markets for those who prefer to experience the mountains from the comfort of town.

And for a quiet mountain village, New Year's Eve is quite the event in Grindelwald! In fact, the roads shut down, locals take to the streets and quite literally ring in the new year by going from bar to bar with their cowbells. At the stroke of midnight, the village ushers in the New Year with spectacular fireworks.

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10. Bethlehem, West Bank

For those looking to get back to the origins of Christmas, nothing compares to a pilgrimage to Jesus' birthplace. Experience the energy on Manger Square and in the Old City throughout the Christmas season, which stretches out for a while as different denominations celebrate on different days.

Truly unique to Bethlehem and its standing as the Holy Land, the city hosts many services and processions led by different Christian denominations, including Catholic, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Ethiopian, Armenian and more. For a blend of modern and ancient celebration, you can also take part familiar festivities typical of North American or European culture (carols, markets, lights) in a city that welcomes everyone for this sacred day.

The place to be as the clock strikes midnight is St Catherine's Church for the Midnight Mass service, which is a beautiful, traditional and certainly unforgettable celebration of peace and joy.

Wherever your Christmas travels take you, an RBC Avion Visa card can help you get there. With no blackout periods or seat restrictions, booking travel over the holidays is a breeze⎯whether you're going solo, as a couple, or taking the whole family along.