Fijians celebrate Christmas with a huge lovo feast (cooked underground) and plates full of palusami (spiced mutton wrapped in taro leaves and cooked in coconut cream). Yummy!
It’s full-on Fiji family time and the locals are more than happy to include Australian holiday-makers in their celebrations.
Thailand, in contrast, doesn’t celebrate Christmas as a traditional feast at all (85 per cent of people are Buddhist, 14 per cent are Muslim), but that doesn’t mean it’s not the perfect place to holiday this Christmas. The weather is great, with an average temperature a pleasant 27 degrees. All the shops are open, and the beaches are among the best in the world.
The holiday season is a great time to travel. Granted, it can be busy, but that’s when the specialists at Hoot Holidays work their magic to get travellers the best deals, the best seats on planes, and deliver all-inclusive packages, but, book early for 2020 to avoid any peak-time surprises.
Being overseas at Christmas and New Year means you can avoid those awkward family gatherings and replace them with golden sunsets in Hawaii or long, indulgent massages in Bali.
It is also a good idea to embrace local tradition and for young children to learn about how Christmas is celebrated in other countries.
The highlight of Christmas in Hoi An, Vietnam, is to spend time with your family counting the thousands of lanterns that light up Thu Bon River. It is a stunning, and colourful, sight during the festive period. Start Christmas morning with a late breakfast at the Hoi An Silk Marina Resort and Spa before taking a stroll along An Bang Beach to work up an appetite for a Vietnamese feast at lunch.
In Thailand, you are spoilt for choice. You might choose to start with a relaxing beach holiday at the Le Meridien Khao Lak Resort and Spa before booking a four-night shopping extravaganza staying at Siam@Siam Design Hotel in Bangkok. While Bangkok may not celebrate Christmas (it is likely you will see only a few festive trees), it does party hard for New Year with most hotels planning legendary functions to celebrate the arrival of 2020. If you head down to CentralWorld Square you will witness an amazing fireworks display to welcome the New Year.
If you want to super-charge this festive season, then why not head to Las Vegas, in the heart of Nevada’s Mojave Desert. Las Vegas is a city that’s known for excess. And when it comes to Christmas/New Year no other city can match its bright lights. Famous for fancy hotels like The Tropicana, The Cosmopolitan, Planet Hollywood and Caesars Palace, Las Vegas is full of jaw-dropping clubs, restaurants, shopping malls and live shows. This year if you are lucky enough to get a ticket, you could see shows featuring Third Eye Blind, Journey, Christina Aguilera or David Copperfield.
If you want something with a little less bling, head to Hawaii where you have a choice of four very different islands. Book four nights at the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort and wake to stunning views of one of the world’s most famous beaches, Waikiki.
It’s probably the only place on earth where Santa wears an aloha shirt, swaying along as the locals play the ukulele and serenade you with carols in their native Hawaiian language.
Make your Christmas amazing and call Hoot Holidays.