Talk of Christmas already?!? Before you think we've gone all Argos on you, the majority of great festive season holiday spots do get booked up well in advance and as travel guardian angels we naturally only want the best for you. So, if the thought of doing one of Nigella's coke soaked hams (now, now) is not on the agenda this year then why not think about jetting off to pastures new? Whether you want to embrace yuletide traditions or get away from them, here's a little selection for you.
Welcome to the culture club. Antigua city in Guatemala (although Antigua in the Caribbean is none too shabby either) is a great option for culture, epic scenery and wildlife. Oh, and it combines well with the beach in Belize. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is surrounded by dramatic volcanoes and is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in the Americas. Explore its cobbled streets to discover dramatic ruins of churches destroyed by earthquakes, and new Baroque-style Spanish architecture set against a backdrop of stunning natural beauty. There are a handful of boutique hotels in the region and we love El Convento, located opposite the 18th Century Capuchin convent and a perfect Christmas getaway option as it is cosy, with only 20 bedrooms, large open fires and home cooked food.
Christmas in Cambodia has a nice ring to it. With the temperature being wonderfully warm, Cambodia is particularly popular at this time of year. It's a magical country, with beautiful sights, friendly people and downright scrumptious food. The southern coast, all white sandy beaches and clear blue waters, is less discovered than the rest of the country, so well worth a trip. If the family are in tow then the secluded paradise of Song Saa will not disappoint, and children can be entertained with cookery lessons and much more. A jaunt to the coast can easily be combined with a visit to the miraculous lost city of Angkor Wat - the perfect recipe for a successful Christmas getaway destination.
If a festive fix is what you are after, the Danes do it pretty well. They don't do gaudy OTT decorations and traditions - things are kept simple and cosy. Copenhagen in particular is especially festive at this time of year with great cafes and restaurants luring you in with their wholesome meals and Nordic specialities (and a whole heap of festive boozes). The highlight of a trip to Copenhagen is Tivoli, which has a tasteful Christmas market, ice rink, food stalls and a funfair that children (of all ages) will adore.
Swap your Santa hat for a sombrero and get ready for a salsa remix of jingle bells. The southern tip of Mexico's Baja Peninsula es muy bien para natal; warmth in winter is oh so very evident here, as are diving opportunities and, if you're really eagle-eyed, you might even spot the odd Hollywood star. There is no shortage of great places to stay; our top pick is Esperanza, a beach resort just four miles from Cabo San Lucas, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez. With its own private sandy beach and casitas that overlook the ocean, this is the perfect couple's retreat for a Christmas getaway.
A bit of merriment in Miami is surely a contender and if it's good enough for Will Smith it's good enough for us. The temperature is hotter than the UK (which I know isn't too hard), so there's reason one. There is a food revolution going on here that will whet any appetite - reason two. Reason three (as if one is needed), instead of getting caught up in the M&S Christmas crowds, feel like a celebrity on Miami's first class beaches with urban vibes and chic cocktail bars. As for places to stay, Metropolitan by Como only opened this year and is totes trending, as Millie Mackintosh might have said.
Those seeking sun on their Christmas getaway alike will enjoy replacing white snow with pristine white sand and just kicking back and relaxing on one of the many Maldivian islands. The Maldives is like that reliable little black dress that will make a snug fit for any occasion, and with stunning hotels always cropping up, there are plenty of great place to choose from. Having spent Christmas at Coco Palm myself, my highlight was not missing out on Christmas day grub - here you can have turkey with all the trimmings, and by trimmings I mean every nationality's regional dish known to mankind, including a gingerbread house, grilled seabass and a butter chicken curry. Plus Father Christmas comes ashore by speedboat - enough said.
New Zealand is an ideal Christmas getaway for any contrarian. It is the height of summer at this time of year, so it's all about outdoor activities and a good old barbecue. Kaikoura is particularly stunning with its crystal clear waters, rainforest and one of the most biodiverse marine environments in the world - think whales, dolphins and seals galore. Claremont Country Estate is a seven bedroom luxury property, which will provide a home away from home feel during your trip, and if you're worried about missing a good old Christmas roast, the staff are always happy to assist with what whatever will make your holiday the most enjoyable yet. The winter wonderland will not quite exist in New Zealand at this time of year - it being summer and all - but you can helicopter up to glaciers to get your snow fix for your Christmas holiday. The snow here is even more guaranteed than it is in the UK!
Winter is a good time to visit Cape Town and the Eastern Cape as it is the beginning of their summer, so the weather will be beautiful, sunny and dry, but this is one of the most popular (and expensive) seasonal routes anywhere in the world so get booking now. Explore Cape Town, take in the Winelands and lie on the beach of the Eastern Cape. South Africa is great for those looking to escape typical Christmas traditions with a good old South African Braai (in other words barbecue - if you have a moment there is a hilarious video about them on YouTube), with Turkey or crayfish, or both, and lots of fabulous wine. Sold. There is also a great portfolio of places to stay, including the likes of Birkenhead House and Bablystoren.
Having had their years on the backburner (otherwise known as the Soviet era), Christmas is well and truly back in fashion in Estonia. The market on Tallinn's Reekoja Square, which only started in 2001, has quickly become one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, helped in large part by the fact that the Old Town looks ridiculously pretty covered in snow. Whilst Estonian festive specialities might not be to everyone's taste - blood pudding and head cheese - the hand-crafted toys and decorations surely would be. As it's Christmas treat yourself to the Elemis Spa at the Hotel Telegraaf, which is an elegantly restored 19th century historic building right in the medieval city centre, and as with most places it is even more enchanting in winter.
Who needs reindeers when you can have lions? Tanzania is probably not ideal for anyone wanting a white Christmas; the climate will be hot and sunny and the game will be in its prime as the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti starts in earnest. Be sure to stay at the Serengeti Safari Camp, a mobile safari camp that moves with the migration (don't worry it doesn't actually move during your stay). The good safari and warm weather make for a perfect bush and beach combo with that classic, Zanzibar.
If you're dreaming of a white Christmas, then this Canadian gem might just do the trick. Whistler is one of British Columbia's leading winter resorts and is a perfect ski destination for beginners and families. There is a lot to do including sleigh rides (to get you in the festive spirit), snowshoeing, dog-sledding and even zip lining. Also worth noting, their après ski is something to behold. In terms of where to stay, we are pretty fond of the Four Seasons, which is perfectly positioned at the base of Blackcomb Mountain. The Spa is worth retreating to after a long day's skiing and they do special Christmas Eve and day dinners - bliss.