The holidays are fast approaching and with New York City shining bright, I’ve decided to highlight 5 cities I’ve visited during Christmas that know how to decorate right.

Cusco

By far the warmest destination, I spent some time traveling through South America just a few days after Christmas. Their seasons are opposite what I’m used to, so it was certainly a strange sensation to be sitting in the hot springs of Aguas Calientes in early January. Cusco decorated the Plaza del Armas with a beautiful Christmas tree and Nativity Scene. When I made my way to Aguas Calientes, I discovered a Christmas tree built out of recycled Sprite bottles. It is the most creative decoration I have seen in any destination.

Luxembourg

I spent a quiet day here in Luxembourg browsing the Christmas Market, drinking hot chocolate and eating crepes. Unfortunately it was sleeting this day, which made taking pictures a bit difficult. At one point my hands were so frozen that I had to run into the nearest café just to defrost for a few minutes. Once the weather improved, I was able to pick up a few Christmas gifts and practice my French with the locals. I found their decorations and sculptures quite interesting.

Paris

I spent a few days in Paris right before Christmas 2010. In fact, due to a frozen track, I almost didn’t make it back to London via the EuroStar, meaning I could have missed my flight home. Paris is beautifully decorated during the winter season ans since it was snowing at the time, it truly looked like a Winter Wonderland. The Lights along the Champs Elysees are absolutely stunning and give the city of lights even more shine. Houses are often decorated with Christmas cheer, including this house in the Latin Quarter.

London

Also in December 2010, I spent about a week in London visiting friends that I met during my semester abroad in spring 2008. The city was cold but the festive decorations hung throughout the shopping districts definitely warmed up the rainy city. Top on my list was the Harrods Wizard of Oz themed window displays. I spent more time taking pictures outside the building than I did inside shopping for gifts. Oxford Street and other popular shopping districts also do a great job decorating the neighborhood.

New York

A resident of New York City, of course this city that never sleeps is going to make it on my list. My favorite decorations here include the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center, the street lights along Columbus Avenue and all the ice-skating rinks scattered throughout the city. One thing I can’t help but find strange is the Santa at Grand Central. Seems a bit out of place to me but then again, I didn’t grow up in a city. Speaking of Santa, a popular event taking place yearly is Santacon which basically involves dressing up in your best Santa costume and drinking as heavily as possible.

Christmas in New York

 Image via echoroo‘s Flickr page