OK so some of you may massively disagree with me here. But I’m just going to come out with it. I think I enjoy winter holidays (a.k.a dreamy, snowy, mulled-wine fuelled festive getaways) more than spending a week in the blistering hot sunshine.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of warmth. And in the summer I do kind of worship the sunshine. I do also like to have a decent tan. Sitting by the pool reading a book whilst soaking up the sun’s warm rays is heavenly. But all those things aside, on the whole, I think winter holidays can be more ‘special’.
Plus, recently I’ve noticed that I tend to look forward to winter holidays a lot more. Maybe it’s because it’s so dark and dull in the UK during winter, and setting off on a snowy adventure or chilly city break is a welcomed distraction. The fact is, it often feels like you need a holiday more in the winter than you do in the summer. In the summer you’re often in generally better spirits, probs because of that nice dose of Vitamin D you’re getting. 38% of Brits surveyed by Halifax admit that the cold weather brings out a bad mood.
Winter breaks also give us something to look forward to – the short days can affect our natural biorhythms and our hormone balance, making some of us feel down or depressed. Dr Gill Jenkins.
Perhaps the best part of a festive winter break is, well, the festivities. As we start uttering the ‘C’ word (Christmas, obviously) towards the end of October, the excitement starts to set in. Something in the air changes. When you go on a winter holiday, it’s immediately made more special by the presence if Christmas lights and festive cheer.
And did I mention festive food? It’s the time of year where you don’t mind pilling on a few insulating pounds, and you don’t have to worry about getting out your beach body. Wherever you go during November and December, particularly in Europe, you’ll be treated to all sorts of winter dishes and festive foods. Think bratwurst, dumplings, mince pies, stollen cake and best of all, classic roast dinners by warm fires.
Picture this. You’re strolling around a quirky town or cool city, wrapped up warm in your snuggliest winter coat and mittens. You’ve got a cup of hot mulled wine in your hands and the warming aroma is so comforting. Then you spot a German sausage hut and see the sausages sizzling on the fryer and you immediately make a beeline to the stall. Then, with a bun in hand, you hear the sound of Christmas music and join a crowd of people swaying to an amaze Xmas song.
This is what a winter holiday has to offer. I’ll never forget when I was at a Christmas market in a square in Luzern, Switzerland and this band were playing all my fave Christmas songs – I couldn’t help but gleefully dance along wanting to stay in the moment forever.
Oh, and during winter hols you get do it like the Scandinavians do and get all Hygge. Sit by a warm open fire with a hot chocolate whilst listening to relaxing music and snuggling up in the softest of blankets. Ahhh, bliss.
Hygge – a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being. Oxford Dictionary
And another huge benefit of winter breaks? The snow. Pretty, fluffy white powdery stuff that falls from the skies and makes you feel like you’re in a real-life winter wonderland. If you choose to go to a destination where there’s a chance of snow, then the festive feels go through the roof.
Another ahhmaze memory of mine is when we climbed a (small) mountain in Switzerland on Christmas in search of snow. It wasn’t snowing on the ground, and we were determined to have a white Christmas, even for only a few moments. From our chalet balcony, we could literally see a line halfway up the mountains ahead of us. A line where the snow started.
So we took our huskies and trekked it up the mountain. We nearly gave up, but just before we did we stumbled upon a clearing where the snow was starting to fall. We called our relatives back home on video chat and wished them a merry Christmas with the snow falling in the background. It was magical.
This year we aren’t going too far for our winter break. Of course, there are many wonderful destinations in Europe where you can have a fab winter break. But Scotland is just on our doorstep, and boy is it stunning. Some of the scenes in the Scottish Highlands could rival that of Lapland or Norway. I kid you not.
We’ve booked stays at two different gorgeous cottages via Cottages and Castles. And we’re stopping off in Edinburgh on the way home. I’ll be posting a pre-trip blog post detailing all our plans and info on the places we’re staying shortly, so watch this space! And keep an eye out for the lowdown on our winter trip to Scotland upon my return. I can’t bloody wait! Here’s to another epic winter break!!!