Coptic Christmas (January 7) mass at Bet Medhane Alem - the largest monolithic church in the world - is an occasion on which hundreds of priests in white turbans, adorned with red sashes and gold scarves chant, sway, and pray, surrounded by trenches flooded with some 50,000 worshipers, for whom this is a sacred place of pilgrimage.
If you can manage to extend your Christmas holiday until Three King's Day, (Jan. 6) there is no better place to catch up with Melchior, Gaspar and Balthasar than Barcelona. On the evening of Jan. 5, they arrive at the city's port on the the Santa Eulàlia -- their very own ship -- in bearded and velvet robed splendor.
Canons are fired, fireworks are set off, and as the mayor hands them the keys to the city, the magic of the Magi officially commences. They parade through the streets in a magnificent cavalcade of floats which includes camels, elephants, giraffes, and dazzling costumes
Though spending Christmas on a beach may sound like bliss, sipping an endless supply of cocktails in the sand may soon feel like it's lacking in holiday spirit.
A trip to the Philippines lets you have it all. Known as the country with "the longest Christmas season in the world," Filipinos get the Christmas festivities rolling in September, and extend them well through January.
As the only Asian country with a predominantly Christian population, its cities and islands are festooned with nativities, lantern parades, and Christmas bazaars.
While the Chocolate Hills of Bohol or the beaches of Boracay may prove a more relaxing option, spend at least a day in the capital, where this December, the Manila Hotel is turning its Grand Lobby into a fairytale worthy of Clara and Fritz.
Soak up your share of sugar plum fairies, gingerbread clocks and weekend performances of The Nutcracker by Prima Ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, before escaping to the sun.
Queenstown, New Zealand
The traditional Christmas colors of red, green and white take on an entirely new meaning in New Zealand, where red represents the "pohutukawa" (New Zealand's ruby-red flowering Christmas tree), white represents the pristine sandy beaches, and green? The kiwi, of course! Sun-lovers who want to join Santa in his surf shorts should definitely head to Queenstown, where warm summer temperatures mean you can jetboat, river surf, or paraglide on Lake Wakatipu, or simply set up camp along the lakefront and enjoy a hearty Christmas meal of lamb, seafood, and chicken on the barbie.