“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” so goes the song and, for the increasing number of families escaping the grey and drizzle for the sun and sizzle, all the better for it.

Who wouldn’t rather swap the stress, obligation and cooking duties for a thoroughly chilled out ‘Cool Yule’, even if you only do it once?

If you haven’t yet experienced a Christmas abroad (trust us – it’s the gift that keeps on giving for the whole family!) take a look at our handy hints to make sure your festive season goes off like the proverbial cracker.

Family holidays at Christmas

Top Tips for successful family Christmas breaks abroad

  1. If you’re travelling to a destination where Christmas is not celebrated locally, manage your children’s expectations. Lots of hotels in Asia, for example, might have some token decorations and a gala dinner, but that’s about it.
  2. Do pack a stocking (although you can always pad out treats from home with locally bought knick-knacks). It might mean a bit of extra luggage but Father Christmas has to come calling, wherever in the world you are. Or at least that’s been our own experience of family holidays at Christmas
  3. Take some good old fashioned paper chain strips to make and decorate your hotel rooms with. It keeps kids occupied, weighs nothing and you can throw away afterwards (the hotel may even be able to recycle them for you).
  4. The most popular family Christmas destinations are those which blend activities with some much-needed downtime. Beaches are perennially popular which is why, out of the 20 plus destinations Stubborn Mule offers, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka and Mexico top Santa’s List.
  5. Prepare your kids for the fact that Christmas dinner is going to be a local version of a special meal. Turkey and roast potatoes are out. Chicken stir fry and barbecued fish are in.
  6. For smaller children or kids at heart, stuff a small inflatable Christmas tree into your luggage. They pack away small but are a big token nod to a traditional Christmas.
  7. Think about where you’ll be on Christmas Day. You won’t want to be travelling, for example. Stubborn Mule tries to ensure Christmas morning is free for opening stockings and a leisurely breakfast, whilst arranging something exciting for the afternoon – white water rafting, zip-lining, visiting sites of interest. If you want to do something REALLY special, say a private sunset yacht cruise or a hot air balloon, give us plenty of notice so that we can arrange this.
Family holidays at Christmas - Stockings at the beach

Father Christmas at the beach

Most popular destinations for a family Christmas break abroad

For the best places to go for Christmas and New Year, or advice on when to book, check out our family Christmas holidays blog. And, for a view of year-round options, see our handy guide, Around the World in Six School Holidays.

On behalf of all at Stubborn Mule, we hope your family has a wonderful time!

Liddy Pleasants, MD Stubborn Mule Travel
If you have some top tips for family holidays at Christmas please do email me with your feedback and we’ll add your ideas to our blog  [email protected].
Belize family holiday photo of parents and kids on beach in Belize with blue water and sky - Christmas family breaks

Sun, sand and family togetherness at Christmas, what’s not to love…