Christmas is a great time to cosy up at home and spend quality time with family. Traveling during the holidays can be a magical experience, however it is expensive, can be complicated and frankly, it just isn’t safe this year. Fortunately, it is possible to have virtual travel experiences from the comforts of your home. Save money, stay safe and enjoy the holidays via virtual events and getaways.
The Nutcracker – $25
Going to the ballet to enjoy The Nutcracker has become a popular Christmas tradition by families all over the world. Nutcrackers are originally made in Germany and according to folklore, they were given as keepsakes to bring good luck to families and their home.
This year, you can enjoy a virtual performance of The Nutcracker by the New York City Ballet and Marquee TV.
For just $25 per household, you can rent the 120-minute dance performance of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. With music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, choreography by George Balanchine, scenery by Rouben Ter-Artunian, costumes by Karinska and lighting by Mark Stanley, this performance from 2019 is like nothing you’ve ever seen.
You can watch the performance from December 10th until January 3rd.
Virtual Christmas Markets – Free
In many European countries, Christmas is synonymous with Christmas markets. These draw visitors from all over the world and are the highlight of cold winter months in many cities.
This year, many countries have canceled their markets for safety reasons. Fortunately, it is still possible to enjoy them virtually without leaving your home.
The Charlottenburg Palace Christmas Market is an incredibly popular tourist attraction. This market normally has over 250 vendors that display and sell nostalgic Christmas crafts and sell German sweets.
These markets draw tourists as well as locals and are incredibly popular among children. Today you can enjoy a virtual experience including a 360-degree image that can be viewed through VR glasses.
You can also enjoy a 360-degree video of Christmasy London here.
Mulled Wine Tasting – Cost Varies
Virtual wine tastings are all the rage in 2020. Vineyards all over the world have been organising online events to get people together and talking about wine.
There are a range of such events, some paid and others free. You can either order the wine that will be featured in the tasting, or buy your own. Since it’s winter, consider a mulled wine tasting with your friends and family.
You can learn to make your own mulled wine on YouTube. Mulled wine is also known as spiced wine and is a beverage commonly consumed around Christmas time in Europe.
It is usually served at Christmas markets and is usually alcoholic although it can also be nonalcoholic as well. Traditionally, it is served hot and made with red wine along with various mulling spices and sometimes raisins.
Zoom with Santa – Cost Varies
This year we have all gotten acquainted with Zoom, a video chat programme that has allowed billions of people to work and learn remotely.
Santa is also tech-savvy this year and can meet with you and your children via a Zoom call.
There are various virtual Santa events where you can speak with Santa, ask him questions and even record the call to replay in the future.
There are various virtual Santa and Elf events to pick from that offer different opportunities and have varying costs. The great thing about these events, is that you can do them from home and avoid long stressful lines.
An additional bonus is that you and your child can spend a longer time talking to Santa or his elfs for a more immersive experience that can be recorded to relive for years to come.
Glastonbury Street & Musical Comedy Society – Free
The Glastonbury Street & Music Comedy Society has over 100 years of experience entertaining audiences with their award-winning musicals and pantomimes.
From December 2nd until December 30th 2020, you can enjoy some amazing performances by them, free of charge on YouTube. These include Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Jack and the Beanstalk and Goldilocks and the Three Amazing Bears.
While these shows are available for free, donations are welcome to help support the artists and society during these tough times.
The great thing about the shows being available on YouTube is that you can watch them whenever you want. Snuggle up with some hot chocolate and enjoy the show with your family and friends.
You can even watch these with people who are far away by coordinating a time to press play.
Virtual Christmas Light Displays In The U.S. – Free
A popular Christmas time activity is going to tree lightings either locally or traveling to your favourite city.
This year, you can spend an entire day enjoying tree lightings from all over the USA without getting up from your sofa. Enjoy the following lightings free of charge:
- Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting
- Macy’s Santaland, NYC
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- Window Wonderland, NYC
- Washington DC
- Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tennessee
- Fort Worth Parade Of Lights, Texas
- The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
- Ogden’s Christmas Village
Even though we are in the middle of a pandemic, Christmas isn’t canceled. There are many ways to enjoy the holidays virtually from the comforts of your home.
Enjoy Zoom with Santa, virtual wine tasting, 360-degree Christmas Markets, YouTube performances and tree lightings. We are connected virtually like never before and have the opportunities to travel and experience the world affordably without hopping on a plane.
Photos: Shutterstock / Photomontage: Martina Advaney
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Here’s how you can make it feel festive too:
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