This blog post was updated on September 12, 2014.

Yes, it’s (pretty much) too late to travel somewhere this Christmas now, but you can dream, can’t you? And once you stop dreaming, you can start planning a trip for next year. End up at these places and you won’t be disappointed.

Rome, Italy

As the home of the Roman Catholic Church it’s no wonder the Italians go big on Christmas, and whether you’re religious or not, seeing Christmas in at St Peter’s Square is an unforgettable experience. Because it’s a popular destination, it’s chock-full, though, so book early, prepare to spend lots of time queuing to get into the sights and beware that your Christmas day will mainly be spent wandering – as everything will be closed.

Melbourne, Australia

For a totally different take on what Christmas should be. Sydney may be the obvious choice for a Christmas down under, but sassy Melbourne is fast emerging as a trendy alternative. Hit the shops and check out the tea rooms as your festive treat.

New York, New York

It’s an obvious one, but it’s obvious for a reason. Not only are there the Christmas decorations, the ice rinks and the trees in Manhattan, but if you step over to Brooklyn, you’ll find some of the most incredible light displays you’ll ever see in Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge. If they don’t get you feeling festive, there’s no hope for you.

Edinburgh, Scotland

London is beautiful in the depths of winter but it can’t match Edinburgh with its stern architecture, snow (this year, at least) and preparations for Hogmanay – the liveliest New Year’s festivities in the British Isles. If you’re crossing the Atlantic, go up north.

Barcelona, Spain

Christmas carries on longer in Spain than back home – in fact, the festivities don’t end, and the present-giving doesn’t stop, until January 6. So if you’re after a lively Christmas, you can’t beat Barcelona – restaurants and shops are open and the streets are buzzing. It’s the perfect anti-Christmas.

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