Great Christmas Shopping Destinations for 2016 – words Alexa Wang
Christmas is on its way and our thoughts turn to the season of goodwill and of course shopping. One way to bring more excitement to your seasonal spending spree is to fly to the world’s most loved Christmas shopping destinations.
This way, you get to experience some of the most glorious skylines, landmarks and shopping high streets all in one trip. It’s becoming increasingly popular and affordable to fly using a private jet charter service as they are so convenient. Of course, it’s important to get your destinations right so here’s a guide to some of our favourite haunts where you can combine sightseeing with some genuinely exclusive Christmas shopping.
Yes, I know Milan is traditionally seen as the place to go Christmas shopping in Italy but Rome has so much to offer. Imagine the atmosphere in the eternal city at this time of year. The narrow winding streets of the historic centre are illuminated with strings of lights and towering Christmas trees in all its historic squares. All the luxury boutiques are here so you can lay your hands on all those much sought after goods, as well as take in the sights of the city. In the area known as Monti you can find smaller boutiques and rewarding vintage shops. During the festive season the famous Piazza Novona becomes a Christmas market with music and lots of festive fare.
Edinburgh is a dramatic and beautiful city whichever season you visit, but with Christmas this city really comes alive. The Royal Mile is bejewelled in coloured lights and the centre of the city is turned into a winter wonderland complete with ice rink, fairground and breath-taking views culminating in a stunning firework display. There are the department stores such as the renowned Jenner’s, alongside fascinating independent hand crafts and antique stores in the city’s historic streets that set the city apart. You will also find hand painted gifts at the Nutcracker Christmas store.
Paris must be one of the greatest places to shop all year around and Christmas just adds to the intoxicating experience. Lights are festooned all along the Champs Elysées and the city comes alive with music, colour, markets and pop up shops. Of course, the famous fashion boutiques are all here with many French luxury labels exuding their air of quiet confidence. All the larger department stores such as the glorious Galeries Lafayette try to outdo each other with their fabulous Christmas window displays. Furthermore as a bonus, you have the opportunity to behold the things Paris is famous for; the Eifel Tower, the food and atmosphere, all adding up to a bewitching location for that all important Christmas shop.
Christmas has to be one of the best times of year to visit New York. It’s cold and can snow heavily but it looks so graceful in a chilly fog with the skyscrapers looming overhead. If you are shopping for those glamourous presents then Fifth Street is one of the most famous shopping streets in the world as the stores fall over themselves to compete for the best window display. Saks Fifth Avenue is a treasure trove and a luxury shoppers dream with its legendary cosmetics section and high end goods. Henri Bendel was founded in 1895 and is a Manhattan institution. Here you will find the world’s top fashion designers rubbing shoulders with some of the best up and coming labels. Then there is Tiffany the iconic jewellers for those with a large bank balance and who love to sparkle. Just a short stroll way from all this luxury in areas such as Nolita, you will find some of the finest bohemian boutiques selling handcrafted items and fashion by more leftfield designers. So you can have it all in the city that never sleeps.
What can I say about Christmas in London? I might be biased but the history, famous squares and landmarks mingling with Christmas lights and some of the finest and most famous stores in the world add up to an intoxicating experience during the festive season. It can be overwhelming so we advise taking a break; visit a museum, café or gallery to break up the shopping experience and calm it all down to gather your thoughts. I always head to Liberty, the famous West End store built using timbers salvaged from two galleons. Its Christmas window is of course world renowned and waited for with anticipation by tourists and Londoners alike. Inside you find an Aladdin’s cave of mesmerising items from around the world. Then of course there is Harrods with its unabashed luxury goods and decor that will take your breath away.
There are of course infinite leftfield boutiques too, and it’s great to get away from the centre into areas such as Hackney and Shoreditch if you’re looking for a more independent, bohemian “hipster” shopping experience.