Photo credit: iStock

Christmas shopping season is here and from now until the big day, stores will be filled with hundreds of people all scrambling to find the perfect gift. For some, the experience is a stress-filled one done under duress, whereas for others Christmas shopping can actually be fun and enjoyable. Whether you love or hate it, location certainly helps so here are a few of the best shopping destinations for the festive season.

1. New York

You can’t have a list about the best Christmas shopping spots without mentioning New York. At Christmas the city comes alive like nowhere else, with lights decorating every corner and shop windows transformed into dream-like wonderlands. The excitement is also palpable and as you walk the avenues you can’t help but feel like you’re in Miracle on 34th Street. While New York has plenty to offer on its own, Christmas shopping is a huge part of the magic.

The best time to head over is the first week of December following Black Friday: The sales are still great but the chaos has subsided. If you want high street or designer goods, head to 5th Avenue. Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s are also iconic stores you have to visit and they both have great sales and offers at the beginning of December. For more traditional Christmas goods or handmade pieces, Bryant Park has a series of craft stalls set up next to the ice rink. Alternatively, head out to Greenwich Village or Brooklyn for more one-off stores. Travel to New York with our US multi centre holiday section.

2. Hanoi

If you’re heading to Asia, Hanoi is a great city for Christmas shopping. Not only can you pick up local wares in the Old Quarter, if you head out to Vincom Mega Mall in Royal City there are more shops than you could ever want. This isn’t the only shopping centre in the city but it’s certainly the most grand.

When in Hanoi what you have to realise is that going to the shopping centre is a day out. Everyone is excited and people go for food or the cinema. There’s even an ice rink in the Vincom Mega Mall. Consequently, you really feel like something special is happening when you’re there.

The bad news is that the mall is busy – which goes for the rest of Hanoi – so be prepared for crowds. The good news is that Christmas isn’t a public holiday in Vietnam so it won’t be any busier than usual. This being said, in Hanoi locals do acknowledge the festive period and the streets are decorated with Noel patterns. Some places will even have a Christmas tree and in Hang Ma Street you can buy Christmas ornaments and trinkets from the stalls.

Photo credit: iStock3. Munich

This historic city boasts one of the best Christmas markets in the world, which is sure to get you in the mood for the festive season and allow you to pick up some yuletide goods. It’s also a thriving city with lots of great shops. If you’re at the Christmas market in Marienplatz there are lots of high street stores surrounding the square, including Ludwig Beck, which is one of Munich’s biggest department stores. There’s also Bijou Brigitte, which is a jewellery store that is the ideal spot to purchase trinkets for someone special.

4. London

The UK’s capital is always up there when you talk about the best places for Christmas shopping. From Oxford Street and Bond Street to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland and the city’s various Christmas markets (South Bank has a great one and nearby there’s even an annual food festival), there’s lots to see and do.

As with any big city, the closer you get to December 25th, the busier it gets, so it’s best to book your trip as early as possible. Making a weekend of it is also a good idea, so you can kick-back, take in a show and sample some of the festive delights the city has to offer.

To experience London in all its glory, you also need to be there when it gets dark so you can see the Christmas lights. Regent Street is renowned for its lights and the big Christmas tree, with its long proud history, is located in Trafalgar Square – just an 11 minute walk away.

A favourite during the festive season is Covent Garden, with its small quaint stores and beautifully decorated streets.

5. Marrakesh

More and more people are choosing to head to Marrakesh for a Christmas break, thanks in part to its proximity to ski resorts and snow capped mountains. You can spend a few days in the city exploring the souks, before heading out to the Atlas Mountains at Oukaimden, which even has mulled wine available for that special festive feeling. While you won’t get that Christmas vibe in the city, you will be able to pick up exotic wares that will delight loved ones.

Nadine Brown Company Director

Nadine is one of the directors of eShores. She left school at 16 and went straight in to a travel agency. Over the 30+ years she has worked in various sectors of the industry and has also worked as an overseas representative in both summer and ski resorts. She has also travelled to many countries from Europe to the Far East and USA.