Christmas shopping can be stressful, and if like an increasing number of people you decide to do a bit of that Christmas shopping abroad then you are adding on a whole new dimension. But it should be a wonderful experience as you soak up the festive atmosphere of other cultures. So rather than panicking about last minute rushes to the bureau de change or handling unfamiliar bank notes in an extremely busy department store, take a card with prepaid currency so that you can relax and enjoy Christmas shopping favourites like the following.
Granted New York is amazing at any time of year, but there’s something extra special about it in the run up to Christmas. Perhaps you’ll time your visit to coincide with Thanksgiving Day at the end of November – then you’d catch the world famous Macy’s Parade, where giant balloons and intricate floats proceed from Central Park to the department store on Herald Square. Speaking of department stores, the world is your oyster – to begin with there is Macy’s itself, and Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue are just two more names in a stellar line-up. Inside each you’ll see Christmas shopping just like it is in the movies – glamourous assistants carefully gift wrapping purchases against a backdrop of ornate architectural features complemented by elegant seasonal decorations. In the toy stores like FAO Schwarz meanwhile you’ll feel like a big kid again.
Germany is famous for its festive markets, and the undoubted capital of Christmas commerce has to be the historic city of Cologne. What’s particularly amazing is that there are a number of different markets in the city, each with their own unique character. At the Cathedral Christmas Market, Cologne’s twin spired landmark provides the backdrop to 160 attractively designed wooden pavilions selling everything from wood carvings to soaps. The Harbour Christmas market overlooks the mighty River Rhine and as the name would suggest, it has something of a maritime theme – there’s even a 15 metre three-mast boat serving mulled wine from its hull. Others include the Market of Fairy Tales and the Gay and Lesbian Christmas Market, plus there are many other features like ice rinks and nativity scenes to enjoy.
Some Christmas shoppers might simply want to get the shopping done and keep the festivities until the big day itself. If you are looking for choice and value, but not too fussed about giant candy canes and Santa Clauses at every corner, then Dubai might be the place for you. The Emirate has many shopping malls and The Dubai Mall is billed as the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destination. You will find every brand imaginable there – from Early Learning Centre to Ermenegildo Zegna. The added bonus about a Christmas shopping trip to Dubai is that it provides an escape from the winter climate of home.
Wherever you choose to make a dent in your Christmas list, make sure you do it with a little helper – a Caxton FX currency card.