Our photographers all around the world have very different ways of celebrating the holidays, from good ol’ fashioned Christmas markets to, uh, Santa in a canoe, they are sharing their favourite holiday traditions in their home cities.

Whether you’re planning a holiday trip this year or are planning to stay home with your loved ones, take some inspiration from our photographers’ favourite heartwarming holiday traditions to see how people celebrate the season around the world. What’s your favourite holiday tradition?

Flytographer Dana in Budapest

1. What is your favourite holiday tradition and why?

When I lived closer to home, my favourite tradition was simply getting together as a family and sharing a good meal, but more than the food, it was the conversation and time spent together that I really cherished. Now that I live a bit farther from home, I like to get together with friends and (no surprise here) also share good food! I really love exploring the Christmas markets with friends, too.

2. If you have friends or relatives visit over the holidays, what would you take them to go see or do during this time and why?

I would definitely take holiday visitors to Budapest’s Christmas markets. They are the perfect festive way to experience the city’s food and culture during the holiday season. You can sample local foods (may I suggest a chimney cake?), warm up over a mug of hot cider or mulled wine, browse local handmade goods, and enjoy the beautiful holiday lights and decorations!

3. Where is your favourite spot to soak up the celebrations and/or holiday lights in your destination and why?

I love the Christmas market at Vörösmarty tér because it’s so big and has so much to offer. Browsing all the food and handicrafts on display is such a great way to spend the day. However, the Christmas market at St. Stephen’s Basilica, though smaller, is special because it’s set up right in front of the gorgeous basilica building and has the most beautiful atmosphere because of that. Warming up with a (literal) soak in a thermal bath is also a favourite activity over the holidays!

Flytographer Natalie in Mauritius

1. What is your favourite holiday tradition and why?

We celebrate the festive season during our gorgeous summer months. For us, Christmas is all about hanging around the pool — not just the kids, but adults, too. When I was young, my dad didn’t swim with us often, but he always did on Christmas Day. So now, I like to make sure the adults all jump in the pool and act silly with the kids at some point during the day. We cook a turkey outside on the grill, but besides that, we enjoy a cold lunch so no one is stuck inside a hot kitchen. Watermelon cut into Christmas tree shapes and glasses of cold bubbly flow throughout the day.

2. If you have friends or relatives visit over the holidays, what would you take them to go see or do during this time and why?

As we are a mostly expat community, we nearly always have visiting grandparents and other relatives from various families who we completely embrace into our international “family” group. We take them out on the boat inside the reef where the water is clear, calm, and only waist-deep. The day is spent wallowing in the warm waters while the kids snorkel and jump off the boats. If there is a big crowd of us, we hire a Catamaran which sails us along the coast while we grill fish off the edge of the boat.

3. Where is your favourite spot to soak up the celebrations and/or holiday lights in your destination and why?

On New Year’s Eve, all the hotels let off the most incredible firework displays. We head down to the local beaches to watch the fireworks at the strike of midnight under the warm night sky.

Flytographer Gloria in Munich

1. What is your favourite holiday tradition and why?

Soaking up all the Christmas spirit at the Christmas markets! During December, all the meetups with family and friends happen at the festive markets!

2. If you have friends or relatives visit over the holidays, what would you take them to go see or do during this time and why?

Drive to the Alps to see all the snowy mountains! Neuschwanstein Castle covered in snow is an absolute must!

3. Where is your favourite spot to soak up the celebrations and/or holiday lights in your destination and why?

The Christmas market at the Residenz in Munich! It’s inside the court of the old castle!

Flytographer Wendy in Maui

1. What is your favourite holiday tradition and why?

My favourite — and newest — holiday tradition is going paddleboarding on Christmas Eve, followed by watching Santa arrive on the beach in his outrigger canoe!

2. If you have friends or relatives visit over the holidays, what would you take them to go see or do during this time and why?

We would go to the tree lighting ceremonies at Fairmont Kea Lani and Grand Wailea, enjoy hot chocolate on the Sugar Cane Train, grab a cocktail at the Grand Wailea Botero Lounge, and see Santa landing in his canoe (or his helicopter)!

3. Where is your favourite spot to soak up the celebrations and/or holiday lights in your destination and why?

It is so festive at Fairmont Kea Lani and Grand Wailea — from activities for the kids and the tree lighting ceremony to holiday lights throughout December, Santa, and much more!

Flytographer Emma in Florence

1. What is your favourite holiday tradition and why?

On January 6th, we celebrate a holiday in Italy called the Epiphany, when children are visited during the night by an ugly old lady called La Befana, who is dressed in rags and rides on a flying broomstick. La Befana comes through the chimney and fills children’s stockings with all sorts of sweets if they have been good during the year, and with coal if they have been naughty. It is a very old tradition — much older than Santa Claus — and I love it because it is a much more intimate celebration and reminds me of the joy it brought to my grandparents when they told me about receiving dried fruits, clementines, oranges, and sometimes even a bit of chocolate!

2. If you have friends or relatives visit over the holidays, what would you take them to go see or do during this time and why?

The centre of Florence is beautiful during the holidays. I would recommend going to Dome Square to see the huge Christmas tree and to visit the many Christmas markets scattered around town. Be sure to stop for a hot cup of vin brulé (mulled wine) and bruciate (roasted chestnuts).

3. Where is your favourite spot to soak up the celebrations and/or holiday lights in your destination and why?

The town centre between Ponte Vecchio, the Dome, and Piazza Santa Croce is lit with beautiful decorations and completely closed to cars. It’s a pleasure to walk through slowly soaking in the Christmas atmosphere and enjoying the shops’ decorated windows. A hot chocolate at Rivoire in Piazza della Signoria is a must, as is sipping a glass of chianti in one of the many wineries like Enoteca Coquinarius in Via delle Oche.

Flytographer Roky in Budapest

1. What is your favourite holiday tradition and why?

I have a pretty big family so we do a holiday gift exchange/Secret Santa at both of my grandmothers’ houses. We then draw next year’s names on Christmas Day, so we have one full year to figure out what thoughtful, inexpensive gift to buy/make/get. Why inexpensive? This way, whatever we get each other is a meaningful gift, as opposed to shopping last minute for something with a high price tag.

2. If you have friends or relatives visit over the holidays, what would you take them to go see or do during this time and why?

I used to take my family to the Castle district and the Fisherman’s Bastion area. I really, really love early morning lights over the city and most people who live in Budapest go years or decades without seeing how spectacular the city, the river and the skyline look from that vantage point. Even when just visiting for a few days, I highly recommend getting up a bit early and experiencing this magical city in a different way.

3. Where is your favourite spot to soak up the celebrations and/or holiday lights in your destination and why?

Since I spend most holidays with my family in the countryside, I always want to take them to see the illuminated city of Budapest with its many Christmas markets all over town. If I had to pick one, I’d take them to the market right in front of St. Stephen’s Basilica — it’s just magical with a tiny ice rink in the centre for the younger members of the family.