Noel—or Not!

Does that first sprig of mistletoe make you giddy with Christmas cheer—or would you rather drown in a bucket of eggnog than spend another December awash in commercial glee? Our travel wish list features three spots brimming with holiday spirit and three distant, carol-free getaways.

Holiday Immersion
1) Waitsfield, Vermont Nothing oozes Norman Rockwell like a white Christmas in New England. The Inn at the Round Barn Farm, a renovated 19th-century dairy farmhouse, celebrates with a five-night Country Christmas package. You'll trim trees, take sleigh rides, bake gingerbread cookies, and snowshoe by moonlight to the inn's hunting cabin for hearty beef stew. The 245-acre farm's snowshoe trails are open all winter long, and Sugarbush and Mad River Glen ski resorts are ten minutes away. Six-day package from $555, including breakfast, snacks, cross-country skiing, and other activities; 802-496-2276, www.innattheroundbarn.com

2) Ouray, Colorado Nestled beneath Rocky Mountain peaks, cheery little Ouray welcomes the season with a yule weekend parade and door-to-door visits from Santa. Guests at the Beaumont Hotel & Spa can enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner—think roast goose, chestnut stuffing, and chocolate mousse—after a trip to the Ouray Ice Park, where climbers scale the frozen walls. Doubles, $180–$350; 888-447-3255, www.beaumonthotel.com

3) Zermatt, Switzerland From this snow-globe-perfect village—where horse-drawn carriages roll through car-free cobbled streets—you can take Europe's highest cable car 7,421 feet up to Klein Matterhorn, then ski eight miles back to town in plenty of time to hang your stocking. But book early: The architecturally renowned Coeur des Alpes fills up months in advance. Doubles from $208; 011-41-27-966-40-80, www.coeurdesalpes.ch

Holiday Aversion

Holiday travel
DECK THE HALLS: Trade tinsel for Moorish tilework in Morocco (courtesy, Morocco.com)

Holiday Aversion
1) Christmas Island, Australia Though named by a British sea captain on December 25, 1643, this Indian Ocean isle is populated with Buddhists and Muslims—no nativity scenes here. Spend the holiday exploring Christmas Island National Park, which makes up nearly two-thirds of the island, then hunker down on Dolly Beach, an isolated, palm-fringed strip of sand where you can watch for the millions of endemic red crabs that migrate from the forest to the sea at this time of year. For information, contact the tourism association at 011-61-8-9164-8382; www.christmas.net.au

2) Erg Chebbi, Morocco You won't find any Christmas trees atop Morocco's largest sand dunes. Mountain Travel Sobek departs for the desert from Marrakesh on a two-week trip that starts Christmas Day. After visiting casbahs in the town of Ouarzazate (a major international filming locale), as well as Berber villages in the scenic Dadès Valley, you'll board a camel for a four-day trek across the Sahara. $3,390–$3,790 per person; 888-687-6235, www.mtsobek.com

3) The South Pole For those trying to get as far from Santa as possible, The Northwest Passage offers an eight-day expedition to Antarctica, culminating in a round-trip champagne flight to the South Pole. First you'll fly across the Drake Passage from Punta Arenas, Chile, to the Patriot Hills base camp, to explore the white-on-white landscape on nordic-ski and snowmobile tours. Then hop aboard a twin-engine Otter for the six-hour flight south, pop open some bubbly, and call home from the bottom of the world. $33,500 per person; 800-732-7328, www.polarexplorers.com

Filed To: Snow Sports
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