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Most Festive Airports to Visit at Christmas

With holidays just around the corner, many airports are not only at their busiest but at their best, too. From lavish decorations and sparkling Christmas trees to carol-singers and Santa visits, airports around the world go out of their way to get travelers into the spirit of the season. Join us for a tour of the most festive airports to visit to this Christmas.

London Heathrow Airport, UK

Heathrow is famous for going all out for Christmas and it doesn’t fail to deliver this holiday season either. The airport’s signature white-ribbon tree, carolers singing, and “gift helpers” assisting travelers to find the perfect gifts are sure to make holiday travel a little less stressful.

Keep an eye out for Mr. Adventure and Little Miss Explorer handing out stickers to well-behaved kids. And that’s not all. Several restaurants, including Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food and Carluccio’s, offer free meals for children in December.

Plus, Heathrow came up with another surprise this year—Santa’s Secret Headquarters. Take a look through one of the periscopes to get a glimpse of the busy toy making in Santa’s workshop underneath the airport (T2B and T5 after security).

Helsinki Airport, Finland

With its stunning displays of holiday lights, the abundance of “We love Christmas” banners, and complimentary gift-wrapping stations, Helsinki Airport shows just how seriously it takes the holidays. Expect Santa, occasionally accompanied by Mrs. Claus, to greet you at your departure gate. A merry atmosphere is guaranteed with the church choir singing Yuletide tunes and Finnair staff members spreading holiday cheer with some Christmas classics.

Don’t miss the airport’s brand new Christmas cabin featuring traditional Finnish furnishings complete with a sauna at T2 non-Schengen area. This is the perfect spot to relax and read a Christmas story or two before boarding your flight.

Vancouver International Airport, Canada

Every year, Vancouver Airport manages to get travelers into the festive mood with its dazzling Christmas lights and bountiful holiday offerings such as live Christmas music, performances, and free gift-wrapping for all post-security purchases.  And for a bit of fun (and instagram photos), be sure to visit the YVR Cabin, a cozy west coast chalet built entirely upside down!

But nothing shows the airport’s holiday spirit like its Annual Holiday Hamper Drive. For almost a decade, Vancouver International Airport has been encouraging food donations to families in need. All generous travelers are rewarded with a special visit from Santa, cookie decorating workshops, fun games, and a Christmas photo booth.

Chicago O’Hare International Airport, USA

One of the busiest US airports during Christmas is also among the most festive ones with its seasonal light displays, red ribbons, wreaths, and pretty Christmas trees. Get some last-minute shopping underway at the airport’s pop-up holiday shops while sipping your complimentary cup of hot cocoa.

A ride on the CTA Holiday Train that connects the airport and downtown Chicago is an experience not to be missed. Santa and his elves are ready to welcome the passengers aboard the train brimming with Christmas lights and candy-cane decorations.

Munich Airport, Germany

Munich Airport starts its Christmas preparations already in November. During the holidays, the airport boasts more than 40 Christmas market stands selling traditional Bavarian treats and handicrafts, a real pine-tree forest, and a giant Christmas tree decorated with thousands of lights.

And there’s more. Holiday entertainment with live music, Punch and Judy shows, magic performances, and the ultra-popular (free) skating and curling rinks will make you wish you had a longer layover.

Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore

There is, arguably, no better airport to be at Christmas than Changi. Known for its extravagant decor and themed installations, this year the airport features Disney’s Frozen 2. Look out for various movie characters and the giant Olaf statue at T3 Departures Hall.

The airport’s holiday pop-up food and crafts market is a must-visit too. Don’t leave without trying Mrs. Claus’ Christmas fruitcake, a part of the Singapore Christmas edition series, at the popular KitKat Chocolatory.

At Changi, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to Christmas performances, light shows, entertainment, and photo opportunities. But the true star of the show is a spectacular 16-meter sparkling Christmas tree and the snow walk that manage to turn the Jewel complex tropical paradise into a winter wonderland.