If your idea of “home for the holidays” perfection gets even better with “and a fabulous trip to a festive celebration in an exotic location — including a stay in a luxurious hotel,” then consider adding one of these excursions to your wish list. Local holiday treats, such as gingerbread teas and Sacher-Tortes, included. Sleigh ride around the globe, optional.
The Voices of Vienna
The Vienna Boys’ Choir has been performing since 1498, producing the works of some of Austria’s greatest musicians, including composers Joseph Haydn and Franz Schubert. They sing Mass every Sunday at Vienna’s Hofburg Chapel and perform a series of Christmas concerts there Dec. 10-14. Complete your Old World traditional Christmas trip with a stay at the Hotel Sacher, home to rooms evoking the Belle Epoch, and cafes serving the legendary Sacher-Torte. The old town hotel lies within walking distance to museums, pedestrian shopping streets and Christmas markets. Rooms from $585, 011-43-1-514560, www.sacher.com. Vienna Boys’ Choir tickets from $40, 011-43-1-216-39-42, www.wienersaengerknaben.at/_1.
San Miguel’s Feliz Fiesta
December is one long fiesta in Mexico, from the Virgin of Guadalupe Day, celebrated Dec. 1-12 with processions and fireworks, to El Día de Navidad. Between these lie Las Posadas, nine nights re-enacting Mary and Joseph’s search for an inn, accompanied by song and ponche, a warm, fruit-based punch. Join the festivities from your base at Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, in the atmospheric heart of the colonial city in the mountains of central Mexico. The hotel, owned by Dallas-based Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, which was founded by Caroline Rose Hunt, offers a three-day “Sense of Place” package that includes tours of gardens, nature preserves and museums and a cooking class, along with meals, leaving ample evening hours for joining the festivities. Package from $3,300; 888-767-3966, www.rosewoodhotels.com.
A Little Noel Music à Paris
The City of Lights adds sound and song to its wonders as Paris celebrates the season with a robust schedule of concerts held in historic churches. Catch the Christmas concert at Église St. Germain Des Prés, performed Dec. 19 and Dec. 23, to hear Antonio Vivaldi’s famous The Four Seasons and classics Silent Night and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, or choose a performance at La Sainte-Chapelle, L’église de la Madeleine and other venues. Stay at the new Peninsula Paris, a grand, six-year renovation of a stately 19th-century Haussmann building, where pastry chef Julien Alvarez will serve his first Buche de Noel or chocolate-raspberry Yule log at tea time Dec. 22-28. Rooms from $990, 866-382-8388, http://paris.peninsula.com. Christmas Concert tickets from $36, 011-33-49-30-86-87-04-12-60, http://classictic.com (other venues also listed).
Merry Olde London
Start your classic celebration in London as the Royal Philharmonic plays Handel’s Messiah at Royal Albert Hall, Dec. 14-19. Then see London in a new, old-fashioned way with London Walks’ special tours devoted to Charles Dickens, scheduled during the week leading up to Christmas (and on the 25th, too). And be sure to make some time for Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, which includes a skating rink, Christmas market and observation wheel. For a break from tradition, stay at the modern, new London Edition in Fitzrovia, a short stroll from the theaters of Soho and home to the acclaimed Berners Tavern, serving British classics like brown sugar tarts at tea. Rooms from $423, 011-44-20-7781-0000, http://edition-hotels.marriott.com. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, free, www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com; London Walks, $14, 011-44-20-7624-3978, www.walks.com; Messiah, tickets from $27, 011-44-845-401-5034, www.royalalberthall.com.
High Kicks in the Big Apple
Its famous kick-line chorines tour the country at the holidays, but to see them in their hometown is to experience New York at its happiest. The annual “Radio City Christmas Spectacular,” featuring the Rockettes, dancing teddy bears, Nutcracker fairies and Santa himself, runs through Dec. 31 at Radio City Music Hall in Rockefeller Center. (Be sure to take time to bask in the glow of the Center’s 85-foot-tall tree topped with a 500-pound Swarovski star and head to Fifth Avenue to see the annual holiday window displays at the major department stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue’s much publicized “An Enchanted Experience” with 3-D video projections.) Make base camp at the new Park Hyatt New York in Midtown, across the street from Carnegie Hall, which offers a sleighful of holiday programming options. The 25th-floor spa with a lap pool and hot tub offers post-shopping respite. Rooms from $795, 646-774-1234, http://newyork.park.hyatt.com. Radio City Christmas Spectacular, tickets from $46, 866-858-0007, www.radiocitychristmas.com.
‘Charlie Brown’ by the Bay
If A Charlie Brown Christmas is on regular rotation at your house over the holidays, consider hearing it live. The San Francisco Symphony will perform its Christmas Spectacular, Dec. 19-24, featuring Peanuts characters, animation and the impressionistic music of the famous TV special composed by San Francisco native Vince Guaraldi. The program also features sing-along holiday classics. For maximum holiday immersion, stay at the 1907 vintage Fairmont San Francisco, where holiday decor includes a two-story gingerbread house and a 23-foot Christmas tree, and festivities include a gingerbread tea daily, Dec. 6-31. Rooms from $219, 800-257-7544, www.Fairmont.com. San Francisco Symphony tickets from $25 (half-price for age 17 and younger), 415-864-6000, www.sfsymphony.org.