Chestnuts roasting, sleigh bells, snow glistening - you'll find all those traditional Christmas trimmings and more on a ski holiday!
With only four months to go before the first of the keen skiers heads out to get a taste of the white stuff, we take a look at the first of the popular holiday weeks – Christmas – and ask Heather from Ice and Fire about spending Christmas in the Alps.
What’s it like spending Christmas in a chalet?
Having the Christmas cake made, the turkey cooked and the washing up all done for you is probably the main reason why guests return to Christmas chalet holidays year after year. There is so much work involved in organising a family Christmas at home, but in a chalet all you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy yourselves.
Everything that you’d normally use in a ski resort is open on Christmas day. Lifts, hire companies, mountain restaurants and ski schools operate as normal, albeit often with a Santa hat and a few carols!
I like to go to midnight mass - can I do that in a ski resort?
Most ski resort churches are open to visitors and are extremely welcoming but you should check with your chalet hosts before you go. Midnight mass is a popular service across France and it’s a great opportunity to sample a bit of real French life. Be prepared for a long service though – most Christmas services incorporate carols, nativity plays or sometimes even both.
What if the whole family doesn’t ski?
Christmas is a great time for non-skiers in the Alps with lots of things like Christmas markets and carol concerts as well as the skiing. Granny coming with you could be a win-win situation as she gets quality time with the kids, whilst you go up the hill!
My top tip if you’ve got non skiers would be to think carefully about what you are going to do on Christmas day before you go. If younger children are in crèche or ski school during the week, you might want to consider a family activity for Christmas day instead. You could book a husky ride or a snow shoe walk, have a snowman building competition or sledging races, or ski together as a family for the day.
What about packing all the presents?
Plan your present buying before you go as there often isn’t a great selection of shops in resort. Pick small, packable items and wrap them up before you travel so that no-one can take a sneaky peak! Once in resort pick up one or two ski themed items to bulk out the pile – sledges go down a treat especially if you can let the kids use them straight away!
Christmas falls on a weekend this year – will the travel be difficult?
No, most chalets are running an alternative schedule over the festive season. Typically you’ll arrive on the 19th or 20th and depart on the 26th or 27th.
If you’re normally constrained to school holidays, I think that you’ll find Christmas prices a nice surprise cost wise as they usually work out as a cheaper alternative to New Year or Half Term. You get plenty included for your money too with many chalet companies like us also offering a whole selection of extras from decorated trees to complimentary champagne included in the price.
Ice and Fire are offering a £100 per person reduction on all their Christmas holidays – check out this offer at Chalet Campanules in La Plagne, Paradiski for more details.