The Place for Christmas with a winter holiday

It’s that time of the year when the atmosphere’s getting a little frosty – and that’s just the feeling around the kitchen table. So the greatest gift you can give this Christmas to your loved ones is a positive frame of mind. What’s the best way of achieving that Zen-like state? Treat yourself to a chilled out summer holiday in winter and come back before the big festive day relaxed and ready to take on anything – even your miserable mother-in-law.

You don’t have to break the bank to go away in winter, either. In fact, there are so many cheap holidays on offer at the moment, you can spend a week on the exotic island of Cyprus and still have money left over. Added bonus: the souvenirs from your beach holiday make for awesome Christmas presents.

Holidays to Cyprus can be the gift you give to yourself. This time of year the sea temperature is an average of 18 degrees – not too hot and not too cold. Ultimate swimming temperature.

With an average winter temperature of 19 degrees, it’s still warm enough for you to spend time in the villages in only a vest top, and it’s the perfect weather for strolling along the pebbly Paphos beach or exploring the Akamas Peninsula and Troodos Mountains. And if you’re a bit of a culture vulture, Cyprus also offers a myriad of ancient ruins dating back to the 12th century BC, fortresses, Roman remnants and impressive tombs, such as the Tombs of the Kings.

Let’s start with cheap flights. A quick pre-Christmas escape from Gatwick to Paphos can set you back as little as £118.

Cyprus offers numerous accommodation options too. Everything from the luxurious five-star Elysium Hotel in Paphos to the Club Coral View Resort in Peyia.

If you’re an ancient history buff, or you like the sound of Arabian deserts, romantic sunsets, majestic ancient temples and camels in abundance, then holidays to Egypt are well within your budget.

At this time of the year, flights are cheap and there are some bargain accommodation packages too. The Pyramids Park Resort in Cairo has rooms from £17 a night and is just a five minute walk from the pyramids.

Capital city Cairo is a great place to start exploring if it’s your first time to Egypt. The pyramids and Sphinx are on your doorstep; the Cairo museum is bursting with ancient artefacts, such as the astonishing gold of Tutankhamen; and the Khan el-Khalili, Cairo’s famous and iconic bazaar, is the perfect place for Christmas shopping.

Luxor also offers the nearby Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. However, the country is not just tombs, museums and temples. For example, Alexandria Coast is known for some of the best beaches and scuba-diving in the world.

There is so much you’ll want to do when you get to Egypt, so plan your trip wisely. If the purpose of your holiday is exactly that – a holiday – then be selective with your activities. Remember, you don’t have to do it in one visit! Downtime is important. You can (and will) always come back.

Wherever you decide to go this Christmas, don’t think of it as a splurge – think of it as a well-deserved Christmas present to yourself that will put a smile on your face and help get you through any Christmas-related tensions with grace.