If one half of your family wants to spend Christmas on the beach, and the other is lobbying for a more active escape, give both sides what they want and arrange to celebrate in Kenya. The country boasts some incredible family-friendly accommodation with plenty of room to party, and the standard of food and drink will far exceed anything you could make at home. The beaches along the Indian Ocean coastline are sublime, and after a few days you can swap the sand for a safari in a stunning national park.
Book early if you want to spend Christmas or New Year in South Africa. You do need to plan ahead but it’s well worth the effort as both Cape Town and the Garden Route are magnificent at this time of year. Migrant birds arrive from Europe and North Africa at this time, so birders will be in their element. Bring your binoculars as there are plenty of species to spot.
Wake up on Christmas morning to guaranteed big herd game viewing from Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. The crater stretches 10 miles wide and 20,000 animals have made it their home. It’s a place to indulge yourself and be pampered: make good use of your private butler, extensive wine cellar, and the offer of in-room massages. Finish with a week watching the waves of the Indian Ocean crash onto a pristine beach.
Escape the cold and rain of home and instead luxuriate in the sunshine of Botswana during the festive season. Water in the Okavango’s channels will be low, but as a result you can get out and about on foot. The herds linger in the floodplains, readily in view, and it’s unlikely you’ll disturb them as they eat.