Location: Innsbruck, AustriaDate: Dec. 22 (5 p.m.) Innsbruck’s Christkind rides down the Maria-Theresien-Street in a splendid carriage, along with marching bands, shepherds, angels, sheep and other characters. Once the procession reaches the Tirol Provincial Theater, hundreds of children sing “Silent Night.”Admission: Free
Location: Chateau de Modave, rue de Park 4, 4577 Modave, BelgiumDates: Through Jan. 5 (11 a.m.-6 p.m, daily) The interior of the striking Modave Castle is sumptuously furnished with carved paneling, tapestries, paintings and exceptional furniture. Each year at Christmas time, the elegant dwelling hosts a themed exhibition. This year’s theme, “The Carnival of Rio,” features costumes from famous carnival.Admission: 9 euros adults, 4 euros for students, and 2 euros for ages 6-12.
Location: Schloss Freudenberg, Freudenbergstraße 226, 65201 Wiesbaden, GermanyDate: Dec. 20 (from 2 p.m.) The longest night and shortest day of the year is celebrated with a large campfire and music. Visitors themselves help in the gathering of firewood and the creation of the sculpture which will go up in flames.Admission: Visitors can elect to pay admission costs according to a sliding scale: Adult entry costs 14-16 euros, ages 7-17 pay 9 euros, and ages 3-6 pay 5-7 euros.
Location: Brighton, EnglandDate: Dec. 21 This unique community event marking the shortest day of the year sees local construct lanterns of paper and willow branches, and after parading through the city, tossing them into a blazing bonfire on the beach, symbolizing the end of a year.Admission: As the event is funded by crowdfunding activities, donations and support to the businesses sponsoring the event is welcome.
Location: Phoenixhalle im Römerkastell, Stuttgart, GermanyDates: Dec. 21-22 (noon- 8 p.m.both days) Young and up-and-coming designers display and sell their edgy crafts to the sound of laid-back soundtrack. Find products such as home decor, accessories, paintings and illustrations, handmade stuffed toys, woolens, ceramics, teas, chutneys and much more. Street food sold on site ups the fun factor.Admission: Adult entry costs 5 euros, those under 14 enter free.
Location: Triberg, GermanyDates: Dec. 25-30 Germany’s highest waterfall is transformed into a luminous cascade by a million twinkling lights, while a program including a fire show gives additional reason to venture to this charming corner of the Black Forest. Artists on stage range from a gospel choir to a Zydeco band. Fireworks light up the sky Dec. 27-30.Admission: Adults 16 euros; ages 9-16 pay 12 euros, and entry is free for those ages 8 and under. Family tickets go for 40 euros.
Location: Genoa, ItalyDates: Dec. 26-Jan. 6 Contemporary circus companies show off their skills in a spacious tent set up in the Porto Antico and the streets and squares of this lively port city. Seventeen international companies perform in the 32 shows making up this year’s program.Admission: Prices vary depending on show.
Location: Rieteweg 4, 8011 AB Zwolle, NetherlandsDates: Through March 1 Many of the world’s best ice sculptors have been hard at work creating a spectacular world of ice and snow. Sculptures, some of which tower over 20 feet, interpret this year’s theme of “A Journey Through Time.” As the temperature in this indoor space is kept to a chilly 14 degrees F, visitors should dress accordingly.Admission: Entry takes place according to specific time slots. Tickets cost 14.50 euros adults and 10 euros for children when tickets are purchased on line.