Forget unwanted knickknacks and presents that get re-wrapped next year – this Christmas, treat yourself to a shopping trip to an alternative festive market with Black Tomato. The Road to Original Presents For the most original Christmas presents with an Arabian twist, you should fly to Damascus. Although only a small percentage of the Syrian population is Christian, Damascus is thought to be home to some of the world’s oldest Christian communities. The Christian quarter of Old Damascus celebrates the festive season in style with large trees and lights. With more souks than Marrakech, Damascus is a treasure trove of silver and gold jewellery, hand blown glass and Damascene silk. Take a break from mince pies with an ice-cream at Damacus’ oldest ice-cream shop, Bakdash in the Al-Hamidiyeh covered souq in the heart of the city. Black Tomato can arrange a three night stay in Damascus from £1,499 per person based on two people sharing. The price includes flights, transfers, accommodation with breakfast at Beit al Mamlouka, and a full day private tour. Dreaming of a Red Christmas For an authentic snowy Christmas shopping experience, head to Moscow, where the city’s Izmailovsky market comes to life over the festive period with plenty of traditional food, drink stalls and local crafts. Take a slice of traditional Russian Christmas home with gifts of wooden decorations and intricately carved snow maidens. You can even visit Grandfather Frost, the Russian Father Christmas, at his home in the park at Kuzminki. Black Tomato can arrange three nights in Moscow from £899 per person based on two people sharing. The price includes flights, transfers, accommodation with breakfast at the Astoria Hotel and a city tour. Chilled Christmas Forget the overcrowded streets of New York and enjoy a more laid back vibe with Christmas shopping in Quebec. Visit Montreal’s Nutcracker market in the Palais de Congres for the ultimate handcrafted Christmas inspired arts and crafts, bespoke jewellery and traditional children’s toys. Or head to Quebec City’s Christmas market which lights up the city’s old Port with over 100 beautifully decorated stalls, selling local and regional specialities, including ice cider, hand crafted toys, paintings from local artists and much more. The French style market continues until the end of December with flowing mulled wine, carol singing galore and plenty of snow. Black Tomato can arrange four nights in Montreal from £1,399 per person based on two people sharing. The price includes flights and accommodation with breakfast at the Loft hotel.
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