Skip to main content

The Bellagio has turned its conservatory into a winter fantasyland.

At this point you're either kicking back with hot cocoa or scrapping with strangers in the supermarket over frozen turkeys. If it's the latter, why not put down the shopping list and pick up your passport? Head to one of these festive destinations and let the pros handle the merriment.

Merry macarons

You will find the world's largest macaron Christmas tree in Paris (of course) at the InterContinental Paris - Le Grand. It took 50 workers from famed patisserie Ladurée two weeks to create the four-metre-high tower. Total number of macarons used: 8,000. The tree plays off a carnival theme, with a harlequin ruffle and brightly coloured confections in shades of green, blue, yellow and red. You can see a similar tree at the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte, N.C., although it stands just 2.4-metres high.

Ho ho hotdogs

Yes, Chicago hotdogs are a thing. Nontheless, making them a Christmasy thing is a bit of a stretch. But that hasn't stopped the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile from trying. Its gingerbread display – called "Hot Diggity Dog for the Holidays!" – is a scene of elves working in a factory to prepare a three-metre wiener using a "Chicago-dog-o-matic" machine. Some parts actually move. It's all on display in the lobby, open to the public, until early January.

O lobster trap

You might expect to find a festive lobster-trap tree in Maine, but it's actually Key West, Fla., where you can see this Christmas crustacean creation. It's located in the Historic Seaport, and is part of the Harbor Walk of Lights, which runs along the waterfront until Dec. 31. So go for the spiny lobsters but stay for the dogs: On the last day, about 200 pooches will take part in the Key West Dachshund Walk.

It's beginning to look a lot like chocolate

Want a big belly like Santa? Eat a version of him made of chocolate, like the one at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin resort. The jolly fellow is just one part of the sweet scene, which is made out of almost 907 kilograms of chocolate – about four-million calories worth. Unfortunately, as the resort explains, "the sculpture is not available for tasting."

Puttin' on the gingerbread

Ski into the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gultch in Avon, Colo., and you'll find a 270-kilogram replica of the luxury resort. It's a faithful reproduction, right down to the hotel's St. Bernard and après-ski firepit. It took four bakers 400 hours to construct using 84 kilograms of gingerbread and 18 kilograms of royal icing, among many other huge amounts of sugar, fondant, chocolate, pastillage and Rice Krispie squares.

Santa's got a brand new umbrella

"I'm dreaming of a wet Christmas" does not have quite the same ring, but it is a real possibility in London. Fitting then, that the Goring hotel's nine-metre tree is decorated with umbrellas. But not just any brollies – these birdcage umbrellas are by Fulton, a Royal Warrant Holder, and are reportedly a favourite of the Royal Family. Only a tree covered in tea and crumpets would be more British.

Little designer boy

Fashion greats Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are behind Claridge's tree in London. The duo went with a Sicilian theme, decorating the seven-metre wonder with more than 450 Italian glass ornaments hand-painted with pictures of citrus groves, prickly pears and almonds. Thirty pupi – marionettes in the likeness of medieval knights – stand guard at the base. The wooden puppets are, no surprise, well-dressed: They sport knee-high boots and velvet robes.

Green Christmas

Las Vegas's over-the-top ethos extends to the holidays. The Bellagio has turned its conservatory into a winter fantasyland. Let's run the numbers: a 12.8-metre-tall white fir decorated with 2,500 ornaments and 7,000 lights, one walk-through snow globe guarded by four toy soldiers, 32,000 poinsettas, six life-sized reindeer, one family of polar bears made with 24,000 white carnations, and a full-size house made of 725 kilograms of chocolate. Phew.

With a file from Catherine Dawson March