Stock up with gifts on a ho-ho-holiday: Amazing shop-till-you-drop breaks, from festive favourite New York to twinkling Paris

  • Visit New York’s iconic department stores including Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Hop on the Eurostar to see the lights on the Champs-Elysees in Paris twinkle
  • Tour Germany’s Christmas markets on an enchanting five-night river cruise

Every week our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at a brilliant holiday topic, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week: Mini-breaks for Christmas shoppers.

Shop-till-you-drop holidays are back. And with concerns about empty shelves in Britain, this could be the perfect year to head abroad to fill up those all-important Christmas stockings.

New York is a festive favourite, and after the US reopens to double-jabbed Brits from November 8, a top tip is to start at the iconic department stores.

Festive favourite: Enjoy the brilliant window displays along New York’s Fifth Avenue 

There’s 100-year-old Macy’s on Herald Square, where the window displays are a tourist attraction in their own right, and Bloomingdale’s, famous for its ‘little brown bag’ and where Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York plays every morning as the doors open to customers. 

At the super-swish Saks Fifth Avenue, style advisers and beauty concierges greet shoppers with free treatments.

Fancy breakfast at Tiffany’s? The original Fifth Avenue store is under wraps for a refurb, but its temporary home is still worth a visit – the atrium has a stack of Tiffany boxes piled 40ft high in a replica of the Empire State Building.

Fly with Virgin Atlantic from London and enjoy three nights at the Row NYC hotel near the Rockefeller Center’s ice rink from £595pp ( 

Alternatively, upgrade with four nights at the Double Tree by Hilton on Times Square with British Airways Club Class flights for fast-track through security and VIP lounge access, plus flat beds and fine dining in the air, from £1,619pp (

Add sunshine and celebrity sightings to a shopping trip by heading to Los Angeles.

Give your credit card a workout in the flagship stores of top designers on Rodeo Drive, then wander along to House of Bijan to see what’s parked outside ‘the most expensive menswear store in the world’. 

It’s appointment-only to go inside, though. A five-night break with flights and accommodation in the heart of Beverly Hills at Loews Hollywood (famous for its rooftop pool) costs from £1,199pp (

In Dubai, home to the mega-mall, you’ll find the world’s largest with 1,200 shops and hundreds of places to eat and drink. There’s also an aquarium and ice rink. 

Prefer a bargain? The Dubai Outlet Mall has 200 stores and promises deep discounts. Five nights at Movenpick Hotel, flying from London or Manchester, costs from £1,072pp (

Germany hosts some of the oldest and most beautiful Christmas markets. Pictured is Cologne

Closer to home, the lights on the Champs-Elysees in Paris twinkle in December and there is plenty of glamour amid the marble halls of Galeries Lafayette. Eurostar return plus a two-night hotel stay costs from £152pp (

Europe’s Christmas markets are perfect for unique gifts, and Germany hosts some of the oldest and most beautiful, including Rudesheim, Koblenz, Bonn and Cologne.

Tour them all on a five-night Enchanting Rhine & Yuletide Markets river cruise from £699pp, including flights and luxurious cabins (

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