I know that the holidays are supposed to be about family and friends, togetherness and all that jazz, but let’s face it—they really are also all about shopping and the sights and sounds of what is undeniably one of the most magical times of year (for most people anyway). As we head into the final harried shopping days of the season, I thought I’d take you on a tour of some of the best holiday shopping on the planet.

Jermyn Street, London, UK | jermynstreet.net

Make this a more royal holiday with gifts from Jermyn Street, which, along with St. James Street, holds more royal warrants (meaning that its shops supply goods or services to the HRH Queen Elizabeth II) than any other in all of London.

Johann Wanner – Basel, Switzerland | johannwanner.ch

I visited Johann Wanner’s year-round Christmas Wonderland in the middle of the summer and immediately felt like I had been transported dab smack into the heart of the holiday season. Mr. Wanner himself took me on a tour of his Christmas House and the neighboring Christmas Café, which are chock-full of the most whimsical holiday decorations you can imagine.

Madison Avenue, New York, NY  | essential-new-york-city-guide.com/christmas-windows.html

Perhaps the most legendary holiday window-shopping destination in the world, and with good reason.

The Trocadéro Christmas Market, Paris, France | The European Christmas Village “Trocadero On Ice”

Shopping and ice skating with the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop—what could be more spectacular?

Zürich Christkindli Market, Zurich, Switzerland | christkindlimarkt.ch

As the largest indoor Christmas market in Europe, Christkindli is filled with holiday cheer, entertainment and more than its fair share of original gift ideas, crafts and delicacies.

Bond Street – Bond Noel, London, UK | bondstreetassociation.com

Unwrap the best the season has to offer along one of London’s chicest boulevards.

Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich, Switzerland | bahnhofstrasse-zuerich.ch

This Christmas, shop the most luxurious brands in the world on the Bahnofstrasse. Since precisely 6 p.m. on Nov. 22, “Lucy”—as the Christmas lights are called—has been switched on for visitors to enjoy all along Zurich’s most famous shopping street. With almost 12,000 crystals containing luminescent white, red and blue LED lights, producing dots of color of varying intensity in the sky, the display lives up to its name “Lucy in the Sky”.
For a complete list of my picks for the best holiday shopping destinations around the globe, visit my World of Christmas Shopping notebook at Springpad.