Oh, this is such an easy one – Christmas is best spent at Hogwarts. Disagree? You would be wrong. Case closed.
Ok, we can go into more detail – we just love a bit of Hogwarts Christmas holiday fun! Let’s start with the way the castle is transformed into a gorgeous wintry wonderland. Suits of armour singing Christmas carols – festive. Twelve giant, frost-covered Christmas trees lining the Great Hall – even more festive. The Great Hall adorned with streamers of holly and mistletoe and enchanted snow falling warm and dry from the ceiling – festive with a capital F – the most festively festive festivities we could ever dream of. The decorations alone are enough to make you feel as Christmassy as the fabulous gnome atop the Weasley’s Christmas tree.
But that’s not all, let’s talk about the feast. We all know that Christmas is all about the food (and spending time with your loved ones and so on… but mainly food). And at Hogwarts, this is a feast more magical than anywhere else in the wizarding world. There are no skirmishes over the last roast potato here – with a hundred fat turkeys, piles of roast and boiled potatoes, platters of chipolatas, buttered peas, gravy, cranberry sauce and flaming Christmas puddings (our mouths are watering just thinking about it) there’s enough to feed even the hungriest giant… or Ron.
Crackers! We almost forgot. You won’t find Christmas crackers like these in the Muggle world. Rather than a flimsy paper hat and rubbish toy, these crackers contain everything from live mice to an Admiral’s hat – Dumbledore even got a wonderful, flowered bonnet (which he immediately wore, of course).
Still need convincing? Right then, rather than having to wait until your entire family are ready to open presents, yours will appear at the end of your bed for you to open at your leisure. Then there’s the fact you can spend Christmas having snowball fights with your best friends (like Harry did with the Weasleys) rather than having awkward conversation with boring relatives. No Aunt Muriel here, thankfully. Most importantly, everything is just there ready and waiting for you to enjoy. There will be no need to help prepare dinner, do the washing up or, the task more horrifying than facing a Dementor down a dark alley, peel the sprouts.
Unlike The Burrow – where we know that chores are required and unwelcome guests pop up (like a certain Minister for Magic or estranged brother), or Grimmauld Place – gloomy, with shrieking portraits and a serious lack of Christmas spirit, Hogwarts is the place to have the perfect festive day – just the way you want it.
No thanks, McGonagall, we won’t be putting our names down to stay at school for the holiday – we’re heading back to The Burrow. This charmingly crooked and cosy Christmas ornament of a family home, with its snow-dusted stack of rooms like the pieces of a gingerbread house, is so wrong that it’s just so right. After the draughty castle corridors and airy halls of Hogwarts, The Burrow’s leaning walls and low ceilings are a warm hug welcoming you home.
And that’s just the wacky architecture! Don’t get us started on the decorations. Sure, Hogwarts’ Great Hall is decked so lavishly, but it’s all done for you. Are Christmas decorations really Christmas decorations unless you can see your own hand in them? Unless you strung the paper chains yourself, hung the baubles yourself, Stupefied the garden gnome, and glued wings to its back and stuck it atop the tree yourself, it’s not really Christmas. Like a Weasley jumper, Christmas at The Burrow is everything it should be – homemade and perfectly imperfect.
Now, a moment for the food. Whether it’s in the kitchen or duelling with Death Eaters, Molly and her wand are undefeated. With seven children to feed and her door always open to guests, she can whip up a festive feast that the Great Hall tables would positively groan under the weight of. And yeah, you have to peel a mountain of sprouts to help out, but as Fred says – it’s “character-building”. Harry’s first Christmas lunch at The Burrow may have been interrupted by the distinctly un-Christmassy Scrimgeour, but that’s got to be better than dining with Trelawney and being told you’re going to die before you’ve even finished your roasties, right?
But the best thing about any Christmas dinner, is what comes after. No, not dessert – the turkey-induced nap, of course! Can you imagine climbing seven flights of changing staircases with missing steps and crawling through a portrait hole just to have an after-dinner lie-down? The Burrow offers the prospect of a short stumble to a squishy sofa and Celestina Warbeck’s A Cauldron Full of Hot, Strong Love playing on the wireless as you succumb to a snooze.
After spending Christmas breaks researching in the library, drinking Polyjuice Potion, navigating the teenage trauma of a first school dance and spending the day on a closed St Mungo’s hospital ward, Harry’s sixth year was a Christmas wish come true – finally, a real family Christmas. And what a family! To be invited to a Weasley Christmas is to be given the gift of a loving community to spend the holiday with, and all the laughter, rows and madness that comes with it. In its grandness, Hogwarts can be a lonely place and signing up to stay there was usually because Harry had no other choice. But in The Burrow’s cosiness, where siblings and guests sleep at least three to a room, you can never really find yourself alone or bored.
The Weasleys’ Gringotts vault may be bare, but their home is abundant with joy. Though we’re debating the ultimate wizarding world Christmas location, the real magic of Christmas isn’t carolling suits of armour and enchanted snow. The Burrow is packed full of everything for a truly magical Christmas – togetherness, love and family.
That’s right, you heard. Sure, the obvious choice for a magical Christmas getaway may be lovely old Hogwarts or the warm family atmosphere of The Burrow, but we’re going rogue. Grimmauld Place is actually the best place to celebrate Christmas. What do you mean, what are we talking about?! We think you’ll find 12 Grimmauld Place is actually crammed with festive magic! And, sure, also Doxys and Boggarts and screaming paintings. But that’s just all part of the unpredictable fun! And isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Cleaning all the Dark secrets out of an ancient, decrepit house, hoping you don’t bump into a sinister house-elf who carries a lot of Dark energy? Except maybe in your household, it’s your tipsy uncle. Same difference! It wouldn’t be Christmas without someone causing mayhem in the corner somewhere, would it?
So, Harry spends Christmas at 12 Grimmauld Place, Sirius Black’s inherited family home, for distinctly un-festive reasons. Amid Lord Voldemort’s ascent to power, Arthur Weasley has been attacked, and the family must spend Christmas in the safety of the Order of the Phoenix headquarters while they await news. Okay, yep, understood, not very Christmassy so far. But once we hear of Arthur’s recovery, things take an upward swing. And with Mrs Weasley around – no place – no matter how dank and abandoned, carrying the evils of Dark wizards and witches of the past – will be left looking unhomely for very long. With Molly at the helm, 12 Grimmauld Place was soon transformed from The House of Black into The House of Snacks – and that’s not all: at the thought of having company for Christmastime, Sirius is turned into a new man – singing Christmas carols, cooking bacon and generally, just seeming… happy.
Wouldn’t you love to be tucking into a mince pie while the coolest Marauder sang God Rest Ye Merry Hippogriffs in the background? Of course, you would! And by the time Sirius is done decorating the house (with chandeliers festooned with holly and gold and silver streamers, you guys!) the place is described as “almost unrecognisable”. Almost unrecognisable! Mundungus Fletcher even obtains* (* probably stole) a Christmas tree with live fairies! The carpets are covered in glittery snow! The stuffed house-elf heads mounted on the wall are wearing Christmas ha-oh okay, maybe let’s skip over that last one. But nonetheless! With the newfound Yuletide joy of Sirius jazzing up the household, 12 Grimmauld Place is sounding like quite the hip, happening holiday venue, complete with rustic charm.
And being at the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix means you get all manner of awesome Aurors sporadically popping round too – the more, the merrier. And this means the most important thing of all: extra presents. Tonks gets Harry a cute little flying model of his Firebolt – that’s a great gift. Nope, we’re standing firm on this one – 12 Grimmauld Place is an underrated Christmas classic – with interesting visitors, bespoke Christmas carols and the distinct lack of Professor Umbridge, who had ruined the vibe at Hogwarts in Harry’s fifth year anyway. We rest our case!
But what do you think? What is the most idyllic Christmassy getaway in the wizarding world?
If you're in the mood for some more wizarding world discussions why don't you have a look at some of our other debate club features?
See who you think had the hardest first year at Hogwarts, Harry Potter or Ginny Weasley.
Or decide whether you think Sirius Black was a role model or reckless rogue.