Mistletoe Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year…unless your relationship explodes like a washed-up whale on a Taiwan beach.

Years ago, my marriage tanked on the Monday before Christmas. My sudden freedom felt raw, inspiring, and painfully unique. But turns out I wasn’t alone.

A Facebook survey discovered that December is a breakup bonanza. Researchers David McCandless and Lee Byron added up the words “break up” and “broken up” in 10,000 Facebook status updates. When they crunched the data, they found that breakups spiked “dramatically two weeks before Christmas Day” a.k.a. right now.

Apparently the stress of keeping a brave face for office parties and family get-togethers, tend to shove a dodgy relationship off the cliff and onto the rocks below. They also found that breakups often happen on Mondays (after brutal weekends), and just after Valentine’s Day.

But December, by far, is the busiest time for breakups. I figure, if a breakup’s inevitable, you may as well do it somewhere interesting. So as a public service on this, the second-last Monday before Christmas, here are:

5 Best Places to Dump Someone this Christmas


#5) New York, New York

As my friend Dwayne points out, “Ain’t nothing better than Christmas season in NYC. If you want to drop someone off or simply get lost yourself, Manhattan, all decked out at Christmas time, can keep you bemused for hours and hours and hours. I even like to sit in the top of the open buses and ride through NYC (wearing ear muffs, a good coat and with hot liquids). Splendor in the city.” Also: if you’re a straight man, your chances of meeting a nice new woman in New York are incredibly high.

#4) A casino buffet

My girlfriend recommends dumping someone over a heaping plate of eggs and bacon at River Rock Casino. Located in lovely downtown Richmond, BC, The Buffet at River Rock costs just $14.95 per adult (or just $12.75 if you’re dating a senior). This 260-seat restaurant features “sensational views of the Fraser River” and offers a “culturally diverse” menu that “will please the most discerning of palates.”

The Buffet is also a wonderful place to drown your sorrows in gravy. It’s public, which should theoretically reduce the yelling and weeping. And after the meal’s paid for and you’ve said your final tearful goodbye, your dumpee can go cheer themselves up by making some money on the slots. Plus the Vancouver International Airport is just 3 Skytrain stops away, in case they need to suddenly jet off to see their mom.

#3) Somewhere you hate

Here’s an idea: why turn your favourite vacation spot into scorched earth? Instead, pick a building, city, or country that you loathe and never want to see again. For example, Syria seems like an awful place to visit. Provided you can both quickly escape that hellhole, I’d have no hesitation ditching someone there.

#2) Christmas Beer Festival

If you’ve got to ditch someone in Europe, head to Essen, Belgium on December 17th for the 2-day Christmas Beer Festival. Be sure to ditch your lover before the first night, so you can enjoy 150 Belgian winter and Christmas beers (and “2,500 thirsty Christmas beer-lovers”) all by yourself. Over a cup of hot mulled cherry beer, you can mull over the list of strangers that you’ll want to flirt with next.

There’s a cheap taxi service (one Euro) to the Essen railway station. Entry to the beer festival is free and your tasting glass will cost 3 Euro. Keep it as a memento for the moment you got your independence back. Or return it for a refund when you’re done, just like you returned your mate to the dating wilds.

#1) Under the mistletoe

If you’re both lucky enough to want a mutual split, there’s nothing more perfectly bittersweet than a final kiss beneath the mistletoe. When the deal is done, shake hands, wish each other well, grab your pre-packed luggage, and then head your separate ways.

Where do you recommend breaking up with someone at Christmas?

— Ken Hegan

Bing: Best places to fall in love again

Read all of Ken’s MSN travel stories here and follow Ken to victory on Twitter 

Thanks to Giada, Dave, Sam, and Dwayne