It’s beginning to look a lot like – well, just before Hallowe’en, to be honest, but now’s the time to start looking around to book a great Christmas holiday.

Mid October can be the optimum time to bag a real bargain if you’re looking for a dream staycation, or to find a perfect Christmas break.

This week, here are a few early Christmas crackers to look out for, starting close to home before moving farther afield.

First up, and The K Club needs no introduction, with the 5-star country resort set practically a bauble’s throw away in Kildare wowing all year round, not just at Christmas.

However, Christmas is arguably when The K Club is at its most magical, welcoming guests looking for an extra-special treat close to home, or those simply looking to relax away from it all.

Families are well catered for, with a certain Mr S Claus calling to the hotel, while activities for kids will keep them entertained.

Adults, meanwhile, can expect the very best of pampering, courtesy of the resort’s award-winning spa, and much more besides.

An opulent, ultra-luxurious two-night family Christmas at The K Club starts from €995 per night, with interconnecting family rooms for an additional €200 per night for up to two children, with all meals included for each child.

For further information, see www.kclub.ie.

Sleigh away on a foreign holiday

However, if you’re looking for a Christmas break away from Ireland, why not consider turning to Travel Department?

Its experts are well used to sending Irish holidaymakers away to dream holidays with the best of snow and ice, or sun and sand, with Christmas breaks to cater for the coolest of getways and the warmest of welcomes.

Take to German waters for the Christmas Rhine River Cruise (Cologne-Cologne), which should be very enthralling. Visit Cologne, Dusseldorf, Koblenz, Strasbourg and Mainz along your cruise.

Stop in Speyer where you will have free time to explore the former imperial town or attend Christmas mass before a Christmas party on-board the ship with dinner and entertainment.

Departing December 22, this holiday is full-board, with free time to visit various Christmas markets.

Alternatively, plump for Christmas in the Algarve, departing to Faro on December 19 for seven nights.

Visit nearby Spain where you will journey to the city of Seville to take a guided tour, visiting the Barrio de Santa Cruz, the Jewish Quarter and Maria Luisa Park.

On Christmas Eve, enjoy a festive feast at your hotel, and enjoy a sumptuous Christmas Day dinner.

This half-board, excursion-inclusive holiday is also available as a Solo Traveller option (with no single supplement) for those who wish to travel alone.

Last but not least, Lake Garda needs no introduction to Irish holidaymakers. Fly to Italy on December 20/22, and relax in the beautiful town of Riva del Garda for seven nights.

Take a trip to Venice and explore its truly vast range of historic canals, piazzas and bridges.

Spend the day in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Verona and visit Juliet’s Balcony, and explore the cultural melting pot of Bolzano.

On Christmas Day, enjoy a festive Christmas lunch and a sumptuous candlelit Christmas dinner.

For full prices, details and conditions of these trips, see www.traveldepartment.ie or call 01 637 1600.