My wife and I are thinking of taking our first trip to Prague sometime during, Dec. 23 - Jan. 8. Will probably stay around 12 days or so. My questions are, should we just skip Christmas and arrive after and take in New Years or arrive on the 23rd or 22nd of December? Does the city shut down on the holidays? We want to explore Prague and take in as many of the sites as possible, will most be open during this time? Will we miss out on a lot being closed? We'll probably take a trip to Cesky Kumov and know the castle will be closed. We're bummed about that. Any other major sites that might be closed? And lastly, is this just a pretty good time in general to experience Prague the first time. Oh and we're fine with just walking the streets and soaking up the culture as well too.
I was in Prague this past New Year's and it's a LOT of fun, but be prepared for large and rowdy crowds, especially if you're around Wenceslas Square. I'm 21 and it was great--lots of bars, people everywhere, music, etc.--but if that's not your scene, I'd definitely advise you to stay away from that part of this city on New Year's. Besides that, museums were open even on New Year's Day and there were a lot of people out, so you definitely won't be stuck inside the hotel.
Besides that, Prague is a beautiful city to just wander around and absorb the architecture and cityscape. You can spend hours wandering the winding streets and always wind up somewhere familiar, but see something new on each trip.
Side note: As in any big city, be very careful about pickpockets, especially in the castle area. Two of my friends had their wallets snatched there, at almost the exact same location, so just keep your eyes open.
Have fun! I can't wait to go back some day!
I visited Prague during Easter. I can assure you, NOTHING was closed.