Living overseas is a rollercoaster of emotions for many.
Wonderful new experiences and friendships, interspersed with moments of acute homesickness.
Particularly at times of celebration or commiseration.
Weddings, funerals, christenings, milestone birthdays.
And most definitely holidays.
Over this Thanksgiving week I’ve noticed many an American yearning for stuffed turkey, a table bursting with family and friends, football and a parade.
Next on the calendar for many is Christmas.
For some, Christmas conjures up thoughts of snow, ham and a midnight church service.
For others, Christmas is all about eating chilled prawns, sitting on a picnic blanket in the shade, followed by an afternoon of sun, surf and sand football.
And for others, Christmas is about volunteering at a soup kitchen or welcoming neighbours to their table.
What does Christmas mean to you?
And could it travel with you?
Or will Christmas wherever you are, away from home, be bittersweet?
Here are some tips to make it memorable, enjoyable and filled with gratitude.
Tips for Spending Christmas Away From Home
- Explore what’s on offer wherever you’ll be, via churches, community groups, local government, restaurants or tourism associations. Even if the language differs, the atmosphere is bound to be buoyant and interesting. If Christmas isn’t celebrated, you still can, with a little creativity and initiative.
- What do you enjoy most about your Christmas traditions from ‘home’? Can you emulate them where you are? Could you share your favourite customs with a new local friend or traveller? Could you make items to decorate the house or table? Create a similar meal?
- If it’s people you miss most, and they are not able to visit you, could you plan to connect via Skype or phone? You could even have a meal together, or watch them unwrap a present you sent, or join in on the carols. Consider staying connected even when not actively talking, to feel part of their day. If you are solo, also plan to meet another expat or traveller.
- Do something completely different to what you’d do at ‘home’. This might be going to church, or cross-country skiing, or surfing, or hiking, or celebrating on Christmas Eve, or eating local traditional fare, or offering to cover someone’s shift so they may have Christmas Day with their family. This helps make it a memorable Christmas. It’s also often a cheap day to fly, so consider a trip.
- Focus on the many other opportunities living and travelling overseas has offered you, not just on what you are missing out on this Christmas. There will be others.
- Do something nice for someone else. And for yourself.
For us this Christmas, hubbie is expected to be away for work, so our daughters and I are thinking of an island day. Never before have we spent Christmas Day on a small sandy island, with snorkelling just off the beach, a volleyball net and thatched huts. Santa will no doubt arrive in a boat, we’ll have a seafood feast at lunchtime, and enjoy three-of-four family time. Perhaps another family or two might join us. Grandparents, siblings and cousins will be in Australia, so we’ll plan a Skype call before or after our island trip – and look forward to lots of extended family time when we next visit our ‘other home’.
Where will you be for Christmas? I’d love to hear. Comment below.
This post is part of the #MyGlobalLife Link-up at SmallPlanetStudio.com – honoured!