It would be impossible for me to know what it’s like for you if you’re experiencing your first Christmas as an expat because you could be living anywhere! However, if you’re feeling low or just need a bit of advice for the festive season, I might be able to help.
What goes on in Your Four Walls is Your Business!
If you’re someone who is used to putting up a Christmas tree and decorating your home so you can really get that sense of cosiness at this time of year, don’t feel you can’t just because the locals don’t do the same. After all, it’s your home and experiencing Christmas away from your own country for the first time can leave you feeling a little, shall we say, homesick. So, go ahead and do whatever it takes to make you feel comfortable.
This is especially important if you have children because they will probably still be at the stage where they’re settling into their new surroundings as well. Depending on how old they are the idea that Santa will still pay them a visit is important no matter how this time of year is celebrated in your chosen country.
I’m a Fan of Integration
You may not think so, but you can get the best of both worlds. For instance, where I live Christmas Eve is when it all happens. The locals get together with family and friends so they can eat, drink and generally get pretty merry! This is also the time when gifts are exchanged so if you have managed to make friends with some of your neighbours, embrace the way they celebrate at this time of year.
Family and Friends
This is possibly the hardest thing to deal with. For many of you, it won’t be possible to spend Christmas with the loved ones you’ve left behind in your home country (no tears now)! But, that doesn’t mean you can’t still make it special. Make use of the technology you have available to you so you can make video calls, or if that’s not possible why not send each other a festive DVD to watch?
In fact, you may well be experiencing a far less stressful Christmas than many other people. Think about it? If you’re used to the whole family getting together there won’t be any worries about Mum-in-Law throwing a tantrum because she thinks you’re not cooking the turkey just right, or Dad has one too many whiskeys and makes a fool of himself!
Yes, this time of year can be hard if this is your first Christmas as an expat but embracing what you already know along with new experiences on how your new friends and neighbours celebrate really can make for a fun time. Just remember, you moved to another country for a reason and Christmas only comes around once a year.
Author: Julie Coburn