Where did you spend Christmas this year? Christmas abroad can be a very different experience from what you are used to back at home. Some countries do not celebrate Christmas at all, and even in some Christian countries the whole experience can be unrecognisable from what you are used to. It can therefore be quite a difficult time to be away from home, and if you are prone to homesickness it can be very hard. Here are some tips to help you get through next Christmas if you found the last one difficult spending it abroad.
So how can you make sure you enjoy your Christmas when you are away?
Enjoy the Local Customs
Christmas is almost certain to be different from your standard Christmas back home, but that does not mean you will not enjoy it. This is a great time to find out more about the local customs and traditions surrounding the festive season in your new country, and you may find that after you have spent a Christmas abroad you feel a lot more familiar with your surroundings.
Prepare Your Own Traditions
If you have expat friends from your own country, prepare something more familiar for you to all enjoy together. Put on a turkey lunch, buy some crackers, set up a Christmas tree, and make sure that there is something a bit more familiar around you.
That is not to say that you should try to make it into your traditional Christmas. Instead, try to enjoy a mix of the best of both worlds. Christmas can be a great time to share your own culture and traditions with the locals so that they know a bit more about you, and it can turn into a very interesting cultural exchange.
Sort Out Your Presents Early
If you are going to send any cards or presents back to your home country, make sure you do so well in advance. Some countries do not have very efficient postal systems, so don’t leave it to the last minute and instead start your planning before the end of November.
It is also a good idea to find out about the process for receiving any presents from your friends and family back home. Sometimes it is not as easy as simply waiting for them to turn up on your doorstep as there may be all kinds of processes to complete and forms to fill in. If you are prone to homesickness then there is nothing worse than knowing that the Christmas present from your parents is held up at customs because you did not get the right paperwork together in time.
Keep in Touch
If you cannot be with your friends and family at Christmas time, keeping in touch becomes even more important. A Skype chat on Christmas Day will go down well with family back home and will be an excellent boost for you if you are feeling a bit down.
Get More from Your Christmas Abroad
Christmas can be an excellent time to share cultural traditions with your new friends abroad. Make sure you go to local events and any traditional meals or parties that you are invited to, and in return consider inviting locals to your own Christmas event. There is the potential for homesickness at this time of year, but with a bit of planning and an open mind you can turn it into an enjoyable and fascinating cultural experience.