EXPAT GUIDE FOR SPENDING CHRISTMAS ABROAD
Spending Christmas abroad as an expat can feel exciting, thrilling, new, different but maybe also lonely and homesick. Perhaps more than ever you feel just how far you are from friends and family. All in all, it can be an emotional rollercoaster.
The best advice we can give you in order to enjoy the Christmas holiday despite feeling so far away from home is to decide to do so. Your attitude is the key because if you focus on everything that is missing then it’s going to become a miserable day for sure. Whereas if you focus on making it a really fun day, embracing what’s there and the people that are with you, then you will have a wonderful day to look back on.
In addition to the positive attitude, here are a few tips on how to make the best of spending Christmas abroad:
- Christmas is all about the tradition and that’s exactly what makes it so special to each country and to each family. Try to bring some of your family traditions with you to your new country to make Christmas abroad feel like Christmas at home.
- It’s also an opportunity to create new traditions which in future years you can take with you to the next place! Christmas is a combination of family traditions taken from yours and your partner’s families. Then if or when you have children you create your own set of traditions. Discover how other people celebrate Christmas and maybe you will adopt a few ideas you enjoyed, making new traditions for your family.
- Celebrate with new friends, whether other expats or locals, it’s a time for people to share and get together, that works in every country.
- Have Christmas dinner with a local twist. It may not be possible to have a turkey with all the trimmings so don’t stress trying to recreate a “perfect” Christmas dinner. No turkey? A roast chicken makes a lovely substitute. And why not add some local touches to your Christmas dinner? Some kelewele, wagashi or jollof can be a nice side dish to the roasted chicken! No Christmas tree? Palm trees look lovely when decorated. No snow? Build a Sand Man on the beach. You can have the feeling of Christmas even when abroad!
- Decorate your home and fill it with the smells and tastes of Christmas
- Keep in touch, take the time to plan phone calls with your family and friends to make sure you speak to them. Hearing the voices of loved ones will fill you with holiday cheer.
- Watch your favorite Christmas movies, whether Elf, Home Alone or Love Actually. The Christmas music, beautiful decorations, Christmas trees and snow will instantly bring you into the festive spirit. Add some simple holiday treats like hot chocolate and sugar cookies and you have yourself a wonderful cozy moment.
- Do something fun. Sometimes doing something new or taking a local getaway is the best cure for the holiday blues. Spending Christmas abroad can be a time to try something different and unconventional. It will likely not be like celebrating Christmas at home, but it can be special and memorable in its way.
- Buy yourself a Christmas gift, pick a special treat for yourself
- Volunteer your time if you can, helping others is a rewarding part of holiday traditions. Sorting out through your things and making donations to charity, volunteering to be part of a beach clean-up or assisting at an animal shelter, will bring a special joy.
In summary, attitude is key and if you follow a few tips above, you should have a different but memorable Christmas abroad.
All that’s left to say now is that we wish you a very merry one, whether in Ghana or back home!!
Sources: xpatchild, monkeysandmountains, internationalcitizens
Photo credits @ Notabene