First Christmas Abroad: Surviving Your First Christmas Away from Home
Thursday, 12 Dec 2019
If you are an expat living away from your home and family for the first time, homesickness may hit you hard coming up to and during the festive season. Of course, this is normal for every expat to experience but it’s best to do things that will help to take your mind off the homesickness and bring you some Christmas cheer! Send My Bag have put together this blog with tips on how to survive a Christmas away from home.
1. Get Together with Friends
Spend even more time with your friends to make up for the family time that you are missing out on. If your friends are busy spending time with their family, look out for any social events posted on Facebook groups for expats in your area. The mobile app Meet Up is a great resource for finding activities to do and meeting other people. Chances are there will be lots of other expats in the same position as you. It may also be good to check out the places where the local people in your area usually go at Christmas time, introduce yourself to the locals and get to know them. Christmas time brings a universal warm and friendly atmosphere, so it is very likely that you will feel welcomed!
2. Get Involved with the Local Celebrations
It is best to be open-minded about the local Christmas traditions in your new home, even if you do find them very strange in comparison to your home traditions. A huge and exciting part of living abroad is the newness of it – new experiences, new culture, and new people. What better time to immerse yourself into a new place than at Christmas, when the culture and its people really come to life to celebrate the festive season.
Volunteering at Christmas, or at any time of the year is a great thing to do to help others but can also be beneficial for yourself. Knowing that you have helped someone can bring a huge sense of joy and reward and can overshadow the feelings of loneliness and sadness that you may get from homesickness. Volunteering is another great way to get involved with the local community and meet new people.
Regular FaceTime or Skype sessions with your family can help you to feel that little bit closer and more connected to your family. You could make a Skype or FaceTime call to your family when they are opening their presents from you and vice versa or when your family are having a gathering with food, drinks, and games to make the calls more cheerful and Christmassy.
5. Christmas Movies
Cosying up on the sofa with a blanket, a cup of tea or a warm cup of hot chocolate and a classic Christmas movie on the TV can give you that snug festive feeling that you are missing from home. Watching a movie from your childhood can bring back happy memories and cheer you up.
6. Decorate Your Home
What better way to bring your mood up about being away from home than covering your new home in festive decorations. Turn on your favourite festive songs and start brightening up your home and your mood with Christmas baubles, tinsel and fairy lights.
7. Care Package
If they haven’t done so already, ask your family to send you over a care package with all of your favourite festive treats from home. Whether it’s a scented candle that you love, a specific brand of hot chocolate or something that you and your family traditionally eat at Christmas. Filling your home with familiar tastes and smells can create a homely and Christmassy feeling for you. With Send My Bags simple and secure international parcel shipping service, care packages can be sent straight to your door.
8. Host a Party
Perhaps you have a group of expat friends who are also spending this Christmas away from their family. If so, why not gather everyone together and throw a Christmas party? It may end up turning out to be bigger and better than any Christmas gathering you’ve had at home.
9. Treat Yourself
Treat yourself to a gift that will help to cheer you up. Give yourself some extra TLC. After all, it is Christmas!
10. Do Christmas Your Own Way
As much as Christmas time at home can bring your family closer together, it can also bring some family drama and division. There may be arguments about which family members you’re going to spend time with, or people may have different opinions on what to do for Christmas celebrations. Take the Christmas that you spend away from home as an opportunity to do what you want!
A Christmas away from home can feel very strange at first, but you can make it your own and start creating your own traditions – making your Christmas as an expat special and memorable.
Perhaps you need to send gifts to your family at home? Our door-to-door parcel shipping service is a very simple and secure way to do this.
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