When you live far away from home, the question always comes up at holiday time. What are you doing for Christmas? Are you going home? I guess probably the majority of us go home but its not always a given, certainly not for Mr Wanderlust and I. So it got me thinking… What are the 5 ways expats do Christmas?
Stay Where You Are
Not withstanding that we have historically chosen not to stay where we are for an expat Christmas, there are so many options for staying in your new country.
Here or, indeed, anywhere else, you can host family to visit you. You can offer the opportunity to get to know a new place while keeping your Things in the relative comfort of their own surroundings and routines. This avoids the worry of carrying presents with you or bringing them home with you too!
In a similar vein, if you can’t convince anyone to come to see you, an Orphan’s Christmas is also an option. We know lots of people who will all congregate together and create their only family for the day between them. In fact, we even invited a couple of people over for Christmas one year after we found out they couldn’t be with their families. If you don’t want to cook for them, here in the Middle East, the hotels put on fabulous brunches. They also offer Turkey-To-Go whereby they cook everything for you, box it up and leave you to eat in the comfort of your own home. GENIUS!
Sure the majority probably do go home. Home is (usually) where family and friends are. It’s where your familiar traditions are. Maybe you left a beloved church back there. Or you have friends who celebrate Christmas not on Christmas (I did this for years with my 5 besties from uni until 2 of us selfishly moved away). There might be beautiful light displays or an annual party that you just love to go to. Whatever the reason(s), it’s familiar and it’s home.
Go to Family
You might have family that moved away but don’t live where you do. We are lucky enough to have family all over the world including in-laws who are in Miami. A home cooked traditional Christmas roast in warmer temperatures is pretty hard to compete with! Or at least it was until we moved 16 hours flight away and the kids started school… Its still tempting to make the trip one year though.
Lots of people we know go away over the Winter break. We did this for the first time last year as we weren’t able to get to our family in the US. I was so gutted not to be able to see some of our favourite people but on the trip we found some awesome advantages.
- We were able to take an amazing trip that we have wanted to take for ages because a large amount of holiday time was freed up.
- I was worried about having 2 weeks of “just us” – I thought we and the Things would get bored of each other and need more stimulation – NOT THE CASE! We came home relaxed, refreshed and full of stories about a wonderful holiday together.
- We weren’t sure how festive we would feel being away but the truth was that staying here the year before didn’t make us feel all that festive either. The resort where we stayed put on loads of Christmassy activities and we had a lovely time.
- Best of all, it was that holiday that made me fall in love with travelling all over again and it even gave me the idea for becoming a family travel blogger. And that has changed my life! I’m not saying you all need to become travel bloggers but you just never know when a good break away with the people you love will give you some time to think and get perspective on what you want.
We don’t normally go back to the UK as we have always found it a very stressful time to visit. Its usually dark and wet and everyone is cold and too busy. Much better to visit at another more relaxing time of year!
We also didn’t really want to stay here. As I said, we hadn’t felt too Christmassy when we stayed here 2 years ago so that wasn’t very appealing. More importantly, the Things have nearly 3 weeks off school so it seemed too good of an opportunity to miss.
Thing 1’s first Christmas was in Colorado where we met up with family to go skiing for a week.
We found the most amazing place to stay where we could all have some space AND spend quality time with each other doing something we loved. It was the first time Thing 1 had been able to spend time with some of those people so we felt especially lucky.
This year we are still going away but we are taking family with us. I’m so excited that Granny Wanderlust will be joining us in Jordan for our 2017 Christmas adventure.
I love travelling with the Things but giving them the opportunity to connect on a trip with other people who they love is just the icing on the top.
So there you have it. Christmas 5 ways for the expats among us. What do you do for the winter holidays?