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Make the Most of Spending the Holidays Abroad

December, and the end of the year, is often a tricky time for expats. If you’re not traveling back home to visit friends and family, spending the festive season abroad can be a daunting experience — especially if it’s for the first time. But not to worry! We’ve got some tips to make your season merrier.

(Re)Create a Piece of Home

At this time of year, we see lots of groups on InterNations getting together to celebrate the festive season. Our members introduce their own Christmas and New Year’s Eve traditions to each other, with food being a common theme — and always a great reason to meet up!

So, use this opportunity to (re)create and share a piece of home. For example, you could share the joy of Plätzchen (Christmas cookies) through a joint baking session.

Or join in on activities that you associate with the season. The Tokyo Music Lovers Group, for example, is heading to a Nutcracker concert on 24 December.

Reach Out to Those in the Same Boat

If you’re staying put, don’t be shy! Reach out to those who are in the same position as you.

For whatever reason, be it work, money, family, there will be many who aren’t going home for the holidays, either. And InterNations is the perfect way to find like-minded folks to celebrate with, by either posting or joining an event.

You can check out these Christmas activities in San Francisco and São Paulo for inspiration. Or have a look in your calendar for events like the aptly named Orphans Christmas Eve Dinner in Sydney.

Throw Yourself into the Local Culture

Many expats find that especially the first time spending the holidays abroad can be a shock. You discover yourself missing the little things. Houses with over-the-top holiday decorations. German Glühwein (hot wine with spices). Or going to KFC for Christmas dinner …

Our advice: be open to the local culture. Throw yourself into the experience, meet people, and ask them to share their customs with you. Mutton curry for dinner, not poultry. Presents a day earlier (or later) than you’re used to. And Boxing Day shopping instead of a visit to the Christmas market — or vice versa.

Speaking of Christmas markets: if there are any where you live, this is a tradition we can gladly recommend! And it’s also a favorite activity among members: from an after-work visit to the local Xmas market (Gløgg included!) in Copenhagen to trying Flammlachs in Munich (rumored to be the best food in town).

Or Mix It Up a Little

If you’ve got time on your hands, but aren’t making a big journey back home, how about a little adventure instead?

The holidays can be the perfect time to discover something new. Make that city trip to Vienna you’d been wanting to do for ages. Discover Jingle Bricks and Merry Figs at Legoland like our Dubai Socialites Group. Finally try out snowboarding (but don’t forget the safety gear!).

Or simply stay home and treat yourself to a new book and a relaxing bubble bath. Immerse yourself in whatever you enjoy — and make the holidays that extra bit special.

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