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A Very Expat Christmas-Celebrating Holidays from Overseas

Updated on September 6, 2020

Celebrating Christmas in a Foreign Land

Living abroad, expats are generally released from traditional obligations around the holiday seasons, however they can still feel pangs of sentiment, nostalgia and loneliness at these festive times.

This can be especially prevalent in countries where Christmas is not customary, such as in predominant Buddhist, Muslim or Hindu cultures.

Here are some tips to help make Christmas feel more familiar and enjoyable whilst overseas:

Reinvent Christmas with a local flavour

Why not invite locals to celebrate your tradition and help them discover something new about you and your culture? It’s a fun way to connect with those around you and lessen your loneliness. Mix local cuisine with some traditional favourites.

Spend time with other expats

Although I was not surrounded by people from my country, Australia; one year whilst living in Cambodia, I celebrated having a traditional French Xmas dinner, complete with cheese fondue everything and red wine! I enjoyed learning how my French pals do it and discovered similarities and differences between our cultures. It was a delicious!

Decorate your Home

You may not be in your “home” home, but at least you can still feel festive by decorating your living space Christmas ornaments. If you’re living in Asia, potted palm trees make a great alternative for a traditional Christmas tree. Grab a set of fairy lights, a few baubles and voilà! You have yourself a tropical Christmas tree fit for any celebrations.

Make it Fun

It’s not just another day. Make your Christmas memorable by doing something extra fun!

One year, I was invited by a group of expats to celebrate Christmas in a totally new way; by taking part in a traditional Khmer photo shoot! Cambodia is well known for this quirky activity whereby you visit a local photography studio and a team of make-up artists and stylists dress you up in traditional Khmer costumes such as an Apsara Dancer or Khmer King superimposed on Angkorian temples. We had a blast guzzling champagne and playing dress ups! The result was a completely unique and unforgettable experience with the photos to prove it.

Send Christmas cheer with holiday ecards

This is an inexpensive and instant option to send good Christmas cheer around the globe. Sending conventional Christmas cards via the international postal service can be costly and timely. Choosing to send ecards is the best way for expats to send their festive wishes straight to their loved ones’ mobile devices.

Some of the best ecard sites are:

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