Here are 6 simple ways to brighten your holidays if you are a long way from home!
This year I’ll be celebrating my holidays outside of the United States for the first time. Heck its my first time really being away from home! Yeah, sure I was away from home at college near Boston I always managed to get back to New Jersey before the last decorations were hung.
I first realized how different the holidays would be in Seoul during Thanksgiving. Okay, so maybe I ate Turkey three times that weekend but it wasn’t as good as my family’s usual feast and what REALLY makes the holiday is of course, family. That being said I am grateful for my work family and friends here for helping me feel at home while living nearly 7000 miles away from my folks.
1) Celebrate and spend time with fellow expats.
Chances are they are in the same situation as you and missing their family too. If you are from the same country you can bond over traditions that you share. If you are from different countries than you get even more insight into how the world celebrates a particular holiday. I brought dreidels to all my Thanksgiving celebrations turning it into Thanksgivukkah and was surprised at how many Americans had never played before!
2) Celebrate and spend time with the locals.
Chances are they have heard of your holiday; especially if its Christmas. I was surprised to learn how few Koreans knew about Hanukkah but didn’t let it get me down. I took it as an opportunity to reciprocate all they have taught me about their culture. Every country celebrates holidays differently and it can be fun to experience the traditions and notice similarities. You’ll be surprised at how many of the locals want to show you the way they celebrate. I’m excited to see how Koreans get into the holiday cheer even though they don’t decorate or have nearly the same shopping craze as Americans.
3) Continue your old traditions
Even if its just listening to Little Drummer Boy or Last Christmas on repeat, play your favorite songs and games. It will keep your spirits up even if you are homesick. You can email mom for grandma’s recipe and share it with all your new friends too. (she may even get the hint and send you a care package) If you always donate to the needy then keep it up! There are needy folks everywhere. If you usually volunteer at the local food bank to help the hungry then talk to your local friends and find one at your new locale. Whatever it is you do to bring the holiday spirit out in yourself I’m confident you can find a way to make it happen around the world.