If you’re spending the holidays abroad this year, don’t worry, there are ways to get through this holiday season without missing home too much.
As the weather gets cooler and stores begin to put up their decorations, we all get excited for the holidays. Between eating turkey on Thanksgiving, listening to Christmas music on the radio, and preparing our New Year’s resolutions, it’s easy to see why people love the holiday season. The best part of celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas, for me, is celebrating all my friends and family. If you’re spending the holidays abroad this year, don’t worry, there are ways to get through this holiday season without missing home too much.
One of the best things about spending the holidays abroad is that you can keep it simple. As merry and bright as the holiday season can be, it can also be stressful. Spending Thanksgiving or Christmas abroad requires no planning of food for the entire family, no time spent decorating, or making sure there are tons of gifts underneath the tree. In fact, you don’t have to have any plans at all. Keeping an open mind and an open schedule will not only keep your holidays stress free but will also let you have spontaneous adventures. Two years ago, when I spent Christmas abroad, instead of just staying inside all day watching movies, my friend and I spent the day at Disneyland Paris! Hanging out and going on all the rides was so much fun, and definitely made it a memorable Christmas.
It’s best to treat your Thanksgiving or Christmas abroad like any other day. This isn’t your typical Thanksgiving, so there is no need for high expectations for making a full Thanksgiving dinner for all your friends.. Find something fun and new to do. Maybe check out a show, or take a trip for the weekend. You’ll come to find that the rest of the world doesn’t stop for Thanksgiving so there will be plenty of things for you to do. It’s important that when you’re away from your family, friends and familiar things, to get out and surround yourself with people and activities. Being alone will only leave you sad and missing home.
Surrounding yourself with familiar things is the best way to dodge any loneliness you may be feeling during the holidays. Christmas abroad is a little easier to celebrate because many other countries are just as festive during this time of the year. You’ll see all the decorations going up and hear the Christmas music being played in shopping centers and start to feel right at home. Spending Christmas away from my family during my study abroad was hard, and I definitely missed being home and all our Christmas traditions. But it’s easy to bring your Christmas traditions with you! If you go ice skating every year with your friends, find an ice rink and keep that tradition alive.
If you really start to miss home, just pick up the phone and call or Skype home. The holidays are all about family, so its only natural to feel a little homesick while you’re abroad during this time of year. Keeping in touch with your family at home will make surviving the holidays abroad so much easier. No matter where you are this holiday season, just remember that this time of year is about being thankful for all the blessings we’ve had throughout the year, and spreading joy with everyone you meet. Happy Holidays!