How to celebrate Christmas abroad without your family


It’s this time of the year, when you should spend time with your family and loved ones. However, it can be difficult when living abroad, many thousands of miles away.

Since I’ve already celebrated Christmas 4x abroad, I’d like to share my experiences and tips with you.

Christmas in the USA

My first year abroad on Christmas was the hardest but also nicest at the same time. I spent it in the USA with my host family and all their family members, which were at least 30 of them.

I really enjoyed it since I rather have a small family. With this big host family it was a real American Christmas, how I imagined it from movies – lots of food, playing games, laughing and talking.

I wasn’t even bothered too much, of the fact, that I could only unwrap my presents the 25th instead of 24th.

Christmas abroad in USA

Christmas in Mexico

My second Christmas abroad I spent in Mexico with, let’s say, my temporary/local family. They took good care of me in the beginning and in the end of my stay.

For Christmas in Mexico, I was really excited as I thought it would be totally different. In fact, it wasn’t.

The whole family came over from all around Mexico, lots of food was offered and presents were unwrapped on the 24th. Just like in Germany.

Only the food was way different than the one I usually eat on that day – less meat and more fish, tortillas and tacos. It was the first time I ate Octopus in tortillas. To my surprise, I loved it and ate about 5 or more of them. On the next day I had the results *laugh*. Anyways, it was worth the moment.

One thing Mexicans do differently though is (maybe it was just my family there) that they light artificial fireworks for Christmas after dinner. In Germany this is usually a tradition for New Years.

Everyone who does not know why I lived in Mexico for 6 months, can find out more on my blog.

Christimas abroad in Mexico

Christmas in Ireland

My 3rd and 4th Christmas abroad, I celebrated in Ireland with my close friends who were also “stuck” because of work.

We had a really nice international Christmas dinner with people from France, Germany, The Netherlands, Portugal and Malta.

We came up with a three course Christmas dinner, funny games, some drinks and small presents (of course). Let me tell you, I had a great time and lots of delicious food.

Christmas celebrations in Ireland

In all examples, you see, I created myself a “temporary new family” of people, I enjoyed spending time with those days.

I mean, isn’t Christmas all about spending time with people you like and enjoy being around? Those include close friends or other people, who are important to you for one reason or another.

One Christmas away from your “real” family (considering you will most likely spend around 40+ more together) is nothing that you are going to regret, as you will catch up later. Plus, you will have so much fun with new traditions and rituals, enjoy delicious food, laugh out loud (when it comes to language barriers) and much more.

I am happy to say that I have at least 3 families around the globe now, of which each of them would welcome me back with open arms. One American, one Mexican and one German.

I love all of you and can’t wait to see you again. In that sense:

Merry Christmas!

Feliz Navidad!

Frohe Weihnachten!

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