Even the most experienced traveller or long-term expat gets a little homesick during the holidays. It can be difficult to be away from family at the best of times, but the holiday season can make it even harder.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make Christmas more enjoyable, so you’ll look back on your Christmas abroad with fond memories.
Here are some top tips for celebrating Christmas while travelling:
Create your own Christmas
Pack a mini tree and some Christmas stockings, and decorate your hotel room or apartment. One good thing about Christmas being such a consume-fest, is that regardless of where you are, you can usually find a small Christmas tree and some decorations (or substitutes).
While it can be sad to be alone on Christmas, imagine being alone and sick in hospital, or alone and in a homeless shelter. The true spirit of Christmas is about being selfless and generous. Instead of exchanging gifts, head to a local soup kitchen or shelter. See if any hospitals or living homes need volunteers to bring some Christmas spirit to those who need it most. The holidays are a hard time for many people, so even taking some time out of your day to buy lunch or a cup of coffee for someone in need may be a great way to spread some cheer when you’re away from your family.
Explore local traditions
When I was in Thailand for my first Christmas, I wasn’t expecting much of a Christmas celebration at all. And I was super surprised to see massive Christmas trees and decorations going up in early November.
Even if the country you’re visiting doesn’t celebrate Christmas, you could take this opportunity to celebrate a holiday that they do celebrate instead. Spend some time getting to know the locals and see what they’ll be doing around the holiday period.
Send some Christmas cards
Just as the holidays can be difficult for people who are away from home, they can also be difficult for those who are left behind. Luckily, you can create your own holiday greeting cards and even family Christmas cards online, and get them sent to your family and friends. Best of all, right now Basic Invite is offering 30% off with coupon code: holi30.
Do something different
Some travellers prefer to ignore the holiday season and go out of their way to do something completely unrelated to Christmas. This can actually be a great idea, particularly if you’re somewhere super hot and you’re used to a white Christmas- it may not even feel like Christmas anyway.
Go for a hike, take SCUBA lessons, grab a massage, or go souvenir shopping. This will take your mind off of any homesickness and allow you distract yourself with a new activity.
Are you travelling for the holidays? How will you celebrate Christmas this year? Leave a comment below and let me know.