Celebrating Christmas as an expat
Whether you're going home this Christmas or spending it abroad, relocation specialist Crown Relocations has some tips for you.
Travelling back home for Christmas
All around the world, Christmas is a time for celebrating with family; for many expats, it means taking a trip home. We have put together a list of the things you may need to remember when travelling back home for the holidays.
1. Check your finances
Travelling back home for Christmas is often exciting, but it’s easy to get carried away with the expense of making the trip. Remember to double-check your spending money. Think about when your next paycheck will come in. Will you have enough money to make the trip and see and do everything you’d like? Budgeting early can help you prepare for this.
It's also a good idea to check if you can use your bank or credit card while you’re there. You might want to get a different card and load money onto it to spend while you’re away. A great example would be the Monzo card. Alternatively, you could take cash instead.
And don't forget to keep an eye out for extravagant mobile phone bill charges on your Christmas break! Check your tariff plan or speak to your provider for any travel plans you can add.
2. Be prepared for lots of questions
Your arrival home can be an exciting time for everyone. No matter how long you’ve been away, your loved ones will have many things to ask you about and many things to share themselves.
3. Changes at your home
Knowing things may have changed since you moved can help you settle when coming home for Christmas. Understanding that life continues after you have moved away can be hard, but once you come to terms with it, you’ll be prepared for the changes.
4. Giving and receiving gifts
Christmas usually means giving presents to loved ones. If you are celebrating, be prepared to give and receive gifts. Don’t leave all your shopping to the last minute, which many of us are guilty of! You could also try shopping online and having the presents delivered to family or friends and collecting them when you arrive, saving luggage space.
5. Don’t over-pack your suitcase
Speaking of saving luggage space, remember not to put too much in your suitcase when travelling back home for Christmas. Work around your luggage allowance when travelling. And, don’t forget, you may have some gifts to bring back at the end of your trip!
6. Make a list and check it twice
Make a list of everything you’ll need to do before you leave. Having it all written down will help you work through it all and give you peace of mind that you have not forgotten anything (such as the next thing on this list!).
7. Empty your fridge
Before you leave, get rid of all smelly foods or items that will expire during your time away. You don't want to come back to a stinky house!
8. Take lots of photos
When you have moved abroad, seeing family is really special so capturing the moment is a great idea. Taking pictures can be a great way to reflect and reminisce on fun times when your trip is over.
Celebrating Christmas abroad
Living abroad is an adventure that only some get to experience. The downside to this is sometimes having to spend Christmas away from home and your loved ones. The festive season can bring out the traditionalist in us, wanting a Christmas just like at home. However, there are ways that you can keep the festive spirit alive while spending Christmas abroad.
1. Online shops
Make use of the internet and order your favourite festive foods from back home. This way, you’ll have your home comforts, no matter where you are.
2. Decorate your home
Putting up your Christmas tree and any Christmas decorations you brought with you when you relocated will surely spark your festive spirit. All those decorations will have memories attached to Christmases you’ve experienced before. While you can’t be with your loved ones this year, having a piece of Christmas from home should help.
If you’re feeling lonely this Christmas, why not consider helping with a charity event near you? You could help at a soup kitchen or work at the local church this Christmas. It will also be a way for you to meet new people who have also contributed.
4. Keep your old traditions
Don’t stop doing all those things that make Christmas unique for you and your family. Depending on where you live now, you may need to adapt some traditions. However, if you can keep those little family traditions alive, you will feel Christmassy in no time.
5. Create new traditions, try what the locals do
Christmas is one of the best times to immerse yourself in the local culture. Find out what Christmas and New Year’s activities are happening near you. Something may be happening to make this Christmas season extra special for you and your family.
6. Keep in touch with family and friends, bridge the physical gap
With video calling and instant messaging, it is much easier to keep in contact. Pre-arrange a time with loved ones from home so that your time differences and plans for the day won’t interfere. This way, you can see each other open gifts, see how the other has decorated and feel like you are there with them.
Have a merry Christmas!
Christmas is a time for joy and celebration, so make sure to celebrate your Christmas to the fullest. Whether you are spending Christmas abroad or travelling back home, we hope you have a very merry Christmas!
If you are looking to move to the Netherlands, Crown Relocations are on hand to help you during every stage of your move, as well as provide you with in-depth city guides to help you get started.