Okay, so I’m sure I’m going to rub some people up the wrong way with this post (namely my family) but I’m going to say it anyway: spending Christmas abroad is awesome. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy spending Christmas with my family back in England but being abroad adds a whole new dimension to the celebrations. If you’re quickly approaching your first Christmas overseas and it’s making you a little anxious, let me tell you why spending Christmas away from home is so darn good.
1. No Christmas stress
C’mon, let’s be honest here. Christmas is stressful. There are a million and one things to do in the lead up to the big day and very few of them are enjoyable. With everything from organising your annual leave to making sure all of your shopping is done on time, there is plenty to worry about at this time of year. There are also dietary requirements to consider, how you’re going to pay your bills in January and listening to Grandad’s overly political conversation at dinner. When you spend Christmas abroad, you have as much of this stress as you choose to have, namely not much. Chances are you won’t be cooking a big roast or worrying about offending Aunt Betty by refusing her invitation to watch the Queen’s speech. If you want, you can even opt out of Christmas entirely.
2. You can spend the holidays somewhere hot
As I am a Brit, we’ll use the UK as an example. Anyone living in the UK will tell you that winter sucks. It is cold, frosty and downright nasty. For most people, it seems they are willing to tolerate this terrible weather in the hopes of a white Christmas, which never comes. Apparently, the last white Christmas was in 2010 but I’ve never met anyone who saw it and I was actually spending Christmas at home too! As global warming leads to harsher winters, more people are jumping ship to spend the holidays somewhere hot. And who can blame them? I would definitely rather sit on a beach sipping coconut milk than in front of a gas fire being forced to watch the four-hour soap marathon.
3. It can be as cheap or expensive as you like
Everybody knows that Christmas is the most expensive time of the year. Families struggle for months to afford the new iPad for their five-year-old and everyone gets so wrapped up in the commercialism that we forget what it is all about. Now imagine a world where you don’t have to spend two months of your year (and salary) preparing for the big day. Of course, you don’t need to be abroad to save on Christmas but spending the holidays somewhere new gives you fewer expectations for the big day.
4. See things from a new perspective
One of my favourite things about spending Christmas away from home is the opportunity to see what others do to mark the festive season. During my time spent in China, Christmas was highly commercialised because they are not a Christian country. This means that whilst they have the trees in shopping centres, Christmas is mainly an excuse for sales to push profit. I spent that Christmas with my fellow teachers enjoying our attempt at a British celebration overseas. However, this year, Tim and I will spending Christmas in Peru where a huge proportion of the country are Roman Catholic. This will be yet another new insight as to how Christmas is celebrated around the globe.
5. It will bond you and your travel buddies
When it comes to being on the road at Christmas time, you can expect that not everyone will be looking forward to spending the festive season abroad. With this in mind, it is important to support those who are struggling with the idea of spending the holidays away from home. By spending Christmas with your new found travel buddies you can swap stories of how you usually celebrate and enjoy the day together. No-one should be lonely on Christmas after all!
6. It has never been easier to check in with your family
The reason I hear most frequently for spending Christmas at home is to be with family. Whilst this can be one of the best parts of the festive season, it would be wrong to say you need to be in the same country to do this. Technology has evolved to the point where it has never been easier to connect with people thousands of miles away. Facetime, Skype and the old-fashioned phone call mean that it is nearly always possible to check in with your family at home. Okay so you might not be able to sit on the sofa with them but if you can still chat about grandma’s snoring and your intense dislike for sprouts – it will be like you never left!
For more tips on staying in touch with your family while you travel, check out this post!
7. You can do what you want
My absolute favourite thing about spending Christmas abroad is the freedom to do exactly what I want. Whilst I really enjoy Christmas Day at home, I much prefer Christmas Eve when the anticipation of the big day is still building. I have had more than a few Christmas Eves where I have got really carried away and spent all day bowing to the porcelain God the following day. Whilst spewing up last night’s intake isn’t fun, I think I would’ve enjoyed the day a lot more if I could’ve just spent it in bed. However, Christmas being what it is, I was expected to be up before midday and eating at least enough of a roast dinner to make my mum’s six hours of cooking worthwhile. Spending Christmas abroad cuts out any of that obligation and you are free to enjoy the day, however, you want.
What are your thoughts on spending Christmas abroad?
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