Celebrating Christmas away from home.
Christmas is the time to spend with family and after 6 years in Argentina, I still get a bit homesick. After all, Christmas is about celebrating, eating and sharing. Many expats find themselves in a similar situation. How do we celebrate Christmas away from home?
Celebrating Christmas in Argentina.
I kept many of the South African traditions when it comes to celebrating Christmas in Argentina. Unfortunately many traditions I cannot keep, like attending a Church service at midnight or on Christmas morning. Many people take this for granted but believe me, if you are a Protestant in a dominantly Roman Catholic country, then it is not easy to find a church, especially in English.
Food plays a very important role in our Christmas celebrations and I am sure it does in other countries as well. We celebrate Christmas in summer, which means, food does not normally consists of hot meals. We make a variety of salads and have a Barbecue or Braai, as we call it in South Africa.
I have many fond memories of celebrating Christmas eve with my family back in South Africa. Huddled around the Christmas tree, opening presents, hugs, laughter and the wonderful feeling of being with family. Every Christmas I decorate our small tree, place the angel at the top and switch on the lights. Decorating the Christmas tree back home was something special and the whole family participated.
New Christmas traditions.
Andrey is Russian Orthodox and he celebrates Christmas on the 6th of January. The Russian calendar works differently to ours. In essence it means he gets to celebrate Christmas twice. The one thing we don`t do is to buy Christmas presents for each other. It was a personal decision we made years ago and we stick by it.
There are normally two movies that we watch on Christmas eve – Christmas Carols and Home Alone I. They are both feel good movies with an important lesson for people of all ages.
Expats celebrating Christmas away from home.
I read a very interesting article about a group of Expats that got together in Korea. They bought a lot of food and had a gift exchange – A “White Elephant” gift exchange! Yes, we all have one of those. Well, each person brings a wrapped gift and then they put all the gifts together and you have random draws. Imagine all the hilarious gifts that people got. That sure put them in the Holiday spirit!
If you are living abroad and unable to spend time with your loved ones, try to surround yourself with caring and loving people. Surround yourself with familiar food and reach out. You will be surprised how many people will take you up on your offer because nobody wants to be lonely on Christmas day!
Christmas away from home quotes.
[quote author=”John Greenleaf Whittier”]Somehow, not only for Christmas but all the long year through, The joy that you give to others Is the joy that comes back to you. And the more you spend in blessing The poor and lonely and sad, The more of your heart’s possessing Returns to you glad. [/quote]