So you’re spending Christmas alone?
No family or significant other, and you’re a million miles away from home? First things first: don’t despair.
This is not the worst thing that could ever happen to you. Even though you may prefer a traditional Christmas complete with turkey, all the trimmings and the people you love, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy yourself trying out something different in a new place.
Here are list of twelve tips to make the most of a foreign Christmas alone and not home:
1. Get out of the house
This is a must. If you spend the whole day moping around and feeling sorry for yourself it will inevitably be the saddest and loneliest Christmas of your life. Good things will happen on the other side of that front door, I promise.
2. Find someone
to spend Christmas with. This will be easier or harder depending on how long you’ve been in your Christmas destination for and how many people you know there, but it’s never impossible to find other people to share the day with. You can check out messaging boards on apps like Couchsurfing to find out what other people in your area are up to, or book yourself into a youth hostel which will more than likely be packed with like-minded folk, or check out other local expat networks online or in places where expats usually congregate (hint: Irish pubs).
3. Do something you couldn’t do
if you were at home. If you’re used to a lazy Christmas in front of the TV then plan something dynamic and action-packed to shake up your routine; you’ll be too busy to even think of home. Similarly, adopt the Christmas traditions of your host country: learn how they celebrate, where they go and what they eat and try it for yourself. Learn to celebrate Christmas in a new way.
4. Eat well.
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s delicious and you have plenty of it. Christmas isn’t a time for self-depravation.
5. Check opening hours
of local destinations or restaurants if you’re going out. Don’t be disappointed at the last minute.
6. Try volunteering
for a local good cause. Helping out others will remind you of how much you have and give you a feel-good Christmas mood, and it’s a good way to meet new people.
7. Invite someone
you don’t know that well to join in your festivities. Even if you’re in a country where Christmas isn’t celebrated, the locals might still appreciate celebrating with you and therefore learning more about your culture.
8. Call home
but not too much. It’s great to be able to touch base with the people you love and the magic of video chat means you don’t miss out on seeing the important moments, but don’t spend your whole day on the phone. Focus on what’s surrounding you.
9. Have a Christmas movie
to hand if you want to get into the festive spirit. For me, nothing beats Love Actually for instant Christmas cheer.
10. Buy yourself a present
and, if at all possible, stop yourself from using it until Christmas morning. Treat yourself to something you’ve wanted for ages and it’ll always remind you of the time you were brave enough to spend Christmas alone and away from home.
11. Equally, have a present handy
to give to someone else, even if it’s just something small. You never know who you might meet if you spend Christmas with new people, and it’s always thoughtful to give a gift. Plus, it’s a great icebreaker.
12. Make plans
for the coming year. What have you done this year that you’re proud of? What would you do differently next year? Where’s next on your destination list? Where’s your ideal place to be this time next year? Make your New Year’s resolution early!
Embrace a different kind of Christmas. It might not be everything you imagined, and it might even be just a bit better.
Whatever happens during your Christmas alone, it’ll definitely be unlike any other Christmas you’ve had because you can make it your own.
Live the kind of Christmas you’ll be telling your family and friends about for years to come.