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Thursday, November 7, 2013

expat diaries: holidays away from home


I know that it's a little early to talk about Christmas, but I don't care.  I love all the Christmas decorations, music, cards and lights that are in stores already.  I've been doing my best to hold it in all October, and since Thanksgiving isn't a holiday here, everyone has sort of moved on to Christmas.  And the number one question I get asked around this time of year is "but don't you miss your family over the holidays?"

The answer is yes and no.  Yes, I sometimes miss them, and sometimes it's weird not to be home for holidays like Christmas.  My sister kept sending my picture updates last year, which made me slightly homesick.  But Sam and I had a great Christmas last year.  We spent it with friends, eating great food (and too much chocolate), playing games, and watching movies.  I think it's good for us to spend time as our own family, because sometimes I still stumble over that terminology..."my family" usually means my mom and dad and siblings, not me and my husband, but that's changing.

In that respect, I'm lucky.  I'm living here with my family.  Sure, I can't call my mom every day, but to me, that's a good thing.  We do best when there's a little distance between us.  We all get along better, and we enjoy the time we do spend together a lot more than we would otherwise.  Besides, with Skype and things like free texting apps (like WhatsApp, for example, or Kik Messenger) you can basically call and text whoever you want for free.  And I get to spend each holiday with my husband, starting and trying out new traditions, figuring out which old ones we want to continue.  I'm really looking forward to the holidays this year.  Besides, when people mail you Christmas presents, they often arrive late, meaning it's basically like a second Christmas several weeks later.  (This happened to us last year.)  If you don't like that, make sure you send off any gifts you have several weeks in advance (i.e. sometime in November).  And this year it's made even easier because thanks to a well-time cousin's wedding and my mom's abundance of frequent flyer miles, I get to spend Thanksgiving in the US with my family.      


  1. I'd never thought about being an expat during the holidays this way! (That's probably because I'm Jewish, so spending Christmas with Jon's family, who actually celebrates it, feels normal.) But I guess you guys ARE lucky to get to start making your own traditions for your little family :)

  2. I feel like this about my partner now too and we aren't even married yet! He has become my family in the absence of my own now we travel, which I think is really nice to have.
    Although this Christmas we will be visiting his family. so I'll still be missing mine!

    Kate | Diaries of a Essex Girl

  3. Thanks for posting this, I can really relate to this! I feel sad and happy during Christmas season because I'm not spending it with my family but I'm fine spending it with my friends too. And yes, being distant from my family works best for me too, it makes me appreciate them more.

  4. My parents and siblings were able to stay with us in Scotland over Christmas when we were living abroad which helped prevent me from getting homesick, and funny enough, this Christmas (back in the States) will be the first one I spend with just my husband! I'm excited and sad... my little sister is disappointed I won't be back, but I want to start my own family traditions with Brandon. Even though we don't have kids yet.. just two dogs. :)

    Thanks for linking up with us!