Though most of those Christmas decorations may be concentrated in hotels and shopping malls, it was still hard to ignore the celebration of Christmas in this otherwise secular country. Christmas in China is largely based on its depiction in foreign media. The combination of marketing and its status as a foreign holiday that’s “hip” or “luxurious” have led many shops, restaurants, markets, et al. to hop on the Christmas bandsleigh. But does it really feel like Christmas?
Not exactly. Still, for me Christmas is a special time to share with family, friends, and good food, no matter where you are.
Celebrating Christmas in a country that doesn’t celebrate Christmas the way you do at home (or doesn’t celebrate Christmas traditionally at all) this year? While celebrating Christmas abroad may not be exactly like celebrating Christmas at home, it can certainly still be special and memorable. Try these tips for finding those warm fuzzy holiday feelings without the familiar comforts of home.
1. Embrace local holiday traditions!
In many Latin American countries, gifts may be exchanged at a later date than the 25th of December, often on January 6th, for Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day. While this does mean a longer “no peeking!” time, the celebrations are usually fun and memorable and sometimes there are parades.
2. Add flair from the local culture!
Instead of pouting over lost traditions (a surefire way to get yourself on the naughty list), embrace a using what’s available locally to celebrate your country or family’s Christmas traditions.
3. Buy yourself a present!
Speaking of presents, I would recommend not forgetting to send your family a little something back home! Whether this means shopping online or a trip to the nearest post office is up to you – either way, its good to share the love this time of year. Even if your trip budget doesn’t allow for international postage and gifts, you can always send an e-card or make your own video greeting to email.
4. Invite new friends to help you celebrate!
For me, this is the best way to share the Christmas spirit. It is a unique opportunity to teach your new friends what Christmas really means to you. Christmas manifests itself differently in many different families – some eat brunch, some go to the movies, some stay home and overdose on cookies. But I find one binding force – people choose to spend this day with the people who matter most to them.