With the re-runs of PCR tests and self-quarantine travel rules, traveling back home for Christmas will be even more difficult for those living abroad.
Christmas is all about tradition and spending time with friends and family, so the festive period for expats living abroad can be a very challenging time. Oftentimes in an entirely different culture, who may not celebrate the holiday at all, Christmas can be an extraordinary experience for Brits abroad.
But experts at William Russell, who specializes in insuring expatriates, offer some basic advice for those who are out of their homes during the holidays:
Here’s the advice on how to avoid homesickness and enjoy Christmas.
Embrace the local culture
Immerse yourself in local cultural experiences and take advantage of the different ways to celebrate the holiday period.
Take it all as an educational opportunity and a chance to try out new traditions. Check out the events that may be going on around you and get caught up in them.
Spend the day with other expats
No doubt there will be many other expats who may also feel a bit lonely at the prospect of spending Christmas Day alone, so why not organize to spend the day together.
This is a great way to keep yourself busy all day and even make new friends.
You don’t have to suffer in silence if you struggle with your mental health. Here are some groups you can contact when you need help:
Samaritans: phone 116123, 24 hours a day, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, confidentially
Kids Line: 0800 1111. Calls are free and will not appear on your bill
PAPYRUS: A volunteer organization that supports suicidal teens and young adults. Tel: 0800 068 4141
Depression Alliance: a charity for depressed patients. There is no help line but they provide useful resources and links to other information on their website
Students Against Depression: A website for students who are depressed, have low moods, or have suicidal tendencies. Click here to visit
Bullying UK: A website for both children and adults affected by bullying. click here
Campaign Against Miserable Life (CALM): Young People Feeling Miserable. He has a website here and a helpline: 0800 58 58 58
Do things to remind you of home
While it’s always nice to immerse yourself in the local culture, there’s nothing wrong with continuing the Christmas traditions in a new country. Whether it’s a Christmas day picnic or cooking Christmas dinner, carry on your festivities to make you feel right at home. Be flexible though and don’t assume that you will simply be able to go out and get whatever you want.
Buy a gift for yourself
Maybe get something to do in the day and give yourself time to relax and enjoy the day. Why not wrap it up and open up with your family at once so you don’t feel like you’re missing out.
Volunteering at a local homeless shelter, nursing home, or even an animal shelter can be a great way to keep busy while giving back to your new community. Check what’s in your local area and if there are any groups that need help.
“Whether it’s your first Christmas away from home or you’ve been doing it for years, the vacation period can be a particularly stressful time for expats,” said Michael Lowers, Principal of William Russell.
“Being away from friends and family, often in a completely different culture that celebrates the holiday season in a completely different way, or doesn’t make you feel at all, it’s easy to feel like you’re missing out.
However, there are some things you can do to help you feel at home during the holiday season.”
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