An Expat Christmas

7 Dec

Celebrating an Australian Christmas on the beach (Image from

One nice thing about Australia is that there is no shortage of people who have recently immigrated here. It’s easy to find other people who can understand what the expat experience is like. It also means that, as an expat, you’ll never be the only person with no family nearby with whom you can celebrate the holidays.

I initially thought that Christmas for us might be like a repeat of Thanksgiving- just a nothing holiday. But Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday here and Christmas is. Pretty much everyone celebrates Christmas.

And pretty much everyone we know has moved to Australia on their own or with just their immediate family. We’re definitely not the only ones without relatives nearby.

I was prepared to say, “screw Christmas” and just not celebrate at all this year because I was feeling bitter about having Christmas in the summer with no snow, among other things. But in the last week, we’ve gotten two invitations to celebrate Christmas with other expats who are hosting parties for all their family-less friends, which has boosted my Christmas spirit.

So instead of planning to be a Scrooge all month like I was going to do, I’m getting all my Christmas baking essentials ready to make treats to share with our friends and I managed to get most of my Christmas cards made over the last two days (they are Australian themed- I’ll share them with you later).

It won’t be the same as celebrating Christmas with family in the northern hemisphere, of course. That’s hard for me, because I like my holiday traditions and I like doing everything the same way every year. But at least we will get to celebrate (and I’m told both families that invited us have Christmas trees, yay!) and not just sit at home like it’s some random Saturday.

I hope all of the rest of you expats have people that you can celebrate with, too. Expat Info Desk and Monkeys and Mountains both have some nice tips for celebrating Christmas as an expat.

7 Responses to “An Expat Christmas”

  1. December 9, 2012 at 4:16 am #

    Glad to hear that you’ll be celebrating Christmas with friends, not the same as being at home, but much better than not celebrating. Thanks so much for the mention.

    • housewifedownunder December 13, 2012 at 10:35 am #

      Indeed. The girl that’s hosting one of the parties asked me what I expected out of a Christmas celebration because she wants to make sure people aren’t missing too much of their traditions from home. But I kind of figure I’ll be open minded about it and go along with whatever everyone else wants to do. It won’t feel like Christmas at home no matter what, so maybe trying out some new things would be okay this year. šŸ™‚

  2. Naomi December 10, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    That’s nice! We’ll be having Christmas with “family-less friends”, too. Have a good one!

    • housewifedownunder December 13, 2012 at 10:41 am #

      Thanks. Merry Christmas to you, too! Are you also in Australia?

      • Naomi December 17, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

        Yes, I am =) Melbourne

  3. Melissa - Outbound Mom December 11, 2012 at 12:21 am #

    I used to have an Australian boyfriend, so I spent two Christmases in Australia. I’m originally from Wisconsin and we’re used to freezing our butts off and being covered in snow, so it was so bizarre to celebrate Christmas on the beach. It just doesn’t seem like Christmas if the sun is shining and you can walk out the door without 20 layers of clothing on! Now that I am living in Brazil, it’s the same strange feeling. I’m heading bake to the frozen tundra this Friday, and while it might actually feel like Christmas because of the cold weather, I’m sure I will be missing my flip flops in just a matter of days! Merry Christmas!

    • housewifedownunder December 13, 2012 at 10:47 am #

      I love Wisconsin! I always used to drive back to Minnesota for Christmas, usually a day or two before, and I took I-90 west through Wisconsin. It seemed like every year, just as I got north of Madison, it would start to snow… a lot. So a trip that should have been nine hours ended up being a lot longer! Last year, the Wisconsin snow was the only Christmas snow we got (MN didn’t get any last year, for some reason) and my Aussie husband wanted to try to drive in the snow, even though he’d never done so before in his life. Needless to say, I didn’t think that was a good idea!

      I’ve always been a sucker for the snow at Christmas time, so I think adapting to warm weather Christmases will be tough for me. There won’t be any Christmas day sledding or skating or snowman building. I suppose I could always go build a sand snowman at the beach, though. :-p

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