Monday, December 3, 2012

X-Mas For Expats

Well, it's December!!

And in case you didn't know, that means everything Christmas is acceptable!!

Unless your name is cranky the cat.

(That's my cat by the way. Bundle of joy, she is!)

I miss my cat. And I miss a lot of things about America. But this will be my fourth consecutive Christmas in England.

I honestly can't remember Christmas anywhere else but England! It's felt so normal since my first Christmas here in 2009. In fact, I'd probably be very confused spending Christmas in Florida.

But this year is different.

The good thing about it is that when the new year rolls around, I won't be getting on a plane and going back to America! The bad thing about it is that when the new year rolls around, I won't be getting on a plane and going back to America.

And I really don't consider it a "bad" thing that I'm not leaving by any means. Seriously, I've stopped calling Florida "home" and there's never a moment where I regret moving. But it also means that everything I miss stays very distant.

I've thought about it, and I made a list of ways to cope with not being in your native country over Christmas.

Send a care package to your family/friends - Nothing too big or expensive, but lots of things that they can't get where they live. Since my parents are coming to England for the wedding (first time EVER leaving the country for them), I'm sending them a box full of the things they will need for their long international journey across the pond.

Hope for a care package for yourself - I know this is the season of giving, but come on, you know you're craving that massive bag of your favorite sweets. It's perfectly acceptable to drop hints at your friends/family members to immediately drive to Target and buy those little things you miss.

Do something incredibly American (or whatever country you're from!) - She's Not From Yorkshire is probably the queen of doing the stereotypical American thing to dodge homesickness. I will officially announce that I will be the Vice Prez of that club. Go and order a Venti of your favorite Starbucks drink. Find a TGIFriday's (like the Fiance and I did on Thanksgiving) and order your favorite appetizers and laugh at their "flair". You'll feel so American that you'll need to get back to reality by watching a Stephen Fry TV show.

And then take a picture of it like a tourist because you're a really really cool person who takes pictures in Starbucks

Don't worry about holiday indulging - You have enough on your plate (no pun intended), the holidays are about spending time with your loved ones, and eating. And then lots of eating with your loved ones. Don't worry about having more Christmas pudding with lots of cream or drinking that extra glass of mulled wine.

Schedule a family Skype date - Hopefully your family knows how to use technology (mine suck at using technology). Plan a group Skype date so you can see everyone at once and it's like you're at a family get together! Dress up, reminisce, hint about the care package that you desire.

Do something new - Go to the zoo, eat at a new restaurant, find the town's local German market, go to a Christmas pantomime. Do something weird that you've never done before! Take pictures and tell your family that you'll take them the next time that they visit you in your new home!

Has anyone been to the London Dungeons?? Do it! It's fun!!

For me, I don't get "home sick" easily. When I was in Florida, I would say I was "England-sick" because I missed it so much (and of course the Fiance). So me being here feels right. But that doesn't mean I don't miss my cranky cat every once in a while. And these things definitely help!!

Where do you normally spend the holidays?? Do you go away? Stay at home? Where would your ideal December be spent?? 
Any other tips for spending the holidays far from your native country?


  1. Taylor, you're a "no-reply" commenter (I can't respond to your blog comments via email), so I hopped over here to thank you! Thanks for already making me grateful I revealed some secrets on my blog. Sometimes it's hard to get caught up around friends' families (and seeing lots of blogger holiday posts). At least now I'm an adult with a "family" (just the animals & husband) of my own. Thanks for sharing :)

    1. oops! I had no idea what that even meant! It's fixed now!!
      Anyway, I thought it was really great that you shared that on your blog! It's hard around the holidays, but I've made a point to become close with my Fiance's family and that makes it better!

  2. I definitely clicked with GB. I say GB because while I lived in England I have well-fantasized plans to move to Scotland someday...

    But yes. Now I'm back in America-land and it's all I can do to not lash out! I've got reverse-homesickness, I think. And I was never a big holidays person, or a big family-get-together person, so that part of being away didn't bother me. Plus GB, and Europe as a whole, does Christmas SO much better than the States, I think! It's more about the festivities and celebration than about gifts and commercialism.

    But my #1 miss right now? Pantos. Well, and cold weather, which sounds ridiculous for me to say as a long-worshipper of hot-as-balls weather. But the 70º F we've got going on today in NC is just insulting, especially when it was snowing in Harrogate last night.
    I'll just live vicariously through you. And I'll send a box of ANYTHING you want if you manage to video a panto for me!!

    1. Oh, and your cat looks a lot like my old cat, so I love her. I'm a total sucker for the charcoal and white ones, especially the not fully tuxedo marked ones!

    2. I don't think I remember what a hot Christmas is like!! I don't know what I would do!! But England definitely does Christmas better than the States BY FAR!!
      And if I go to a panto this year I will def secretly record it for you!!

  3. Even though I'm not in a different country, being in a different state from my family is going to be really hard this year. I'm definitely going to Skype, and I guess it's kind of cheating because I'm totally flying home two days later. I'm just not spending the actual Christmas Day with them. The idea of sending care packages and doing very American things sounds perfect!! Maybe I'll put on a fake fire and pretend it's actually cold here in FL.

    1. Definitely doing the "familiar" thing makes it seem more normal!! It's hard no matter where you are, but as long as you're surrounded by good people (which it sounds like you are!) it makes it so much easier!! :)

  4. I'm hoping to work abroad after graudation next year, so these tips are really helpful for me for next year! :)

    I hope you enjoy your first Christmas at "home" in England :)

    1. Aww amazing!! I always wanted to study abroad but I decided to graduate a semester early instead (cheaper!!) And then I moved aboard.... typical!

    2. Ahh yeah - I didn't have time to study abroad either so I'm hoping to work somewhere in Europe for a year or two :)


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