The Expat Holidays –
5 Tips To Help You Celebrate Abroad

The holiday season is all about family reunions, good food, merry tunes, sugar cookies, quirky movies and laughs! But when you live in another country the holidays are a bound to be a little different, sometimes they even feel like just a normal day. This is our second holiday season away from our families and i thought it would be fun to share with you a little peak into what that’s like and how to make the most of the holidays as an expat.

1. Make an effort, i know it’s hard but put up a tree, even if it’s little one or even just some lights, it’ll cheer you right up. Last year we purchased a used tree for $60! A pre-lit 6.5ft tree, it even came with all the decorations! Make a day of it. Put up the tree, listen to some christmas music or play some christmas movies, i promise you’ll feel a little better.

2. Embrace the change. So you won’t be spending the holiday season like you always do, why not embrace it! Whether it’s visiting Christmas Markets, enjoying a candlelight service, or eating KFC on Christmas (yup that’s what the Japanese do). Embrace the traditions of your host country! The holidays are a time to be happy not for being sad! Make the best of it.

3. Make your own traditions. Whether it’s baking cinnamon rolls on Christmas Day, gifting each other christmas pj’s on Christmas Eve, walking hand in hand as you look at christmas lights, it’s all about spending time with those you love.

4. Friends are family too. This year we’ve done so much with our friends! We made a potluck dinner last week, walked around the Botanical Gardens Illumination, went to see Frozen on Christmas Eve and we’re planning on going to the Zoo on Christmas Day to see another illumination! This holiday season has felt extra special because we’ve spent it with our closest friends.

5. Snail Mail anyone? One of my favorite things about being an expat is sending snail mail to our families and friends back home! Why not personalize a cute Christmas Card and surprise your loved ones.

*Bonus Tip – How about planning a trip to another country? Traveling during the holidays is also a great alternative to traditional holiday celebrations at home. We’re planning on traveling to Taiwan next Christmas!!

Q: What’s your favorite part of being an expat during the holidays? I hope you have a fun this holiday season and if you’re not an expat i hope you all have a wonderful Christmas celebrating with your families!

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Hi! I'm Laura, the girl behind Little Island Takara. I am a military wife and American expat living in Okinawa, Japan! Most days you will find me reading books, wondering what cafe to go to next or daydreaming of my next adventure.

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  • A pre-lit tree WITH decorations? That sounds amazing and what a way to get some Christmas cheer in your life. I'm with you on making your own traditions and making an effort when you are away from home. Right now Rich and I are about to embark on our video game tradition and I can't WAIT!

  • Have a merry merry Christmas 🙂