Having spent almost almost half of my Christmas’ in a country that is not my own, I am a veteran in the methods of spending holidays in foreign countries. Yet whatever I do, however many times I spend the holiday season in a foreign country, there are some factors that I just can’t get around. Not that you can’t have a good time in a foreign country, but there are some minus’.
1. Family – Unless your entire extended family has traveled with you to your country of choice, you will probably have little contact with them during this holiday season. I mean, yes, with today’s technology you could chat with them or even video chat with them, but is it really the same as having them around the tree with you on Christmas, or around the… menorah on Hanukkah? Maybe everybody doesn’t feel the same as I do, which is that the holidays are very family oriented. Maybe some people want to use this as an excuse to get away from their family, but it’s always nice to have them as an option, and in a foreign country, that’s next to impossible.
2. Shipping – This one might be slightly self-explanatory. Shipping presents to a foreign country is not fun or cheap. The shipping can sometimes cost more than the gift, and sometimes what you want won’t ship to your country. Now these might not sound like big problems but these are the bane of my existence, I guarantee you. Even worse is shipping presents to other countries, what with labels that have to be printed out and the extraordinary cost of such things.
3. Does that country even celebrate your holiday? – I mean, almost every country has some type of Christmas-y celebration (Although in Armenia it’s on the 6th of January – who knew?) and so if that is your holiday, count yourself lucky. With every other holiday, your chances for your country celebrating that holiday decrease exponentially. And that definitely sucks.
4. Type of celebration – What if the country you are living in doesn’t celebrate the holiday the way you do? It can be extremely unsettling to have different points of views on your traditions and culture. For instance, the traditionally Scandinavian holiday of Saint Lucy’s Day isn’t really celebrated like that anywhere else. Girls wear candles on their heads, which would be kind of surprising if you were living there and you had never heard of this holiday. But if you open up your mind, other holiday traditions can be just as fun as the traditional tree or advent calendar.
5. Weather – This one might be a little out of place in this list, but this one really gets me personally. I have spent some of my ‘formative’ years in a place where it usually snows every Christmas, and when I moved to a much more tropical place, all of my holiday cheer just went down the drain. I forgot to buy presents (something I never do) because it didn’t feel like it could be even remotely close to the holidays yet. To me, snow means the holiday season, and vice versa. I hope not everybody has these kind of problems!