Are you alone for Christmas in London this year and not sure what to do? Here’s a 6-step guide to organising the perfect ‘Orphan Christmas’ with other expats in the same boat.
Spending Christmas away from your nearest and dearest is never fun. Yet as an expat, it’s all too common to find ourselves flying solo at this time of year. We find ourselves in a new city, don’t know all that many people, flights home are crazy expensive and everyone already has plans with their families! So in the end it’s just us, Love Actually on repeat, a pack of M&S fruit mince pies and the neighbour’s cat for company.
Or maybe that’s just me?
The point is, if you don’t want to spend Christmas alone but still have no plans – read on.
Firstly, you’re not alone. In fact, far from it. We have over 100+ girls and counting all in the same shoes. Luckily there’s still plenty of time left to organise something and after all, that’s why we’re here. Secondly, if you decide that you don’t really want a traditional Christmas, there are loads of other options. Volunteering, walking tours, a mini travel escape… does any of that sound tempting? Click here to skip ahead for some alternative Christmas Day activities that are just as fun to do on your own as they are with a bunch of mates.
Here’s a 6-Step guide to organising your ‘Orphan Christmas’ (or so they call it) in London.
Step 1 – The Pals
To bring everyone together for Christmas, we’ve created a new London New Girl Xmas Day 2018 Facebook Group (limited time only) that’s linked to the main London New Girl group. If you’re already a member of London New Girl, simply request to join and you’ll be added to the group. Feel free to invite any of your friends along who’d be interested too. Currently only existing London New Girl group members, or those invited by an existing member, will be able to join. However DM us if you’re having any issues!
Don’t forget to answer the Poll that’s pinned to the top of the group, to let others know which area you live in. This way, despite the lack of public transport on Christmas Day, you can find a group of Christmas pals in your local area.
Step 2 – The Venue
Now you’ve found a group of pals in your area, it’s time to find a venue. There are so many perks to hosting at your own place – you get to decorate your flat for Christmas. You don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home when there’s no public transport running. You get to keep all the left over food and booze 😉 See – plenty of perks! If you or those in your area can’t host for whatever reason, don’t worry – there are some restaurants and pubs that stay open in London on Christmas Day. Check out this restaurant list for some inspo.
Step 3 – The Menu
Starts a Whatsapp group and organise who’s going to bring what. That way you’ll make sure everything is covered and nobody will go hungry on the day. If you have any allergies or dietary requirements – now’s the time to speak up! If there are any vegetarians in the group, suggest that they bring a main veggie dish to make sure everyone has something. Oh, and don’t forget the drinks!
Step 4 – The Dress Code
Christmas jumpers, obvs.
Step 5 – The Presents
The easiest way to share presents with new friends is to do a Secret Santa. That means everyone buys one present and receives one present each .First set a price limit – we suggest around the £15 mark which is enough to get creative. On the day you hand out the presents at random, have guests pull them out of a sack, or whatever you like. You can even make things a little more competitive with a ruthless game of Dirty Santa.
Keep the presents neutral since you don’t know who’ll be receiving them. Think along the lines of a nice pair of Christmas socks, some comfy slippers, a nice bag of coffee, a board game – get creative. Here’s some inspo from John Lewis to get you started.
Step 6 – The Entertainment
The final ingredient to a brilliant Christmas ‘do’ is to think of the entertainment on the day. Games can add some serious Christmas cheer and make it a day to remember. They’re also an excellent ice-breaker for you and your new pals, as well as a good pick-me-up after a heavy meal!
Work out what games guests have at home that they can bring along, or make some up on the day. Think along the lines of Cards Against Humanity, Celebrity Heads (there’s an app for that these days!), a London quiz (like this one from quizcoconut) or a Christmas film with popcorn. Click here for a really good list of adult Christmas party games to try.
Finally, some important notes to remember. Public transport is closed on Christmas so make sure you plan ahead with how you’ll get there. Take plenty of photos and share ’em on the London New Girl Christmas group ? and most importantly – have a brilliant time!
Alternative ways to spend Christmas Day
If you’re not really in the mood for a typical Christmas-do, try something a little different this Christmas Day
- Give back to your local community by volunteering at your local shelter or food bank. You can check out a list of volunteering ideas here
- Book a walking tour. They say that Christmas morning is the best time of the year for a walking tour in London. The streets are empty and there’s no traffic or public transport. Check out Peter Berthoud’s website, who runs a few different tours through the day – the first one starting at 5:45am!
- Rent a car and explore the countryside. There are some fantastic hikes for the ultimate ‘Christmas Day Walk’. Perfect for a bit of fresh air
- Go travelling! If you don’t love travelling solo, check our some tour agencies like Top Deck or Contiki who have tours over the Christmas period. Amsterdam, Paris, Brugge, Moscow… the world is your Christmas oyster
2 thoughts on “Alone for Christmas in London? A guide to organising an ‘Orphan Christmas’ abroad”
LOL….I love it. I have never heard the term ‘Orphan Christmas’, but I’ll definitely be using if from now on! 🙂
Haha well there you go! I think it’s a term very niche to us expats 😉 Also I was honestly a little worried about offending actual orphans, but I feel like everyone gets it, right?!! x