One of the downsides to moving to the other side of the world is that getting back home is not only an expensive ordeal, but an achingly long one at that. Add the crazy cost of flying over Christmas and it’s easy to understand why each year so many expats celebrate Christmas alone in London.
Whether this is your first or your fifth Christmas abroad and away from home, there are a few ways to get the most out of it and still enjoy the best that the festive season has to offer.
Here’s 5 ways to cope with spending Christmas abroad, sans family
1. Go on tour Christmas can be the perfect time to explore Europe in the winter. There are a few great tours that operate over the Christmas and New Year period, and they’re a great way to meet new people and spend your time off seeing some wonderful, new places. What better way to spend a Christmas abroad than travelling your way through it with like-minded people.
Check out Contiki, Busabout, Haggis Adventures and Topdeck’s Christmas specials
2. Enjoy a quiet London Anyone who stays in London over the Christmas period always comments on how lovely and serene it is. The city practically empties out and you can enjoy every last bit of it without fighting off huge herds of lost tourists and angry locals alike. Imagine being one of the only people walking along Oxford Street or Trafalgar Square – feels impossible, right? Become a tourist yourself this Christmas and see everything you’ve been meaning to but haven’t had a chance to yet. Check out my ‘Tourist in London’ post for some ideas
3. Go on a London walking tour Some of the best London walking tours are scheduled for Christmas day and each year they are fantastic. It’s such a great way to spend your Christmas, wandering around the eerily empty streets of London with some like-minded people, learning more about your new city and getting a little workout too. Walking tours are typically followed up with a drink at a cosy pub – all in all, a perfect day.
Check out Peter Berthoud, London Walks and London Architecture walks.
4. Connect with other expats Jump on the London New Girl Facebook group and ask around to see if anyone else is spending Christmas in London. It’s all about networking and spending Christmas alone in London can be the perfect way to bond with someone new and make a great new friend or two. We’re all here to support one another, all you have to do is reach out
5. Crazy second-aunt Most of us have some distant relatives that we’ve heard of before but never met. That crazy sister in law of your aunt back home or your neighbour’s friend’s cousin who lives somewhere unheard of in Wales. If you have any family connections in the UK or Eurppe, now is the time to get in touch and get to know them a little better over turkeys, mince pies and copious amounts of mulled wine. Sometimes there’s just nothing like being close to family at Christmas, no matter how strange, crazy or distant they may be
How are you spending your Christmas this year? Have you ever travelled over the Christmas period?