How to Embrace the Holidays While Living Abroad
Christmas is my favorite holiday, and I love virtually everything about it.
I love the constant holiday music that can be heard at most retailers, and the vast array of decorations and lights that can be seen as soon as you step out on your front door and into your car. I never seem to tire of it. As soon as Thanksgiving day arrives, this marks the beginning of the Christmas season for me and my family. Some years we put the tree up Thanksgiving night, but we always aim to have our decorations put up by December 1st. This has been my experience pretty much every year except for this one.
Christmas in a different culture
I knew that the traditions would be different while abroad, but I wasn’t expecting to miss the Christmas traditions in America as much as I have these past few days. After all, I wanted to experience the different cultures of Europe, and get away from some of the commercialism that has taken hold of Christmas.
What can you do to get in the Christmas spirit when living overseas?
In order to combat some of those homesick feelings for Christmas, Scarlett and I decided to visit one of the famous Christmas markets in Madrid at Plaza de Mayor.
As you can see, the market opened a couple of days prior to the advertised November 27th date. There were already several people looking around at the Christmas ornaments, nativity scenes, and array of Christmas hats and gag gifts that were for sale in the red Christmas themed shops that have been set up for the season.
Watching favorite Christmas movies
Another way we have tried to keep our traditions somewhat normal is by watching a couple of Christmas favorites on Netflix and Amazon. Isn’t technology great?
The best thing to do is to embrace the experience and opportunity you have and immerse yourself in a wonderful new experience of colors, language and food.
Aside from maintaining a certain familiarity with your normal traditions, venturing out to see how other cultures experience the holiday season is the best way to get involved. It is easy to get sucked into the gloom of being homesick and apart from what you are normally accustomed to, especially during the holidays. The best thing to do is to embrace the experience and opportunity that you have and immerse yourself in a wonderful new experience of colors, language and food. Tis the season!
Christmas lights on the streets of Madrid, Spain