Preparing for Christmas in a New Country


Preparing for Christmas in a New Country

By John Marcarian of Expatland

Your first Christmas in a new country or city will be a unique experience and one to embrace. Though it may seem to be a bit daunting spending the holiday season in unfamiliar surroundings, it can be an excellent opportunity to learn more about your new home and country’s culture.

The Expatland Global Network is a resource that supports people all over the world who are embarking on an expat journey, joining a vast, dynamic community. Here we give our top tips on preparing for Christmas in a new country.

Keep in touch

Technology in the form of, Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger are all great ways of keeping in touch with loved ones across the globe. Connect with family and friends quick and easily without the expensive long distance telephone calls or snail mail. It will be like they are practically sat around the table tucking into Christmas dinner with you.

Track down your favourite food

For some of us Christmas is about togetherness or presents, but for many of us it’s about the food. We crave certain foods only at Christmas time so order your favourite cranberry sauce online to go with your Turkey or special cream to go with your Christmas pudding, or substitute them by sourcing local ingredients. Preparing ahead and having enough time to find your go to Christmas foods is key to keeping up the Christmas spirit.

Shop online

Christmas can be a very manic time with people panic buying and long queues and with Christmas just around the corner, gift shopping for friends and relatives can be challenging. Shopping online is the easiest way to get around the distance between you, and that way you can enjoy the festive season stress-free.

  • Make sure you look out for last postage dates on websites
  • Use online shops that offer international shipping
  • If you’re buying local and sending back home, make sure you’re aware of parcel and weight restrictions. Every country is different.

Embrace new Christmas Traditions

Whilst being in a new country can be overwhelming, try to welcome this new cultural experience and embrace what it has to offer. Many countries celebrate in their own unique way. Traditional celebrations are also an excellent opportunity for intercultural exchange and understanding. Both children and adults can learn about other cultures through these celebrations.

Bring your traditions with you

Traditions are portable. Whether you are alone or with some of your family, spending Christmas in a new country will be a whole new experience. If you have a Nativity scene or a snow globe from back home, put them up in your new place to give you some festive cheer. Adopting some of your ‘usual’ traditions like putting up a Christmas tree and decorations will instantly lift your Christmas spirit. You may even want to treat yourself to watching your favourite Christmas film even though it might be the 1000th time you have seen Home Alone!

Find a Christmas Market

Christmas markets can pop up all over the place, some being open for the season, whilst others might be just for a weekend. A hot cider, a mulled wine or even an ice skating rink can all help you find that Christmas spirit. Markets can be the perfect places to find little gifts to send back home to your friends and family. They also can be great place to pick up some items to remember where you spent Christmas too.

Connect with other Expats

Depending on where you are, many places have thriving expat communities. Whether you connect via social media or through work, arranging a get together to can be a great way to engage with new people, make new memories and celebrate the festivities together.


Traditionally Christmas is about giving, so if you are struggling to feel festive, then offering your time is a great way to get grounded. Volunteering at a local homeless shelter or food shelter is a great way to give a little back. Interestingly, results from Statista taken from a recent survey by Ipos and Unicef show that 85 percent of Canadians believed the holiday season is about helping those in need, with 65 percent expressing willingness to buy a gift for a child living in a refugee camp.


We believe that donated time means more too some community organisations than other forms of help. This is something we feel strongly about at Expatland and encourage all expats to give back to the country they are living in, which is one of the main reasons we set up Expatland Giving back fund http://www.expatlandgiving.org/

About Expatlandwww.expatland.com

The Expatland Global Network is a resource that supports people all over the globe who are embarking on an expat journey, joining a vast, dynamic community.

In fact, if you were to group expats together to form a country, it would be the 5th largest country in the world, inhabited by more than 244 million people, and growing fast. This ‘country’ is thriving, attracting global executives, business people, educators, medical professionals, students and other professionals who are highly driven, socially aware and ‘global’ in their outlook.

Expatland began as a book, written in 2015 by John Marcarian, as a result of John’s personal expat journey. Its focus was to help expats plan their move overseas.

The Expatland book was just the start. To solve the problem of lack of support for would-be expats, John has launched the Expatland Global Network.

The network is made up of Expatland Teams (‘E -Teams). The concept, developed based on research using data from the World Bank, the OECD and the International Labour Organisation, is to provide a proactive solution to the problems faced by ‘unsupported expats’ on the move. Through one point of contact, expats can access help anywhere.

E-Teams bring together vetted professionals on the ground in a wide range of international locations, who can deliver the types of services needed by expats. Operating at a city level, they have essential local knowledge and insight. They cut through complexity and drill down to the issues that are relevant to specific locations.

E-Teams are lending their specialist knowledge to help create special Expatland books for major cities around the world. The E-Teams are now writing free-to-download chapters packed with locally-focused advice, tips and case studies.

[Image courtesy of Pexels royalty free website]


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