Guides

6 Ways To Spend Christmas Day If You’re Overseas

'Tis the season!

Christmas away from home is always going to be quite a different experience, regardless of if you’re daunted by the idea of spending Christmas day away from family or are excited to spend the holidays exploring somewhere new.

If you’re spending December 25 somewhere other than home this year, there are plenty of things you can do to get into the Christmas spirit.

#1 Get In The Community Spirit

Every country has its own traditions, and every city celebrates Christmas differently. Have a look in to what is happening where you are, to see how you can immerse yourself in the celebrations. It may be a little odd celebrating Christmas in the opposite season to what you’re used to, but that’s half the fun when you’re away.

Christmas market

Image: Alisa Anton

Most European countries hold winter Christmas markets – where you can buy hot chestnuts, mulled wine and cinnamon doughnuts – throughout December. Usually, there are carolers dotted throughout the parks and attractions in New York city, and Rio De Janeiro celebrates with a big firework display over the lagoon on Christmas Eve.

#2 Join A Christmas Meet-Up

If you don’t know where to start when it comes to finding some company for Christmas day, jump online and search Meetup for an event local to you. Or, start one up yourself. The site literally lists thousands of different meetups in all corners of the globe, searchable by distance and by category.

Image: Fabian Grohs

If you have a certain idea of how you want to spend your Christmas day away from home, upload an event and open the invite up to other members of Meetup with a similar idea. It doesn’t have to be anything of monumental scale, either – it could be building snowmen together with some mulled wine in Hyde Park or a catching up for some drinks and a meal down at a local bar.

#3 Volunteer Or Donate

Christmas is a busy time for everyone, but even more so for charities. The call for extra donations and the need for more hands increases tenfold over the holiday period.

There are literally hundreds of ways that you can give back and spread some joy this Christmas; from donating to volunteering your time. Most volunteer spots at Christmas kitchens fill up fast, but it doesn’t hurt to check in with the local charities to see if they need help in other departments.

If you can’t find somewhere to volunteer your time, you can always buy some food to drop off to a local drive, pick up some Christmas gifts to donate, or even head down to the blood donation clinic to do your bit.

#4 Join Another Family For Christmas Day

Christmas stockings

Image: Wesley Tingey

Thanks to Facebook, Instagram and email, it isn’t hard to work out if you have friends, family or acquaintances living in the area you’re visiting. Mention that you’re in the vicinity for Christmas and it’s more than likely you’ll score an invite to join in on their day of festivities.

If Christmas with family or friends in the area isn’t on the cards, consider looking in to booking a homestay or hosted AirnnB for a few days. It’s a great way to meet new people!

#5 Book Yourself In For A Lavish Lunch

If you can’t have all the indulgences of a Christmas at home, you may as well spoil yourself while you’re away. Most hotels and resorts host Christmas lunches and dinners for guests staying over the holidays, even if it isn’t customary to celebrate Christmas in their country.

Whether you’re staying in said hotel or somewhere a little less swanky, it doesn’t hurt to spoil yourself with a delicious degustation or big banquet on Christmas day. It might not be mum’s roast turkey or dad’s barbecued crayfish, but sitting down to a big feast is a welcome comfort either way.

#6 Make The Most Of Quiet Streets

While everyone is at home with their families, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore your destination crowd-free. Imagine strolling Central Park with barely anyone else around, wandering the Champs Elysees without bumping into anyone, or relaxing on the beaches of Hawaii without another soul in sight.

Christmas may be one of the only times you get to see such iconic locations without the throngs of people. Make the most of it!

(Lead photo: Toa Heftiba)

Check out Qantas flights and begin your next adventure.