What is it like to celebrate a holiday abroad?

Christmas has always been one of my favourite times of year. I love the films, the music, the feeling, the traditions.

When we moved from the UK to Australia, I don’t think I realised just how different Christmas would be here. I visited Australia twice when I was younger so I always knew that it was warm not cold, but because I was with family and travelling I never really noticed that much of a difference. To me it always felt as lovely as ever, and I was too busy to notice times where it didn’t.

With this year being the first time Jack and I have had Christmas just the two of us and our first Christmas without anyone from home around us, I have to say I am noticing differences. I thought I’d make a list of the weird and wonderful things I have noticed about an Aussie Christmas in comparison to a UK one.

  1. First of all, the big Christmas build up of movie marathons just doesn’t happen. It’s too hot here to want to sit by a TV for hours on end. I find myself looking out of the window and wanting to explore, not vegetate. We’ve been in Sydney for a while now, but we still have a long list of things to do. I want to use our Christmas time off to do those things, not avoid going outside at all costs. My mindset has always been that Christmas is a wind down time, so this has been a strange adjustment to make.
  2. Then there’s the food. As a vegetarian, Christmas dinner has always been lost on me, but the Christmas snacks and accompaniments? I am all about that life! Yet I still don’t know a lot of the brands here in Australia. I still think UK Cadbury chocolate tastes nicer, and I don’t think I will EVER be on board with the idea of a Christmas salad.
  3. Decorations blow my mind here, too. It’s 30+ degrees outside yet shops are selling an ornament of a koala in a furry Santa hat. No one else seems to see the irony in that, but every time I see it I can’t help but think ‘wtf’.
  4. The Christmas drinks are different. There’s no mulled wine or Baileys hot chocolate – it’s all about the summery ciders and nice white wines. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but it’s a big mental switch to not associate this time of year with walking around a freezing Christmas market holding a Baileys hot chocolate just to keep warm.
  5. You will get major FOMO. I know this year has made Christmas different for everyone, but even hearing people talk about the cold weather or lighting fires gives me FOMO. Christmas will always be a cold, cosy, wrap up warm time in my mind, so hearing about that but not having that will always be something I struggle with.
  6. You can go outside and actually enjoy it! Going out in December in England is a test of bravery and endurance, but in Australia you WANT to go outside. You can spend all day out there if you want to. Last year we spent Christmas Day on the beach…. the beach! It was as bizarre and as brilliant as it sounds.
  7. It’s supposed to be happy time, but you will feel sad at some points. No matter how wonderful it is here, Christmas is always a time where homesickness becomes a little more poignant. Traditionally it’s a time for family and getting together, but being 24 hours away from everyone doesn’t really allow for that. Homesickness becomes the unwanted Christmas gift.

All in all though, even with a few differences that will always seem a bit weird to me, I cannot wait for this Aussie Christmas. Having Christmas morning with my fiance… how exciting is that?! I feel like this year will be a year for Jack and I to make our own Christmas traditions and I can’t wait for that.

So, from me to you, wherever you are in the world… Merry Christmas!

What home traditions would you miss if you spent Christmas abroad?

For more of my Aussie life, find me on Instagram at @jesskitchingwrites

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