‘Feeling festive’ is not easy when you live on a different continent from your loved ones. The Christmas season is, in my humble opinion, the most difficult time of year for an expat. Every media outlet spews a constant stream of cheesy images of the ‘traditional’ Christmas (you know the ones, 15 people sat around the table with a turkey the size of an ostrich!) just acts as a constant reminder that the expat Christmas is not like that.
Over the last two years I have developed a few coping strategies, things I do to help me get into the Christmas spirit.
1. Make a Christmas playlist and burn a CD of all my favourite seasonal songs. I play it in the car and at home and sing along (loudly and usually out of tune!)
2. Enjoy the weather. It’s hard not to feel festive when you open the curtains to this in the morning! Doing your Christmas shopping wrapped up in wooly hats, scarves and gloves feels so much more like Christmas is supposed to be.
3. Bake mince pies. Mince pies aren’t widely available in Canada and those that are taste pretty icky! Thankfully I managed to make my own with guidance from my Delia Smith cookbook brought with me from England. A time consuming yet thoroughly rewarding endeavour and seriously, does anything smell more festive than mince Pies…?