Spending the Holidays Abroad

Thoughts from Alanna…

Living abroad during the holidays (Christmas in my case) can be pretty lonely. At my home in Canada, my family and I always opened our gifts together and had a big breakfast with the fireplace going and the yule log on TV for good measure.

If you’re able to afford going home, that’s awesome! Flights during these times are sky-high, especially if your home is on the other side of the world or if you’ve recently made the move over and can’t afford a trip back so soon.

If it doesn’t matter much to you, spend the night however you wish: Movie marathon, Netflix binge, checking out the nearby Christmas lights or wrapped up in a good book. It’s completely up to you.

If the idea of being home alone is too crappy, you always have other options.

Hot ChocolateIn England, there are Christmas markets in just about every city. Personally, I went to the local Rochester Christmas Market at the castle. Free entry is always a good thing. Here, we got some overpriced (but
lovely) hot chocolate, wandered the castle grounds and listened to a live band. There’s crafts, baked goods, small rides and tons of lit up Christmas trees.

If you’re looking for something much larger, London hosts the annual Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Again, entry is free but you’ll need to purchase tickets for the ice rink, giant ferris wheel, Christmas circus, Cirque Berserk,┬áBar Ice and the Ice Kingdom if you’re interested in those attractions. The park is full of rides, gift stalls and food everywhere you look. There’s also lots of live music around big bonfires to keep you warm. Just watch out for the swarms and swarms of people.

Winter Wonderland

At Winter Wonderland, we’re talking legitimate rides.

 

Winter Wonderland

Big fire pits to keep warm by at Winter Wonderland

TopDeck and Contiki, both youth travel companies, offer winter and Christmas-related trips in Europe. Instead of visiting your local small Christmas market, why not try out one in Paris, Brugge or Budapest? Obviously these are more expensive but give you an opportunity to see something new with others. At least you’re not alone, right?

Personally, I love a good Christmas market, ice skating, copious amounts of hot chocolate and seeing all the lights. Cheap and easy!

If all else fails, stay close with your new friends (and abroad family, if you’re lucky) in your new country. There’s always time to make new holiday traditions.