If you grew up celebrating Christmas, it can be a bit of a downer to find yourself alone in a hotel room on Christmas Day, reminiscing over past Christmas celebrations, and missing your friends and family halfway around the globe. Maybe you’re studying abroad and couldn’t afford the ticket home, maybe you’re stranded because of weather, or maybe you felt the need to use your holiday vacation exploring one of the seven wonders of the world. Either way, chilling out by yourself on a major holiday doesn’t have to be a depressing affair.
You don’t have to be the religious sort or even of a particular denomination to enjoy a Christmas service. Even if you just go to enjoy the beautiful architecture of some of the world’s famous cathedrals, going to a church service in a new place is a good excuse to leave the hotel.
Who says you can’t be present for opening presents around the Christmas tree? Thanks to the amazing technology provided to us for free by Skype and Google Hangout, you can at least get to see the expression on the faces of your loved ones as they open that amazingly hideous Christmas sweater you got them. You shouldn’t have. Really.
Crash a Christmas Party
Check out expat forums or the events pages of CouchSurfing.com or other local expat community groups. More often than not, they’ve got some sort of holiday shenanigans going on and they would love to include you.
Friends of Friends of Friends
The holiday season is a good time to reach out to those who may not be in your immediate social circle, but share common acquaintances. Have a long lost cousin or that old college friend of your sister-in-law? This is the perfect time to get to know those individuals better. Yes, it takes a little bit of gumption to crash someone’s family circle, but tis the season for holiday giving and good cheer. Take advantage of it.
If you’re studying abroad and can’t find a family to adopt or friends to hang out with, consider spending your holiday break volunteering in the spirit of Christmas giving.
If All Else Fails…
Make your own Christmas and make it a merry affair. Drink wine, eat chocolate, write soppy e-mails to your family about how much you miss them and then track down the DVDs of your favorite Christmas classics, create a Christmas playlist, and leave out cookies for Santa (and then eat them all because it’s Christmas and that’s what we do).