For many, Christmas is a time for family and traditions, but how can travelers and expats celebrate Christmas away from home? Naturally, a huge part of expat life is adjustment and the holidays are no exception. For many expats who make the move, being away from home during the holidays is a huge challenge. One of the biggest anxieties in the expat community is making the holidays feel right.

The reality is there is no easy way around it. There are certainly a few tips to help enjoy the holidays in full. Here are our top 5 Travel Noire tips to celebrate Christmas away from home as a Black expat.

Related: Off The Grid Destinations To Spend Christmas/New Years Eve

Make yourself at home

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The number one tip is to do whatever feels comfortable; whatever traditions and customs you can keep, honor them. The joy of the Christmas period is being able to settle entirely into your rest and joy in whatever way feels best. For instance, if you’re used to attending church or Mass, why not find the local service and attend? If you’re a huge lover of Christmas movies, prepare a movie marathon. If you’re a gift-giver, get organized and send your loved ones personalised gifts.

Lots of virtual love

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Speaking of loved ones, virtually connecting with family and friends is a fulfilling way to feel part of the fun back home. One suggestion is to organize a video call at a few intervals in the day. Let your family in on your new holiday traditions while connecting with your previous ones. While feeling at home in your new environment, it is always a joy to share the love even if through a screen.

Something different…

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Maintaining tradition is an incredible way to keep the Christmas energy flowing. However, there is nothing wrong with indulging in something entirely new… 

Why not find out how your new local community celebrates Christmas and join in? If there are any festivities that you can add to your new Christmas routine, even better. This is a perfectly symbolic way to integrate into your new expat life. 

Host dinner at your house with fellow expat families /travelers

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Cooking is a huge part of Christmas traditions around the world. Food is often used as a way to connect to memories which explains why many cultures have food reserved for Christmas Day (hello ackee and saltfish breakfast for Jamaicans!) Recreating these dishes is sure to bring you some joy and reinstate that Christmas spirit.

This is also a good way to get to know the customs in your community. What do they typically eat for Christmas dinner? Is there anyone to teach you new recipes? Perhaps asking other guests and expats to bring a dish will help you indulge fully in your new Christmas traditions. This one also works if you’re solo! Cook exactly what you want, eat as much as you want, and do Christmas your way. 

Volunteer at local shelters

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Volunteering at local shelters is a perfect way to give back to your new community. It is also a great way to fill the time in your day if it is your first Christmas away from home. Being able to give is the key element to Christmas Day so volunteering and spreading joy through offering your time and service is a generous way to hold space for joy in the day. This is also super fun when you include others and make friends while doing so. The more, the merrier!