I moved to Australia just over 3 years ago now, and am settling in for my fourth Christmas down under. Hailing from the UK I grew up with cold, festive and family-filled Christmases full of traditions. This has made Christmas away from home a very hard period of the year for me as I adjust to a whole new style of Christmas, new traditions, new food and to the fact that my family are celebrating back home without me.
Being away from your home, your friends and your family is never easy but it is harder during the Christmas period and I struggle to get that ‘Christmas feeling’ over here in Australia. I miss snuggling up by a fire with a mulled wine on a cold Sunday evening. I miss the short days and the dark afternoons being lit up by numerous Christmas lights along London’s streets. I miss muddy winter walks with my dog and kicking off my wellies in the local pub and a hearty roast dinner. I tend to mull over the things I miss when away for Christmas, but this year I have decided on a new approach and see the positives of being away in a beautiful country for the festive season and help me enjoy the holiday season as much as possible. I know I am not the only one who feels like this over Christmas, so I have put together the below tips:
Number One – the power of communication
We live in an age where we can talk to anyone at anytime, anywhere in the world. I make a point to phone my parents who currently live in the USA almost everyday. I am lucky to have a great relationship with my parents and I miss them dearly everyday, and even more so around Christmas. So during the holiday season make sure to schedule in time to call on FaceTime, Whatsapp, Facebook (so many options) as much as possible to not only talk to each other but see each other face to face. This way we can show each other our surroundings, our homes, our lives and feel as though we are almost with each other. I find that it makes me feel more included in their Christmas and a chance to be proud and show them mine too
Number Two – embrace changes
As I mentioned before, I am used to Christmases full of traditions and so breaking this can be rather unsettling – especially if you are worry wobbler like me and don’t like change! I’ve never been good with change, my battle with anxiety means that I like to stay in my comfort zone. However, I recently tried to fight past this and remembered why I moved to Australia in the first place; to conquer my fears. I realised that I must therefore embrace the changes, embrace the differences that an Aussie Christmas has to offer and immerse myself in it. If I kept holding on to the past, I’ll never enjoy the present. It’s not easy, it’s unsettling, it’s the unknown, but it is important for enjoying my journey and ensuring that I am not wasting the amazing opportunity I have to live in and experience a whole new part of the world.
Number Three – create your own traditions
Following on from embracing changes, the ‘Part Two’ of this step I guess you could say is creating your own traditions. As I said, move on from the past to enjoy the present. I decided that I wanted to bring some of my old traditions over to Australia and adopt new ones. My Christmases still include a delicious roast, songs about snow and the cold (even though its 30+ degrees outside), silly Christmas jumpers and celebrating Sankta Lucia which is a Swedish celebration that I mark each year as part of my Swedish heritage. My traditions have now evolved into eating prawns and bbq meat as part of my Christmas dinner, wearing silly Christmas t-shirts instead of jumpers and swimming in the pool/ocean instead of sitting by the fire. Not only have I changed my perspective on the way I see Christmas but I feel I have grown within myself and expanded what I am comfortable with and who I am. A new tradition that I have created and can proudly share with others.