Spending Christmas holidays away from home, might be one of the biggest challenges of studying abroad (besides, you know, keeping yourself alive).
It is difficult to feel festive all the time, when you don’t have your family around and this holidays are all about spending time together, and -let’s be honest- the weather doesn’t help… at all.
So here it is, a list of things you could do to keep the Christmas spirit in the sky… or just to refrain from seasonal homesickness.
1. Watch silly Christmas movies.
With all the exams and assignments, the time we had to spare was very little -or inexistent-, so this few days off are just perfect to watch all the movies we would never watch back home. I would particularly watch “Love Actually” (It’s like a tradition), but since I just realized it’s not on Netflix anymore, I’ll stick to “A Christmas Prince” because it has all I need: an absurd love story with a castle and people looking warm and happy even though it looks like freezing outside. Best part? There’s a sequel! Spoiler alert: the second part is about the wedding, and who doesn’t like a Christmas wedding?.
2. Listen all the music you can.
From the music your parents used to play on the weekends, to the songs of the Finnish bands you just discovered, play all the music you can, ugly dance in your room or ugly sing in the shower, whatever you do, just enjoy it!!
If one day you’re particularly feeling down, it’s okay to play a sad song, as long as you switch to a happier one as soon as you got over the feeling. I particularly enjoy listening Carols that I can’t possibly sing, or Christmas songs with Frank Sinatra, but my favorite band to listen to in this time of the year is -I don’t know why- The Killers.
Maybe because it’s worth to ask ourselves if we’re human or dancer, or ask the one next to us if he/she can read our mind.
We never know the answer.
(Graphic description of me, ugly singing)
The distance, along with the snow and the Christmas lights on the street, might be the perfect combination to think about the things we value the most, the people in our lives and all the things we didn’t dare to tell them. This is the perfect time to make some coffee, play music and write down all those things in our mind.
I’m not saying we all should write love declarations or long apologies, but it’s always good to dig deep inside us and make our thoughts and feelings a bit clearer. I’m not saying either we should be sending letters to everyone, but maybe after writing, we might realize how much we miss someone and it’s never a waste to let them know.
Being in a different country, does not mean we should forget about our loved ones.
4. Make plans with friends.
This might seem obvious but I’m gonna say it anyway: don’t spend Christmas alone!!! Get together with friends, cook together and have a great time. Only because we’re away from our family, doesn’t mean we have to be all alone.
5. Go outside to see real Christmas trees.
My mom -almost- every year, decorated a Christmas tree. We used to dedicate an entire day only to decorate it. We enjoyed it so much last year!!! But this Christmas I will definitely not decorate a tree, simply because I DON’T HAVE EITHER A TREE OR CHRISTMAS DECORATION.
Sad but true….
Luckily, there are Christmas trees everywhere in the city and outside church, so put on some warm clothes and go to take a picture of it.
Maybe, in a few years -when we’re not here- we’ll miss the time we were in Finland, trying to survive a Christmas abroad.
There are no foreign lands. It is the traveller only who is foreign.
Robert Louis Stevenson