Shout out to my fellow ex-pats! It ain’t easy having Christmas in Summer.

The Oxymoronical Sand-Snow Man. It ain’t right.

It’s a difficult time of year to be away from family. You tend to romanticize the holidays and forget about trying to divide time between blended families, bad weather, overeating, stress and gloom. Still- there is something about not having the choice to endure all that which makes you sooooo homesick.

A Docklands Christmas Tree.  No Snow.
When I settled in Australia Matt and I agreed that we would do every other Christmas in Buffalo. After that first one- with double the cost of flights, the delays, snow…I realized that it would be better for me to visit in the Spring or Summer.

I hate winter but I do miss it this time of year. Saturday I wrapped gifts out on the deck while wearing sun-block. It just seems wrong.

The American expat Facbook page has been alight since December with newbies complaining about homesickness and seasoned Americalians’s giving pointers for making the best of it.

I’ve been here five years so I’m kind of an inbetweener. I still get homesick all the time but for me the key to surviving is joining- even if I don’t always feel like it.

Here are my top tips for surviving holiday homesickness:

Make your own traditions
Things are different here. Obviously. You live in a foreign country for love or money, either way it’s unproductive to compare Australia to the USA. Embrace the differences and create some blended traditions.

You should have seen the look on my in-laws faces the first time I made a pumpkin pie at Christmas- it was like I said I was making a dessert out of tomatoes (Australians view pumpkin as a savory only.) But they tried it to be polite (and loved it) now every year we eat pumpkin pie and drink champagne on Christmas Eve. And you know what else I can really get down with? A Christmas seafood BBQ.

Stay Busy
Decorate even if you don’t feel festive. Santa looks cool on a surfboard! Keeping busy is extremely easy to do this time of year. Online shop for family back in the USA, go to parties, have friends over to watch Christmas movies in the A/C while you drink hot chocolate. Just fake it till you make it.

Try New Things
Build a sand-snow man or try out a local bus tour to see decorative lights. Listen to carols in the park or at the beach. Make the most of what’s on offer for the experience.

Get in Touch
Send cards. Skype and Facetime with family. I learned a long time ago not to hold my breath for people to get in touch with me.  Outta sight, outta mind- swallow your pride and be the first to reach out.

Go on a vacation
If all else fails- abandon ship and head to Bali, Thailand or New Zeland. It’s cheaper than flying to Cairns.
Happy Holidays from Down Unda!
I spotted some Roos on the way to Christmas Last Year. Yus.

Author: dawnrieniets

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