Expat Musings

A Little Expat Chat: All About Holiday Traditions

Well hello my little kitten cats, greetings from America.  I have to tell you, I have been yawning alot lately and dying for one really good night sleep since flying to Seattle on Friday. Yup, jet lag is a real pain in my ass. {For those who have done a big flight, you know just what I am talking about. Ugh.}  But, I have been enjoying American goodies like Red Robin, Lucky Charms, Root Beer, Target and good home cooking.  Along with that, I am trying to catch up with life back in America which has been interesting to say the least.  And I will need to be writing a whole other post about when I have my mind around all things America.

But it is fitting that today is Expat Q&A session, chatting about the lovely holiday season!  I really enjoyed answering these questions kittens, and I hope that you enjoyed them as well! With that, here we go!

Has your idea of the holiday season changed since becoming an expat?  I would describe the  holiday season here in the UK as charming. {Yeah, I think I’ll use charming here.}  The window displays begin trickling in right around the beginning of November, and you know what?  And you know what, I don’t mind.  The glitter, the lights, the lovely decorations and even red cups at Starbucks bring the spirit of Christmas a bit earlier than in America.  And right around the end of November, there is always a big lighting ceremony that brings the town together for wonderful festive fun.  But I have to admit, my favorite surprise of Christmas here in the UK is the wonderfully charming and oh-so lovely Christmas market. Guys, these markets are amazing. Filled with little stalls selling teas, handmade  jewelry, crepes and my personal favorite mulled wine. Ahhhh!! So good!  And my other favorite thing about the markets: it feels so much less commercial than American Christmas experiences that I have had back home, I guess more authentic in a way.   And in the UK, December 26th (Boxing Day) is a National/Bank Holiday, rather than December 24th, which is just a bit different for me.

How do you build new holiday traditions, while keeping ones that remind you of “home”?  By being flexible in how to celebrate both cultures no matter where we are in the world. Last year, we watched Christmas movies that reminded me of home, like It’s a Wonderful Life or Elf.  We listened to favorite Christmas music, and enjoyed slightly adjusted American treats, with UK ingredients. {Like adjusting the recipe for my Grandma’s stuffed mushrooms.}  This year, being in America we have brought UK goodies for my family to enjoy: mulled wine sachets, mince pies, teas, hot toddy mix, biscuits galore. plus crackers!  I guess for us, it works to not have too many expectations for the holidays, but always try to incorporate a little bit of our favorites  from “home”.

Well, my little expat kittens… what do you think about the holidays as an expat? Have you had to make adjustments to a new culture for the holidays?  I know that Bailie and I are super excited to hear from you all!


Oh, and check out the new button designed by the lovely Bailie.  How spicy, right?

Expat Q&A


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  • Cynthia

    i may be a teensy bit jealous 🙂 enjoy seattle and all of those american goodies for me…. especially an eggnog latte or two.

  • jetlag is the worst! hope you get adjusted soon 🙂 I have to admit that the holiday season is when I feel the cultural difference between the US and Taiwan the most. we do the best we can here… having 25C weather in December doesn’t hurt… but I’m seriously jealous of all the Christmas markets etc that you European expats have!

  • It took me a little while to get used to how early Christmas starts in the UK without Thanksgiving as a real kick-off date! I mean, it starts just as early commercially in the US but everyone complains about it starting too early 😛

    have a WONDERFUL time in Seattle!

  • I think this Christmas will be lovely as it is the first with Hubby as an expat, but I have been badly organised with everything so it is going to be a bit odd this year, but I am now fully organised and ready for next year! Phew!

  • Our Christmases are bit of a mixture too, i think it’s the only way to go. Pick the best bits and mix it up!

  • I spent Christmas in England one year and I loved it! I’m jealous that that’s your life… Even though you’re in America this year. 😉