This will be the last christmas related post I promise! But seriously, didn't christmas go super fast this year? I thought because of the time between christmas and new year, the festive period would feel never-ending. Yet here we are in January.
I remember the first christmas we spent here; we had landed in Cyprus in October and just 2 months later, were celebrating our first christmas Cypriot style. I am not going to lie, that christmas was probably the most challenging of my life and the most miserable. Home sickness had well and truly set in and all I wanted was a quiet family English christmas.
Three years later I have adapted to the customs and traditions of the festive season here in Cyprus. Christmas day is spent at granny's; the uncles cook souvla, the aunties do everything else and cousins entertain the little kids. There is an abundance of food which continues up until new years eve when there is another family feast to ring in the new year.
With all this to navigate during the festive season, there are a few tricks to keep any expat sane:
1. Embrace it
If you don't embrace your circumstances, you will inevitably drive yourself crazy. Sure christmas may not be what your used to, but there are lots of positives to celebrations in a new country. So find them, adopt their traditions and embrace the holiday period in the style of your new country.
2. Maintain your own traditions
Just because you are living in another country, doesn't mean you have to completely disregard your own customs. It is always possible to integrate your own style of doing things into your expat life. For example, come the first of December, my christmas tree is up, christmas movies are playing and christmas songs are on. In Cyprus christmas doesn't really get going until about two weeks before the day, but not in my apartment.
3. More importantly enjoy it
Just because your spending christmas apart from your family and friends, you should enjoy the festivities, whichever you want. Whether it's with your fellow expat friends, with family or with natives, enjoy the holidays, the traditions and the customs and look at it as an experience.