A Different Christmas for Expats in the UK

If you’re an expat about to experience your first Christmas in the UK, it’s helpful to be prepared for some of the special features of a northern hemisphere Christmas.

Christmas in a cold climate is exciting – what’s not to love about all those traditions like carol singing, mulled wine, chestnuts roasting by an open fire, Oxford Street lights and all the rest of the festivities. The run-up to Christmas is a great opportunity for sightseeing, shopping, browsing in markets, eating and drinking. If you’ve met someone special on Antipodate or through speed dating, it’s great to have a companion to share these experiences and it’s a good time for getting to know each other better.

To make the most of Christmas it helps to do a little preparation, because the festive season in the UK is not the happy-go-lucky open house affair you may be used to at home. Christmas in the UK can be quite a serious family occasion, and most services shut down for at least a day, so don’t expect to find public transport operating or supermarkets open. Add to that the certainty of cold weather plus the likelihood of rain or even snow, and you can see why it’s a good idea to plan ahead for your Christmas Day celebration.

Stock up with food and drink before Christmas; if you don’t want to be a slave to the kitchen you’ll find some great snacks and pre-prepared festive dishes in the supermarkets. It might also be a good time to get in some films on DVD, and remember that a potted poinsettia is obligatory.

No date to share Christmas with? Step up your Internet dating efforts this week! If you’ve left your run a bit late on that count you can always invite some expat friends to share Christmas with you!

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