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Spending Christmas abroad: Best tips

Cheers to making new traditions and celebrating Christmas abroad

Isn’t Christmas just the cosiest time of the year? The whole world turns into this dreamy and sparkly wonderland, right? You’ve got the twinkling lights, the over-the-top decorations, and those classic Christmas tunes making everyone feel cosy and festive. Plus, those city centre markets? They’re a whole vibe, filled with noise, warmth, cinnamon, hot wine smells, and a cheerful atmosphere. It’s all about singing, loving, and creating memories – such a vibrant, joyful atmosphere.

And the thing is, most of us are fond of traditions and if you’ve decided to be adventurous and spend Christmas abroad, you might have some doubts or fears. But no need to worry, you can still enjoy Christmas to the fullest, and get brand new and amazing memories. We guarantee that it will be different from back home, and you will probably miss parts of it. But life is about embracing what you have, and if you focus on what you CAN do, you’ll do amazing during Christmas and in life in general – that’s a fact. 

We have plenty of experience and stories from spending Christmas abroad. So sit back and relax, and read our tips to help you prepare for and plan your holiday season in your new home. And get ready to make some new traditions and lifelong memories spending Christmas abroad.

When and how is Christmas celebrated abroad?

Traditionally Christmas Day, the 25th of December, is a public holiday throughout Europe, and most businesses are closed. However, depending on the specific service or industry you work in, you may find yourself assigned to a holiday shift. Essential services such as public transportation, state healthcare, travel, and hospitality often continue to operate during Christmas. If you happen to work in customer support within one of these industries, you or many of your colleagues will be working on the 25th.

It’s worth noting that the duration of the holiday period varies from country to country. For example, in the United Kingdom and Ireland, both the 25th and 26th of December are public holidays, but, in France, it’s only the 25th. While Christmas Eve, the 24th, is not typically a public holiday across European countries, it is often considered a special day, where most shops and small businesses are either closed or working reduced hours. Also, sometimes it depends on locals’ attitude to holidays in general. For example, in Southern Europe, most people are likely to chill and relax without demanding any top-notch quality service from anyone. In Eastern Europe, it may come across as the exact opposite. So be prepared. This is important, because your work volume may vary depending on those.

Working during the days of Christmas

If you find yourself assigned to a regular shift on Christmas Day, do not to stress too much. Your work buddies are probably in the same boat, and it is kind of comforting to know that you’re in it together. The cool thing is, Christmas Day usually isn’t when everyone’s blowing up the customer service lines. In fact, most companies give the employees a heads-up that things will probably slow down during the holidays. So, chill out, take a breather, and make the most of it. 

Depending on the company you work for, and whether you work at an office or from home, you will have different options for enjoying the day. At Job Squad, we have various experiences with supervision and clean desk policy, so you should check out the rules of your workplace. For example, in some places, you are not allowed to bring food to your desk, in others you’re free to chat with your coworkers, watch movies together, and have small lunches – of course, while always keeping an eye on your computer. In some companies, the management and supervision departments are chill about letting small celebrations happen, even if the rules say otherwise. But in other places, they’re not letting anything slide. From one establishment to another, and even from country to country, different levels of strictness will apply. One you can be sure of – you won’t be left alone at your office, and your colleagues are most likely up to making it a cheerful shift as well. 

Working from your home office during Christmas

If you work from home, you may enjoy a little more freedom than at an office, but you may also feel lonelier during this time. In that case, don’t be shy, take care of yourself, and become your own Santa! Set the decorations, buy a Christmas tree, make or download a playlist with Christmas carols and music, pour yourself some tea or coffee with spices, and buy sweets in advance. And maybe even put on a Christmas movie or two while working from home.No worries, the working hours will fly by, and you will get the chance to celebrate the holiday to its fullest! And because of the low volume of workload, you will probably also be able to call your loved ones at home. Video calls can bridge the distance and allow you to celebrate together, propose toasts, and even make a party of your own. You may even try to play online board games together. Christmas abroad is what you make it.

Attend work events and have fun with your colleagues

Make those days at work special! Get into the holiday spirits by spreading the love, swapping gifts with your coworkers, and maybe even singing carols. You can also agree to play Secret Santa with your coworkers. And hey, why not chat with your local neighbours or friends and get to know about their holiday traditions? Blend those traditions into your routine, and you’ll have yourself a legit Christmas adventure abroad, making memories you won’t forget and creating a unique experience. For example, in the Czech Republic, it’s a common tradition to tell fortunes on Christmas Eve in all possible ways. Bring fruits, cards, and candles and try to predict together what the future will bring.

Many companies also throw parties during the holidays and our advice is… Attend! Yeah, we know, sometimes it’s hard to be around so many people, especially if you’re new to the team. But it’s the perfect occasion to make new friends, and simply get memories and grow personally. And you are all spending Christmas abroad on your own, so you have a lot in common already.

Make plans for your holiday abroad

Do you have a specific dream vision of how you wish to spend Christmas abroad? Be proactive and make your own wishes come true. You can e.g. create a WhatsApp group and arrange whatever celebration you desire. Maybe a private party with food, a full-on party or exploring the city with a night out. If you live in a big city, usually there are plenty of events, charity concerts, and activities at the markets. Also, as we mentioned earlier, many hospitality businesses, including some restaurants, clubs, and bars, work during the holidays. So you can go there with a group of friends – but you’ll probably have to book everything in advance. 

Christmas abroad: make it special

In a nutshell, celebrating Christmas abroad in a foreign country can seem challenging, but it really just comes down to your own perspective and awareness of options – and your effort. No matter if you’re working or planning new kinds of Christmas traditions and celebrations, you can make it absolutely worthwhile and memorable. At work, you can dive into the holiday spirit, have a blast with your coworkers, and maybe even bust out a few carols if you’re feeling it. 

So once again, cheers to all adventurous souls – you’re not alone and this Christmas will be very special and amazing.

And if you’re reading this from your home country and you now really wish to start your journey and spend Christmas abroad, we can help you! Click here and contact one of our recruiters and we’ll help you find a great job at your dream destination.