So what’s the verdict on Christmas abroad? There are of course a number of pros and cons to spending it away from home, but what is it exactly that makes that such an unimaginable idea for some of us?
I think routine and a sense of ‘home’ have a big role to play here – nobody is as open to change as they are to tradition, particularly when it comes to Christmas Day. It’s easier to sit back and let the usual routine fall into place when you’re at home – the Christmas cooking, the opening of presents and of course the annual family quarrel. But this year will be my third Christmas abroad and I can guarantee that everything that usually happens on Christmas Day at home will still happen while I’m abroad. The only real difference is the setting, the weather and the culture.
Of course, some may say they’d hate a sunny Christmas, which is a fair point – a wintery Christmas will always feel right. However, as long as you have family and good company, Christmas abroad feels much the same as Christmas at home. This year my Christmas will be on the island of Malta, in the heart of Mediterranean. Overflowing with tradition and culture, it is an absolute blessing to be on this island during the Christmas season. With Christmas lights illuminating every street, roundabout and all 359 churches that exist on the tiny island, it is not lacking decoration. Live nativities also take place and make the perfect outing for families on or just before Christmas Day. The true meaning of Christmas has hardly been forgotten on the Catholic island, with church bells ringing aloud for midnight mass on Christmas Eve.
This cultural factor really adds to the Christmas experience abroad. The excitement of seeing the festivities of another culture and the almost naive feeling you have in experiencing them really brings out the Christmas wonder that so many of us experienced only as children. Not to mention the Mediterranean style Christmas dinner and cheap Maltese wine – Christmas abroad is starting to sound great, right?
On an island that has never seen snow, the Maltese Christmas is of course different to our traditionally British Christmas in many ways. The weather is mild, real Christmas trees aren’t as popular and you’d probably struggle to find a Christmas pudding in the local supermarket. If you can do without these things, then Malta is a beautiful location for you to spend your Christmas Day. If not, there are plenty of other countries full of culture that can offer you a unique Christmas abroad without you having to miss out on Christmas pudding. As long as you are surrounded by family and friends (that have preferably brought presents with them) then you’re good to go for the perfect Christmas, regardless of your location.
Read our LSi pick of the top Christmas destinations here