That time of the year again

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It’s December and so it’s that time of the year again where everyone is getting together to celebrate Christmas and New Years. Or well everyone… it doesn’t seem that that’s happening on this side of the world. In a country where the majority of people are Buddhist, Christmas is being celebrated only in shopping malls and hotels. Compared to where we lived before – Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City – Phuket is keeping it on the down low. And so I find it’s more difficult to get into the holiday spirit.

So a couple of things I do to get into the Christmas Spirit:

  • Set up the Christmas tree: A tree is just a tree until you dress it up and put gifts under it. I think most of the gifts that are under our tree are not really gifts. They obviously are gifts as they are wrapped, but we both know what’s in them. So for me, those are not really gifts. However, it does make the tree look more festive, so I keep on wrapping items to add to the tree!
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    I also love to have some fun things hanging in the tree. This year we have Dutch houses and golden pine cones as ornaments. And obviously some nice twinkling lights!
  • Join The Gift Exchange organised by Fat Mum Slim: this is such a great initiative. Blogger Chantelle {a.k.a. Fat Mum Slim} has set up this awesome worldwide gift exchange in which everyone can join. Each person is matched with a new friend (you can choose to go local or international), and through the facebook site set up you will be able to find out more about your new friend. When you know a little more you start buying that person a gift and you send it over. And the fun part is, you’ll receive a gift too! It’s super easy to join – you only have to sign up and donate at least $5 to Rafiki Mwema charity – and you’re set.
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    As an expat living overseas, it’s a great way to get to know more people worldwide, and I loved how it gets me in the Christmas mood – for the second year in a row! Thank you Chantelle 🙂
  • Send Christmas cards: As you must know by now, I love sending and receiving cards. So for Christmas, I like to send my friends cards. It’s difficult to find nice cards here tho, so sometimes I have to make them myself {as I am not a very creative person, so sorry to the people who received my home made card… It came from a good heart tho!} or be lucky to find some nice Christmas cards. This year I brought some home from Holland, made some, and found some in the shop here with a Thai message {really hoping it said something nice 😉 }. Writing these cards always puts me in a Christmas mood. And receiving Christmas cards makes me even happier. Hopefully, some will arrive soon as I have yet to receive anything in the mail…
  • Listen to Christmas radio: in Holland, we have a couple of Christmas radio stations. And luckily I can listen to them online. I love listening to Radio 3FM – who every year hold a huge fundraiser called Serious Request. Every year this station works together with the Red Cross to collect money for a silent disaster. In the week before Christmas, three 3FM DJ’s are living in a glass house in a square in a Dutch town. They eat nothing for these days {but do get healthy shakes and juice}, are not allowed to leave the house and make live radio 24-hours a day. They inform the listeners about the purpose and what will happen with the contributions that are being made. Always fun to listen to while abroad.
  • Christmas clothes: Since I was a little girl, we would always have a special Christmas outfit. A new outfit to celebrate this holiday season. Now I am not really doing that anymore, but I do try to find clothes that are getting me in the holiday mood such as this fun sweater.
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    {H&M please get this sweater in a tropical edition, as the wool is too hot here in Phuket!}

As an expat, it can be hard to celebrate Christmas away from home. But in all the places we’ve lived, there was always something special during this time of year. Whether it was the family and friends or the location we were at.
However, you always have the feeling someone is missing out. That’s what happens when you’re an expat. You have people you love in all the corners of the world. So for everyone I am not seeing this year for Christmas, I’d love to wish you a Merry Christmas. I hope all of you celebrate it in the best possible way – wherever you are in the world!

Would love to hear from you to see how you get into the Spirit of Christmas!

xxx Frei

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