Friday, December 24, 2010

Celebrating Christmas Overseas

Christmas is often a hard time to be an expat living overseas. For me, it's not just about being four-thousand miles away from family but also the struggle to keep the holiday traditions alive while living abroad.

Sure I love to trim the tree, bake cookies, sing Christmas carols, watch Christmas movies, and go to the candlelight service on Christmas Eve.

But it's still not always easy to make it feel like Christmas around here, but I do my best.

Even if I usually trim the tree alone. I might bake cookies and find that nobody likes them. I still sing carols loud and proud around the house even there's no one else to sing along. We still watch my favorite Christmas movies - like White Christmas, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and Home Alone - even if they're not the type of movies my husband grew up with.

Don't get me wrong, my husband's a good sport about the whole thing, even if these aren't the same Christmas traditions he's used to. And after being married for several years now he's used to me wanting to keep all those American holiday traditions alive in Egypt.

Even if sometimes it seems like I'm forcing it to feel like Christmas. And that can be downright exhausting.

Anyone else ever feel that way?

This is the life of an expat living abroad. We celebrate our holidays and traditions the best way we can. The longer the span of time you spend abroad, a little more distant you feel when the holidays come around.

One interesting fact is that most Egyptian Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7 instead of December 25. Apparently Eastern Orthodox national churches in Egypt, Greece and Russia (to name a few) use the Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar (used by Catholics and most Protestants as well) which means that holidays such as Christmas and sometimes Easter fall on a different day.

My son is going to love this when he gets older. What more could a little guy ask for than to get 2 Christmases every year?

Anyhow here we are again, it's Christmas Eve. The tree is sparkling, the cookies baked, presents wrapped, and all that's left is to attend the candlelight service at church tonight.

Merry Christmas everyone! May it be blessed wherever you are in the world!


  1. Happy Christmas Erin to you and your family! Have a lovely time and thanks for sharing your life and ideas through your blog with all of us.Marie

  2. Thanks Marie. Merry Christmas to you too!


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