How to Celebrate the Holidays as an Expat

Going into your first holiday season abroad as an expat, you’re excited. Wondering how they celebrate, what the decorations are like, how they decorate, what are the typical celebrations, what food they eat, and so on. But then, when the time arrives and you’re ready to do all of those things, who are you doing them with? This may be the biggest problem when it comes to the expat life; going it alone. Solo travel is fun and exciting, but that’s different. It’s the holidays, you want friends, acquaintances, somebody to hang out with, laugh and joke with, and most importantly, someone to take selfies with! Here are a few tips to making the most of the holiday season as an expat.


This is literally the best thing that has happened to me. I have attended many cool events and met my closest friends through Meetup. They have a TON of events and they are full of people looking to meet people, just like you!

2.    Do something that really gets you in the holiday spirit.

Whether it’s checking out the Christmas display windows at a major department store, watching the lighting of a Christmas tree, attending a Christmas market or ice skating by city hall, this instantly gets you into the holiday spirit and you’re too busy having fun to think of anything else. And most European Christmas markets have some variation of hot wine (vin chaud, grogg, gluhwein, etc.) which will help you make it through anything!

3.    Expat Facebook groups

You are never alone as an American expat is any country. There are several groups on Facebook specifically for expats and they get together during the holidays because they are in the same situation as you.

4.    Make your own event!

Depending on how long you’ve been in your country, you have probably made a few friends on your own. Why not plan your own holiday party or dinner and invite some of your new friends and they invite their friends…see where I’m going with this? Fill your place with friends, joy and laughter!

5.    Wine!

Tis the season, right? Now I know this may not be the most ideal way to make it through, but we all know that wine makes everything better! Extra points if you’re an expat in France, Spain or Argentina as you have access to the good stuff!!

How will you be spending the holidays as an expat? Share your tips with us and Happy Holidays!!