I have opened up my blog for guest posts from expat mamas to share how they will be spending their festive season this year. I’m so excited to have the lovely Juanne put ‘pen to paper’ for me again and to share with us her expat Christmas in Germany.
Juanne is a South African mom of two who lives in Germany. The last post she wrote for me was such a hit, explaining in such perfect detail exactly why we travel with kids! I couldn’t wait to read how she was going to be spending Christmas in Germany with her family this year.
I won’t be home this Christmas
‘Christmas is a time when you get homesick – even when you’re home.’ Carol Nelson
I couldn’t understand this quote, but then … I moved abroad. If you’re celebrating the holidays in your new home country, then you’ll understand how you can be homesick while simultaneously being home. This will be our second Christmas in our new home in Germany. This year it will be a
little lighter on my heart as my mom will be with us. But I remember our first Christmas here and I remember how sad I was.
Our first Christmas abroad was a tough one for me. It just wasn’t the same. Christmas at home in South Africa meant water fights and sunshine. It meant sweating in the kitchen preparing a traditional English Christmas lunch. It meant family, being together and all the craziness. All of
these things were missing on our first Christmas in Germany. The house was too quiet and the kitchen was too empty. I was too heartbroken at the time to see what was right in front of me.
This year, however, my eyes and heart are wide open to see the magic that is Christmas in Germany.
What A Difference A Year Makes
We typically don’t travel over the festive season but we do go on weekend trips or day trips to parts of Germany we have not yet visited. This has certainly helped me embrace German Christmas traditions this year. From making my own Christmas advent wreath and homemade advent calendars for the kids, to ordering a goose to roast on Christmas eve (I’ll take any advice on how to cook said goose!).
We’ve visited Christmas markets (the most recent being a medieval Christmas market), eaten roasted nuts and drunk Glühwein. We’ve bought and decorated our REAL (not plastic) Christmas tree.
Germans certainly know how to do Christmas right! I am loving our expat Christmas in Germany.
That said, I’m careful to include the family traditions that I grew up with. As I have Scottish heritage our Christmases back home in South Africa are very similar to the British (obviously just hotter!) so you can be sure I’ll
be making mince pies. We leave Santa and his reindeer some beer, mince pies and carrots to help fuel their Christmas eve journey. And of course Christmas stockings are hanging, fireplace or not!
So if you’re living abroad this Christmas and you’re having a tough time my advice to you is this: combine the new with the old and make some new traditions!
Oh, and what do I want for Christmas?
I love the idea of experiences over things so husband if you’re reading this, how about a trip to Italy?
Thanks so much, Juanne! And that is great advice – embrace the new and combine it with the old! Oh, and those mince pies looking yummy! Please send me your recipe!
If you are interested to see how she is getting on in Germany, and all the wonderful pictures from her family travel and family day out adventures, you need to follow her on Instagram: @4sticks_in_a_bundle
If you fancy checking out the other contributions to this #RealMomsWhoTravel Christmas Special series, please do: