Celebrating Christmas as an Expat: Activities

Last week, I wrote an article on the different ways to celebrate Christmas as an expat through decoration. Luckily, I’m not such a humbug, staying in my apartment the entire time.

Those living in Europe probably have no problem getting into the Christmas spirit. In Taipei, well things are a bit tricky.


Six Ways to Celebrate Christmas as an Expat


See Lights, Online & In-Person

I left my family back in El Paso, and luckily for me, El Paso has a wonderful holiday light show at the Fred Loya House every year. The show is so grand that it actually won ABC’s Great Christmas Light Fight 2014! You can watch the epic light show for this year here. Try not to spaz out (from the holiday cheer or the fast moving light display)!

Another way to enjoy the season is to find some pretty nighttime lights. Most cities have some sort of pretty light display, if not for Christmas, then at least for aesthetics. Find some of the spots around your foreign location to get out and take in some bright reminders of the season!


Buy Candy Canes and Other Holiday Snacks

Based on my love of stockings for Christmas, I have to find goodies for me to wake up to on Christmas day. Quite a few stores carry a handful of Christmas candy, such as candy canes and chocolate, to tempt me for Christmas breakfast! Even if you can’t find Christmas candy (that meets your inner child standards) then splurge a bit and buy the good imported kind. I’m sure you already have a favorite pictured in your head. Go ahead, buy a few! Santa thinks you’ve been magnificent this year!

Feast, Feast, Feast

As if you aren’t indulging enough on Christmas candy, you should most definitely spend the extra on a nice restaurant meal or a top buffet. Since Thanksgiving, I went back to the Grand Hyatt Hotel’s Café which has heaps of delicious food. This time around though, I must admit I started with the desserts. The dessert chefs found it most amusing as the other patrons would not get around to that buffet counter until about an hour later. I have no regrets.

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Buy (Well-Intentioned) Christmas Cards

Oh how I love this activity any time of the year! Buying stationery in Taipei that actually makes sense is of great delight. My favorite card thus far has been a smiling hippo. When you open the card, a 3D picture of toothpaste pops up inside the mouth of the hippo. There are even little birds brushing his teeth! It says Happy Birthday and I can only laugh at what great meaning this card is most poetically trying to convey.

Christmas cards have been getting better, but sometimes you get dancing reindeer and skydiving Santas. If you need a good ol’ jolly laugh, go out seeking the best Christmas cards you can!

Listen to Christmas Tunes

No excuse for this one. With iHeartRadio, Spotify, and iTunes, listening to Christmas music anywhere in the world is easier than opening Santa’s presents under the tree! Seriously though, tape back in my day was childproof and everything came in impossible to cut plastic boxes! Oh, and batteries never included.

Watch Classic Christmas Movies

Another great wonder of our time are video-streaming websites in which users have uploaded all the classics! A Christmas Story, Frosty the Snowman, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and all the other wonderful Christmas movies we watched growing up. The only thing missing is some Swiss Miss with extra marshmallows and a big fluffy fleece blanket!

How do you celebrate the holidays when you’re far from home?

2 thoughts on “Celebrating Christmas as an Expat: Activities”

  1. Sounds pretty tough to get in Christmas mood in Taipei. I found it really funny last weekend when I’ve been to Abu Dhabi. In the Executive Lounge of the Hilton Hotel they played Christmas Tunes all the time. You should maybe have a look if they are doing the same in Taipei 😀

  2. I LOVE the stationary stores in Taiwan, and luckily we also have them here in Thailand as well. We have been listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas music, and doing elf on the shelf with Z.

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