With as many as 13 million Brits living abroad, a lot chocolate oranges are going to be unwrapped a long way from home this Christmas. In the UK we’ve got plenty of holiday traditions that you won’t find anywhere else, so we got our best deer hunters on and found out what far flung bloggers missed most about the holiday season in dear old blighty. Did Christmas crackers, carollers in the Tesco car park or wishing fruitlessly for snow make their list of things they yearned most for? (We’ll give you a hint – it wasn’t the carollers!)
So if you’re one of the millions of English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish ex-pats who are living all over the world this Christmas, check out our favourite responses below and remember that with ParcelHero, you can #senditwithlove no matter where you are. And if you fancy a little taste of home, check out our Christmas page for the last dates shipping dates around the world.
Stuart – Invading Holland
Originally from London Stuart has spent over the last decade living in the land of clogs, windmills and Van Gogh, otherwise known as The Netherlands. Language misunderstandings, cultural confusion, bizarre adventures and a few cases of mistaken identity are just a few of the stories you will find on Invading Holland.
The festive tradition of Christmas Crackers has never really made it big in The Netherlands. I discovered this the year I had to explain to my Dutch parents-in-law what a Christmas cracker was. They had never heard of them and thought I was completely mad as I tried to explain that, “it’s a kind of long tube thing and two people pull each end. Then it goes bang and you get a small gift, a paper hat and a bad joke.”
Trying to explain the importance of the paper hat being silly and the joke being bad was lost on them. The Dutch just don’t understand that for a British person Christmas dinner is simply not Christmas dinner without a few crackers, colourful paper hats and groaningly bad jokes.
Bonus: Why I love Sinterklaas:
There are a lot of things I miss about a British Christmas but there are also a lot of things I love about the Dutch traditions for Christmas and Sinterklaas. When the Dutch celebrate they do it big. Sinterklaas’ arrival in The Netherland is a huge event that gets reported on the national news. Cheering children line the streets to see him sail up the canal in their village or town in his steam boat (he visits everywhere). It’s impossible not to get caught up in all the excitement.
When I’m asked who I prefer; Father Christmas or Sinterklaas I answer that Father Christmas will always be the one who has a special place in my heart but as long as I can get away with it I don’t mind receiving gifts from both of them. The only thing I’m not sure about is if I’m on the naughty list for one of them am I automatically on the other?
Jonny – The Phillipines Expat
Jonny swapped the cold, wet streets of London for the tropical beaches of the Philippines back in 2012, and hasn’t looked back since. When not in the office, you can normally find Jonny in the gym, by the pool, or enjoying a cold Red Horse beer in his local bar.
I’m from London, but moved to the Philippines three years ago. The things that I miss the most from home are food, transport, and communication. While local food in the Philippines is ok, it’s mostly quite simple and usually unhealthy – typically fried pork and rice, for example. In London, you obviously have a huge selection of international cuisine, and even in the supermarkets there is much more choice compared to where I live now (my local supermarket doesn’t even sell beef). People in London like to complain about the tube but transport here in Cebu is very limited – your only choice of public transport is either jeepney (which is a very small, crowded bus) or taxi, along with hitching a ride on the back of a motorbike. Also we don’t have cycle lanes and often there is really heavy traffic, so i spend a lot of time in traffic jams now. Although English is a national language of the Philippines, quite often the locals struggle to understand my British accent, and people don’t get sarcasm either, so often I have to both repeat myself and explain my jokes, which can get a bit frustrating.
Simone and Dan – The Aussie Flashpacker
Hello! We’re Simone & Dan, a twenty something Australian girl & English boy. We’re the founders, editors, authors & photographers of The Aussie Flashpacker. We met & fell in love whilst travelling in South America and now travel the world together.
Being an Australian Expat in the UK means it is tough being away from home at Christmas! It is not exactly cheap to send gifts to the other side of the world so I love sending sentimental gifts that will mean something to my friends and family. I love making personalised photo books and calendars and picking up one of a kind pieces on our travels that I know our family will love. In terms of gift wrapping, I always try and choose gifts that aren’t too heavy and aren’t an awkward shape ensuring they are nice and easy to wrap as they have a long way to go before they make it to their recipient and I want to make sure they make it in the same state that they left in. I love wrapping paper that features snowy scenes because it reminds my friends and family of how different the weather is over here this time of the year! My final tip is to start early! There’s nothing worse than having to rush at the last minute or sacrifice on the gift you wanted because you didn’t leave yourself enough time for it to make it abroad!
So whether it’s the weather you’re missing while you luxuriate in the sunny Australian Christmas, the bad jokes and silly hats, or just being able to have a proper Christmas dinner with people who understand what you’re saying, there’s nothing quite like a British Christmas. With ParcelHero, you can send a little slice of that home goodness to over 220 countries, but no matter what you’re sending where, remember to #senditwithlove.