Teaching English in China is an exciting experience, but it can also be a little difficult during holiday times when you're away from friends and family and in a different country.
Even though you're far away from home, you can still keep your holiday traditions alive and also find unique ways to celebrate with new friends and coworkers! Many cities in China will have special musical performances, Christmas markets, evening banquets, and other holiday-themed events, and many expats will create their own traditions or cook a big meal in their own apartment.
Here are a few interesting and exciting things that some expats in China like to do to celebrate the holiday season.
"All foreigners are in the same boat when it comes to the holidays. Everyone misses family and friends, and the best way to help with the homesickness is to get together with the other foreigners and plan your own holiday celebrations and parties.
Even though it's not exactly like home, being with other people and celebrating the holidays together is a lot better than just trying to ignore the holiday. Also, FaceTiming your family and friends helps a TON. Here the Chinese also like to celebrate, so at Western restaurants some will hold parties and dinners for the holidays! Get in touch with other foreigners and Chinese friends and get yourself a good support system."
Follow Cherice on Instagram: @cneeley3
"You need to put the effort in to feel the Christmas Spirit! So wear your Christmas Sweater and rock out to some Christmas tunes. Get together with your friends and watch some holiday movies while drinking mulled wine. I order stuff for my family on Amazon to be delivered gift wrapped to them. Skype, Facetime or Wechat your family on Christmas Day so you don't miss out on them opening presents. Plan a Christmas Dinner - either making it or going out to eat with friends. Most 4/5 star hotels put on a big Christmas Dinner or Buffet. Organize a secret Santa at work or with your friends."
"It can get pretty lonely in China especially over Christmas. We never use to go all out until we moved here, but now have a tree, gifts - and even do Christmas dinner parties with friends. The people you meet here and the time spent with them over the holidays is what makes it more tolerable and will have you feeling less homesick."
Follow Charlise on Instagram: @charlisemrossouw
"I always organised '12 Pubs of Christmas' with my mates back home. Last year, I did the same thing for some of the lads in Nanjing. We all wore festive jumpers, hats, etc and successfully completed 12 Pubs in one night. I have arranged the same thing for this year - it's tradition now.
Even though you are away from home, Christmas is what you make it. Everyone is in the same boat and everyone usually wants to make a big effort to make Christmas time feel special while away from their families and home country."
Follow Johnny on Instagram: @johnny_bingham
"It's hard being away from family, but celebrating with friends in China can be so fun! I lived in a small city during my first year in China where not many people celebrated Western holidays. For Christmas several American teachers and I ordered a giant turkey off of Taobao. We invited our Chinese friends over to celebrate together, then we taught them how to play American games. It's fun sharing traditions with people here to feel less far away from home."
Follow Rachel on Instagram: @rachelmeetschina
"Christmas in China for me has never been dull! One year, myself and some friends cooked a traditional Christmas dinner in my house for 40 people. We have 3 ovens going and people were great bringing things over and helping out. It's such a lovely memory and just shows you can have just as big a family in China as back at home.
You can also find many restaurants that will do a Christmas dinner - you may have to pay a price, but it's worth it to do something special. Beijing also has Christmas markets, I'm not sure about any other cities but I'll definitely be hitting the Beijing ones this year. To top it off, make sure you have a Christmas film downloaded for every day starting Dec 1st to Dec 25th to build up the Christmas spirit!"
Follow Eleanor on Instagram: @eleanorboniface
No matter where you live in China, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the holidays. Start some new traditions and explore all the possibilities.
If you're interested in teaching in China, learn more about our available positions and apply today!