The highs and lows of spending Christmas abroad

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By Lily Stewart 2nd year Sociology & Social Policy

Lily Stewart shares her worries about swapping mince pies and hot chocolates at home for BBQ'd turkey and beaches in New Zealand.

It is safe to say that I am a huge Christmas lover. It’s my favourite time of year and therefore I take it very seriously.

For me, Christmas is about being at home with family and friends. It’s that one time of year when people don’t care about the weather being miserable because Christmas entails cosy evenings in; twinkly lights, the fire lit, drinking warm hot chocolate whilst passing around the box of Roses!

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Flickr / russellstreet

However, last year, my family decided that we would spend Christmas in New Zealand. Don’t get me wrong; I was ecstatic when I heard this. New Zealand! What an opportunity- travelling to the other side of the world and exploring a country that I had been before!

But, in all honesty, the thought of having Christmas abroad, let alone in a different climate has never been appealing. This may sound rather spoilt but I couldn’t help feel a little unsettled that I wouldn’t be spending Christmas in the comfort of my own home…

I assumed that Christmas in New Zealand wouldn't feel like Christmas as all. Instead, the 25th would just merge into the other days on our holiday- it wouldn't stand out like Christmas should. But how I was wrong. My Christmas Day in New Zealand was so special. I woke up to the sound of crashing waves, the twittering of a Kea and the sun beating through the palm trees. The experience in itself was enough!

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Waiheke beach time

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If you are looking to visit New Zealand, I highly recommend staying outside Auckland in a small sea-side town called Maraetai. It has everything you need from scenic views to a wide range of shops/ restaurants. Also, it's only a 10 minute boat ride to the unspoilt island of Waiheke, spectacular with its covey beaches and rustic restaurants.

In retrospect, it shocks me that I felt so strongly about spending Christmas anywhere but my home. My Christmas in New Zealand will stay with me for the rest of my life. Imagine - trading in a roast turkey for a barbequed one, warm hot chocolate for a cool corona and passing around the Roses while sat on the decking under the balmy evening sun - incredible!

Featured Image: Unsplash / mimiori


Are you going abroad this Christmas? Get in touch!

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