How to Survive Christmas as an Expat: Part 1

With December already underway and having heard my first Christmas song on the Forces radio, it’s time to start thinking about Christmas. This is the second Christmas I will be spending in Brunei, and I thought I would share all of the wisdom I gleaned from my experience last year in a list of my top pieces of advice (inspired by the Daily Post). Here is installment number 1:

Tip 1: Don’t forget about Christmas! The nights don’t draw in, there is no frost signalling that the holiday season is approaching, and generally there is not much sign of anything Christmas-related until December. By which point you are approaching the cut-off point for sending cards and presents through the post to your loved ones back home. Last year I was very organised and sent my cards in November, for them to arrive in record time in the UK (in November). This year I am not organised and will be paying a premium to send my cards from Moonpig (but at least they will arrive in December).

Tip 2: Stockpile. If you see something you want, buy it straight away. Last year the limited supply of Thornton’s chocolates in the Naafi had sold out before I even realised they were there. This year I stalked the aisles until they appeared. I have been to numerous shops on numerous occasions to secure my stash of Christmas goodies. Now I just have to keep them safe from the ants and myself…

Tip 3: The internet is your friend. The aforementioned problem of forgetting about Christmas can be remedied through internet shopping. But explain to me why there aren’t more places offering gift-wrapping for online goods? Or even a gift message option would be good so that I don’t have to phone up to warn someone that the unmarked parcel is from me.

The internet can also be used to secure presents for your loved ones who are spending Christmas abroad with you, as there are only so many ‘I Love Brunei’ t-shirts you can buy for them. However, if you are shipping to yourself time is most definitely not on your side. Or cost. Ideally you should buy your presents in June when you go on holiday to a place with good shops. But I have never followed this advice, and will be going to see about a matching cap for that t-shirt…

To be continued.

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7 thoughts on “How to Survive Christmas as an Expat: Part 1

  1. There is still time to get organised for this year! We have created GiftFinda.com to help expats and their families to both send and receive gifts more easily, more quickly and with less money wasted on shipping. We have more developments planned but in its current form it may be of some help to you. I’d really appreciate your feedback, particularly any suggestions about how we can make the site more useful.

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