Do I Want to Celebrate Christmas This Year?


The last 24 hours have been quite emotional for me. Between talk of what to do for Christmas day, the death of the first Korean singer I ever encountered, and all the beautiful snow melting and then freezing into black ice (pathetic fallacy much?), it’s been pretty crap. I went to bed last night feeling like crap, and I woke up feeling crap. Said crap-ness continued until this afternoon, until I had a good class (clearing the crap for 40 minutes) until I checked Twitter again and fell back into a pool of crappity crap-ness. (Crap crap crap crap crap.) Christmas is only five days away, and it’s finally hitting me hard that I’m not going to be at home for it this year.

This year makes the first Christmas that I have not spent at home, in the UK, with my family, well, ever. My first Christmas away from home. Away from all of the people and food and traditions that I love and cherish and look forward to every year. Away from my dogs and my house’s carpeted floor and our real Christmas tree with all the mismatched decorations we have collected across the years. And it’s tough to think about.

Expat Christmas, Hannah International

I’ve been trying to make the Christmas season a happy one out here in Korea. Last weekend, Fii and I made Christmas dinner (as well as we could) for three of our closest friends out here, all who had never eaten broccoli and cauliflower cheese, or roast potatoes, or Yorkshire pudding (!!!!Yorkshire pudding!!!!) before. We pretty much smashed it, and Fii even made some AMAZING mince pies from scratch which taste just as good if not better than the ones you can buy in the shops back home.

My parents have also been trying to include me in the festivities by sending me a Cadbury’s advent calendar, Christmas cards, and some Christmassy napkins (2 days too late for Christmas dinner, oops!) to make me feel a little more seasonal. I have a pile of gifts from friends and family waiting to be opened on Christmas day, I’ll be buying some fizz and orange juice to enjoy on Christmas morning, and tomorrow I’ll be making a group reservation for a Christmas dinner buffet. I’m trying desperately to get that Christmas feeling going, and to make it a special time like it is at home.

Expat Christmas, Hannah International

But there’s a big part of me that wants to sack it all in. What’s Christmas if I can’t spend it at home, surrounded by my family and all the best Christmas foods? I know that this year isn’t going to live up to any Christmas I’ve ever had, so why should I even bother to make it a good one? After all, the 25th of December is just another day here in Korea (and everywhere else, to be honest). Hell, some of my friends are even working on Christmas Day. Why should I expend so much energy to make it a real Christmas when I know that it can’t be?

While justifiable in its negativity, this argument, however, isn’t quite winning out, thankfully. I know, of course, that Christmas will always be Christmas no matter how it’s spent or who it’s spent with. Though it may be a day tinged with sadness (cue the waterworks as I type this), I will be spending it with special people and I will have a good time goddamnit.

The fact of the matter is that it will be over in a couple of days, and then I’ll have next Christmas to look forward to – one that I may possibly be able to visit home for (!!!!!). So, no matter how it’s spent, I will try to enjoy my first Christmas away with some not-quite-the-same Christmas food, some probably-emotional video calls, and long-distance gift giving. It could most definitely be worse.

Read the rest of my Very Korean Blogmas 2017 posts here!

One response to “Do I Want to Celebrate Christmas This Year?”

  1. Fii says:


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