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Monthly Wrap: Expat Christmas traditions – from beach BBQs to Malva pudding

currency-newsMonthly Wrap: Expat Christmas traditions – from beach BBQs to Malva pudding
The traditional images of a UK Christmas – roasting chestnuts on an open fire, bracing winter walks in Christmas jumpers, tucking into boxes of Quality Street in front of the telly – can be harder to conjure up when you’re living abroad.
 
But different nations have different Christmas traditions, and part of being an expat involves embracing those traditions while living overseas. So, what can you expect from an expat Christmas?
 

Australia
In Australia December is the start of summer, so the chances of having a white Christmas down-under are slim!
 
The climate means the traditional roast dinner is also adjusted, with some families sitting down to a salad of cold turkey and ham, and others taking advantage of the sun to have a beach BBQ. Pavlova, Australia’s famous desert of meringue and cream, is also a popular replacement for Christmas pudding.
 
In Sydney one common Christmas tradition is to visit the world-famous Bondi Beach; surfing on Christmas Day isn’t out of the question!
 
While the Christmas food and usual activities are different in Australia, houses are decorated in a similar style to the UK and the spirit of the festive season is still very much alive.
 
Singapore
While the island of Singapore isn’t quite as arid as Australia, it’s still a lot more humid in December than in the UK.
 
This doesn’t stop traditional Christmas trees and spectacular lighting displays adorning city centres however, and the festive season is a time of major celebration.
 
As a truly international country, Singapore is well-versed in catering to expats and overseas visitors around Christmas time, but does like to add a local twist to traditions from other nations. If you order a Christmas dinner, for example, expect it to be imbued with Asian flavours.
 
Shops stay open until late in the run up to Christmas Day, and a number of top-quality hotels lay on impressive festive spreads for large parties.
 
The famous shopping belt on Orchard Road is also well worth a visit due to its elaborate decorations and stunning lights.


South Africa
 
As South Africa is another nation which enjoys summer in December, spending Christmas snuggled by the fireside isn’t really an option, but you can certainly enjoy the sun.
 
Camping is quite a popular way of spending the festive season, but South Africa has also adopted a number of more European Christmas traditions, like leaving out a stocking for Santa, singing carols by candlelight, and pulling Christmas crackers.
 
Many families eat outside and spend Christmas afternoon playing games outdoors, with popular Christmas foods including roast duck, suckling pig with yellow rice and raisins, and a traditional South African dessert called Malva pudding – a spongey pudding with apricot jam.
 
Germany
Germany certainly offers expats a more traditional Christmas climate, with many parts of the country experiencing snowfall.
 
This provides an idyllic backdrop for Germany’s famous Christmas markets, which draw thousands of visitors looking for festive food and gifts.
 
The markets are particularly known for their delicate glass ornaments, which come in all shapes and sizes.
The German Christmas meal sometimes swaps turkey for goose or duck, while Christmas pudding can be substituted for Stollen, a rich, fruit-packed bread with a core of marzipan.
 
Christmas celebrations vary around the world, but the common themes of togetherness and eating well remain the same. Wherever you happen to be celebrating the festive season this year, have a very merry Christmas!
 
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