First Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere 

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Argentina has become the fifth country I’ve ever spent Christmas in. The second country I’ve spent it away from my immediate family.

And the first country in the Southern Hemisphere I’ve spent it in. So this will be an article about the differences and similarities one might be facing, when celebrating Christmas abroad and away from family. 

THE PEOPLE 

In recent years I have discovered a new concept for home - it is not just a physical place, it’s more about the feeling of belonging and being accepted. Therefore I can make myself feel at home in a new country very quickly, mostly thanks to the people I’m with. 

In my eyes, people are the most important component that create the feeling of home, and when a bunch of travel-loving people come together to celebrate Christmas, it’s the most joyous experience, filled with positivity, laughter and good vibes. That was my Christmas 2017 in Buenos Aires – spent with people I had never met, who were just traveling in the country or for some other reason couldn’t be with their families. And there’s an important lesson I’ve learnt – there will always be people around you, that can make you feel at home. 

 

THE CHRISTMAS FEELS 

Being used to colder temperatures during the Christmas season in Europe, it is an extraordinary experience to have +30 degrees (Celsius) for most days now. Although I felt a similar Christmas hype in the air here – there’s a Christmas park, where Santa came to visit (full on beard, and boots and all that), there’s Christmas lights & decorations around as well as dazzling plastic Christmas trees in shopping centres. But in all honesty, I somehow didn’t catch that festive feel – instead of that I just felt uplifted from all the vitamin D I’ve absorbed and stayed curious of what the season of joy in BA will bring. 

THE FOOD 

The food scene is pretty varied here, so everyone should be able to find something to cater their taste buds. As I found out, when talking to locals about their Christmas traditions, it’s typical to have asado (barbecue), which makes a lot of sense in this weather! A traditional sweet bread such as Pan Dulce, which is filled with dried fruit is also a popular choice. As for my family traditions, we cook what most Latvian families cook – sweet and savoury pastries, different meats, salads and of course gingerbread cookies, which is an unimaginable part of my Christmas (luckily for postal services I’ll also be able to enjoy them here in BA). And As for my vegetarian diet – I just cut out the meats and indulge myself with a variety of veggie goodies – simple! 

Yes, Christmas is hugely about spending quality time with family, but being abroad during the festive season just makes you appreciate your family even more. At the end of the day your love for them doesn’t decrease, it just tightens the bond for when you can see them again.

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