Holidays in Peru: Tips for Spending the Holidays Away from Home
Spending Christmas, Hanukkah or other holidays away from home and family (especially the first time) can be tough, and passing the holidays in a foreign country, even more so. A lot of the familiar customs are nowhere to be found, and it can be a bit disconcerting. But don’t let the distance from your family and your favorite holiday traditions get you down. There are ways to make the best of the holidays where ever you may be.
Keep in Touch: Even people who aren’t usually homesick can find that they begin to miss their family acutely come December. Phone cards and webcams can really help out. If you Skype, why not connect via webcam Christmas Eve or Day, and watch your loved ones open their gifts? Or set up the cameras during holiday mealtime, and eat ‘together’ with your family.
Volunteer: If you’re feeling a bit sorry for yourself, consider volunteering over the holidays. Helping those less fortunate can do wonders for taking your mind off your own worries. Check with the South American Explorer’s Club – they have information on volunteer opportunities available. Or check with one of the many churches in Lima: Union Church and the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd are a couple of good places to start.
Start New Traditions: If you have family in Peru with you, start new traditions with them. Many people here combine traditions from home with Peruvian customs and come up with new ways to celebrate the holidays. Or consider taking a day or weekend trip over the holiday; getting out and seeing new things is a sure way to take your mind off of homesickness. And if you’re alone, remember – you don’t have to be! There are other members of our forums who are in the same boat as you, and there are also clubs and organizations that frequently have holiday get-togethers. Why not look for some people to get together with for the holiday? Whether you celebrate in someone’s home or head out for dinner as a group, being with new friends is definitely a great way to cheer up and fill yourself with holiday spirit.
Finally – don’t forget to tip your watchman and garbage collectors at Christmas – giving to others is the best way to make yourself feel happy.