‘No, Michael Bublé, I won’t be home for Christmas because I have finals to study for!’
Yes, it can be hard being an international student spending Christmas away from home, and it’s just as hard for your family as well. However, you can still make this Christmas special by sending them gifts to be there in spirit! While you’re organizing your time between studying and celebrating Christmas, spend some time coming up with the best Christmas gifts to send your family.
One thing is for sure; distance makes the heart grow fonder! Your family certainly misses you just as much as you miss them. Try to ease their longing by sending them something that reminds them of you. For example, your roommate could take a picture of you in your best Christmas sweater in your student room with all its Christmas decorations and print it out as a portrait to send home. Better yet, why not make an entire Christmas photo album or scrapbook! You could include pictures from your childhood, drawings or messages for each family member, funny stories from your time away, and photographs in your favorite places around the city you’re in.
To feel more connected to your family, share small details of your life abroad with them; your favorite cafe, studying spot, or a picture with your flatmate who you always share funny stories and new memories with. You could collage them all into a short video, including a tour around your dorm to send along with the photo album so they could watch the live version. Go classic and add a handwritten letter to make it more intimate instead of those dull text bubbles! Another present idea is getting matching pajamas and socks for the whole family, including yourself, send them with your picture while wearing them and expect to receive theirs. You will then make the best Christmas Instagram post ever!
You’re in a whole other country that your family has never been to, so why not use that to your advantage? Think of what your family members would be like as tourists, what souvenirs they would get, for example, and don’t be afraid to get cheesy! T-shirts, mugs, key chains, or even local snacks, as long as they’re well-packaged! All those touristy things would make for a unique Christmas gift to send home.
There must be something each family member needs or would love to get as a present that they can’t find at home. This is an excellent opportunity to take some time and think about each person’s interests and make a list of things they love. Do you have a teenage sister with love for fashion? Get her the latest trendy jacket that she can’t find back home!
Try to think of things your family needs that are cheaper where you are than they are at home, like a kitchen appliance that your mother doesn’t stop talking about or the latest toy in the store for your younger sibling.
For more tips on how to choose the perfect present, check out our The Art of Choosing Christmas Gifts blog.
Although you’re studying abroad, prove to your family that the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” is inaccurate by sending Christmas presents to show that you’re up-to-date with their lives. If your father has a stressful job, get him a voucher for a massage as a treat for working so hard. Maybe your mother talks about how she has a lot of free time, so why not get her something that would start a new hobby like a drawing/painting beginner kit or a knitting kit. Is there a pop star that your sibling keeps gushing to you about? Find out when they’re coming to your hometown and surprise her with tickets to the show. If not, a signed poster might make them over the moon.
Ultimately, whatever you choose to send home, putting some thought into it will make your family feel you’re right there with them! While you make sure they spend a merry Christmas even though you’re away, don’t forget to have a merry one yourself, read our Quick Tips on Enjoying Christmas Abroad to make the most out of Christmas this year!