Argentina,  Australia,  thailand

Where we’ve celebrated Christmas

The big issue between Christmas and me is that it’s my birthday on the 25th. Everyone’s busy, work is busy and many people can’t make it over to celebrate as they want to be with their families, which means throwing multiple parties. So we really don’t mind escaping from it all and go somewhere far away, trying to forget it’s Christmas and my birthday. Here’s how we’ve spent our Christmases abroad since we are traveling together.

Sydney 2002
This was my first Christmas without family. Martijn came to see me in New Zealand during my 6 month backpacking trip “Down Under” and decided to stay for Christmas so that I wouldn’t be alone. By that time we had returned from NZ and were in Sydney.  It’s been a while already so I just remember that we didn’t do that much. It’s was a bit of a gloomy day and we took the ferry to Manly Beach, where we tried to find me some birthday cake. That turned out to be quite a challenge as many bars and restaurants were closed. Other than that, it’s a blank space in my memory… (and OMG look at those pants! and the sunglasses!)


Thailand 2005
Our first (real) time in Asia was in December so spending the holidays there was part of it. Since Christmas is not celebrated in Thailand, we didn’t plan on doing anything special. We were staying in a hostel close to Khao Yai National Park and during Christmas Eve we had gathered around the campfire with the other guests. Then all of a sudden the lights went out and the owner of the guest house started playing “Happy Birthday” on his guitar. They had bought me a birthday cake which we shared with everyone. The next day (my actual birthday) we took the train back to Bangkok where we spent our time at a mall. We also went to a karaoke bar where we were the only non Thai, sang Phil Collins songs and got drunk. Don’t remember much after that…


Argentina 2009
This is the only time I would have rather been at home than anywhere else. I had just found out that my dad had been in the hospital the week before, while we were trekking in Patagonia and out of mobile reach. We still had some days to go at the Iguazu Falls before flying home again. Just when we were about to walk up to Devil’s Throat (the most magnificent waterfall I’ve ever seen!) my dad called on my mobile phone. He sounded so heartbroken that I wasn’t there and at that time I just wanted to go home. So I just sat down, in  the middle of the jungle, and cried …

Luckily we still managed to enjoy the rest of the day. We took a trip into the falls with a zodiac, getting us completely soaked and we had a fancy dinner at the Sheraton.


New Zealand 2011

The last time that we weren’t home for Christmas was 2 years ago when we were in New Zealand. Or rather, were ending our trip in New Zealand. We would be flying back home on Christmas, landing in Amsterdam on the 26th. We had Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve and just went to bed early that night. Leaving New Zealand made me sad and by the time we were at the airport in Christchurch I had a hard time realising that our long looked forward to trip was over. But… Singapore Airlines made my day! Half way during the flight to Singapore (when I was napping), two flight attendants came over and brought me a chocolate birthday cake and champagne. My colleagues had arranged this for me, best surprise ever! Once in Singapore we drank cocktails and ate burgers at Hard Rock Café. Quite a way to spend my birthday…

foto111 newzealand

This year we will be home on the 25th and we’re leaving on the 26th for a short trip up to the north of The Netherlands. The 26th is an official holiday here as well so even though we will still be in our home country, we will be away, just not in a tropical place.

Would you mind spending Christmas abroad?




  • Serena

    That’s surely is a great way to celebrate your b-day!
    And, well, also Xstmas, why not? I’ve never been away from home on Xstmas day, but it’s just because my parents care about me being there with them, I wouldn’t mind be travelling somewhere myself (…possibly in some places where it’s warmer than it’s here! eh eh).
    Instead I usually try to do a trip on my b-day.
    How cool from Singapore Airlines to give you cake and champagne! I once had birthday wishes from Lufthansa crew and an extra chocolate bar – but no champagne, eh eh! I was underage after all 😉

  • Maaike

    I’ve spent Christmas in several different places abroad over the years (USA, Australia, Finland, Goa) but I never really had a problem with it until last year in China, where it’s not really celebrated. Some stores decorate for Christmas, but other than that you wouldn’t even know it’s Christmas and somehow that really made me feel like I was missing out on something. I’m usually quite the Christmas grinch, but not having anything to complain about was quite boring, if I’m completely honest. 🙂 Also, it was at a time that I was really missing my family due to circumstances that had nothing to do with the time of year, so I think that made it worse. So this year I’m quite happy to be in the Netherlands and celebrate Christmas with my family, but I don’t think I’m going to make a habit of it. 🙂

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