Part 2 of our TEFL Teachers At Christmas series looks at real-life tales of those hundreds or thousands of miles from home at this festive time of year.
In part 1 of this series we looked at the Christmas options available for English teachers living abroad. In this blog we talk to a variety of teachers and discuss how and where they celebrate the holidays.
"I have a big family and Christmas is an important time of year for us. Being away from home for most of the year is difficult at times but at Christmas I have to make the effort to get back to New Orleans."
Stephanie Krasinski, 24, works as an English teacher in Bogota, Colombia. She continued: "I'm fortunate that my parents usually pay for my flights home so I can enjoy all the usual family traditions. I love living in Colombia but I couldn't imagine not being home for Christmas."
On the other side of the world, Damien Gillespie, from Melbourne says he just has to spend Christmas at home in his shorts tucking in to freshly caught shrimp.
"I like living in Europe but for 10 days over Christmas I'll leave the cold weather and turkey behind. Catching up with family and friends with a beer and a barbie whilst getting some much needed vitamin D replenishes my soul."
Then there are those that bring their own Christmas to their new home. Jenni Lynam teaches in Spain where she lives with her partner and two children. She explains:
"We try to have as Irish a Christmas as possible for our two kids. When all around us is different we really try to get Christmas crackers, mince pies, a visit to see Santa and of course a turkey dinner. Santa's letters have already been sent and a reply received. My son took his letter to school to show off but nobody really understood his excitement because the three kings are king here( excuse the pun). We will hang our stockings and dress the tree. But the one difference for us is that our Christmas morning walk will be on the beach instead of the wild burren hills in the freezing cold."
Darren Mcgillivray from Glasgow and working in Prague informs us of a different kind of issue. "I'm from Scotland and my wife is Czech. Every year in September we have the same old battle: where to spend Christmas? We've settled on going back to Scotland every other year for the time being. However, I'm a bit sneaky - the years when we stay in Prague I'll hop on a flight to Glasgow in January to celebrate Burns night with my family and friends and that usually turns into a bit of a Christmas party too. "
Not all English teachers are native and nor do they all celebrate Christmas in the traditional way that many Christians and westerners do. Parvathy Ramachandran is an Indian TEFL teacher working in Japan who fortunately for her is between contracts over the holidays before returning to her job in January.
"Since I'm not a Christian, the holiday isn't a family vacation for me. However, I have a December birthday and try to spend that with my family. I'll be heading to Bali, Sri Lanka and then my home country, India. Then I'm going to Germany, Prague, Vienna and Salzburg to drink mulled wine and explore the Christmas markets. I'm quite excited for the holidays. I'll be going from winter in Japan to tropical paradises, then a chilly winter in Europe before finishing off with a brief weekend in Chennai and then back to winter in Japan."
Now that sounds like a cracking Christmas!
Finally, Christmas is a time of hope and cheer and maybe taking advantage of every situation that arises. We'll leave you with this one from James Mcnair Brown.
"Last year, our first year in Korea, I preached the Christmas sermon at church. Our Pastor was suddenly called away because his Mother passed away. I had little time to prepare, but God really blessed my message. Then, my wife, son and I had a quiet but enjoyable Christmas together."
Don't forget to check out part 1 and don't miss part 3 where we will discuss the growing number of downsides to Christmas.