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It's nearly December, and many expat teachers are thinking about Christmas. Some of us have been thinking about it since September, shopping for the best flights. Others of us know we can't afford a 53-hour flight with 4 changes to get from here to "Home." And a few of us are in places where Christmas Day is barely a blip on the calendar and not recognized as a holiday. So, for those of us who will stay local -- what can be done? First, for those who don't have a school calendar that acknowledges Christmas, if at all possible: take two days off. Fuss about being an expat, but have your lesson plans and your classes ready for awkward subs. Christmas Day plus Christmas Eve or Boxing Day Take some time to catch up and stay connected Skype family write a few emails to teachers and friends in other places. if accessible or VPN-able, make a small comment on lots and lots of fB pages. Take some time to get into the Christmas spirit put on holiday music. You like those barking dogs barking Jingle Bells? Go for it. You hate those dogs? Don't choose them! put up some Christmas decor -- make a tree shaped thing on your wall/ the back of a door at home. One year, family was coming to visit in June, so we left our "tree" up and aded local trinkets to it for 6 months! make what you can -- hot coco? cold coco? Everywhere I've lived, sweet potatoes* or yams* and marshmallows have been available. If you can get butter, even better. Make a mock sweet potato pie. Make a real one, if you want to venture into pie crust territory. (*often roasted by a street vendor) On the first day off, stay out late -- go somewhere with friends, other expats, people from the American missionary church -- find people who will celebrate Christmas On the second day -- sleep in. You're not at work! On the third day -- back to work! share your joy. share what Christmas means to you. Even in an upper grade, higher level Math class, you can work in some story telling. reconnect with your students give that grouchy, jaded expat teacher a smile, and maybe a cookie? [note --> this person might be YOU!] Count your blessings. You have a job, of whatever variety or quality -- appreciate that. you have a job overseas/ away from home -- this is an adventure! Live it! Finally, if you are a Christian celebrating Christmas away from friends, family, and your home church, think. Think of Mary, the pregnant one who had to leave home. Think of Jospeh, who had to flee with his small family to Egypt and work there. Think of Christ, who left His home -- Heaven-- to teach us.