On the Eve of Christmas

This year Christmas feels like it’s something happening somewhere else.

For the first time in my life, I’m not spending Christmas with my biological family in Miami. I’m not seeing my mom’s decorations, my sister’s Disney-themed tree, the lit homes, or the decor along the streets. There are no ads for Santa’s Enchanted Forest or Christmas music filling my ears everywhere I go. There will be no Noche Buena with lechón and egg nog. There will be no parties or parades.

I’m in Australia and today is just another day. Cubans, my family included, typically feast on Christmas Eve. Australians, like Americans, feast on Christmas Day though I don’t know what that looks like, but I’ll find out tomorrow. Recently I blogged that Aussies don’t really care all that much about the holidays. The Australian response was largely that this assertion is untrue. The American expat response was generally in agreement with my observations. I know it’s Christmas because everyone says it is and lots of businesses are closed and not because it’s obvious in sights and sounds. It’s one of the most difficult cultural differences to wrap my head around. My sister commented that it sounded kind of depressing; it is.

Expectations can be a terrible thing and it’s not always fair to hold others to your standards. It’s just hard to let go of the things you’ve known all your life and that have brought you comfort and joy.

Wherever you are this Christmas, home or away, with friends and family or alone, I hope you have a happy Christmas.

About the featured image: Unhappy Christmas by Michal Sekela, deviantART.




  1. I agree with you somewhat. I too make Christmas Eve a big thing and my partner is understanding that also, I make sure I tell people Merry Christmas and they smile and say the same thing back, I don’t see that as a norm for them but they are nice about it. One big thing I noticed here vice the states people are not walking around mad at the world and the holiday in general, even in the shops people were nice to each other. That does not happen in the states. I truly believe it’s all what you make of it.

    • Indeed. I think our experience of courtesy in the U.S. also heavily depends on where we live. Miami is a rough city and people are pretty rude, but I’ve visited some other parts of the U.S. where people are really delightful. Thanks for your comments, Duane.

  2. Paint your toe nails red, wear jandels, wear something red and green, put a goofy spin
    on the Santa Claus hat, take your togs, and a smile! ‘She’ll be right, mate’! Enjoy. ~Peace~

  3. As you know, I totally understand where you’re coming from. I know it’s Christmas here in France — I just wish my husband’s family did MORE. More people, more special things, more cooking, more decor. Just more. But, I can’t keep comparing everything to my Christmas loving family in the US. Missing them this year…

  4. I remember my first Christmas in Florida, alone with my husband and one daughter, while the rest of my family and friends in Melbourne, gathered as we always did, but without us. It was hard, but it does get easier. Still, I love to be here with my family. It’s times like this that the distance really hits home. I hope the people around you make the day as special as possible for you and you end up having a wonderful time. Next year, plan to be in Miami – I think alternate years is the way to go. Merry Christmas!

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