When we think about the holidays, no matter your religious background, we think of time with our families and loved ones. Whether you live near your family or not, this is the one time of year we generally make the trek back home. But what about those that can’t always do that? For some of us at IFA Paris, we’re not able to make the trek back to our homes for the holidays.
I call Paris my home now, but I’m originally from the United States — Connecticut to be exact. For me, nothing is more special then spending Christmas at home. Sitting around the fireplace with my family, looking at the snow-covered Connecticut countryside, drinking my mom’s mulled cider and watching A Christmas Story. For me, it’s euphoria.
But for the second year in a row, I will not be spending Christmas at home. This time last year I was living in Boston and was unable to go home, so instead I went to Canada alone.
Now that I’ll be spending my second Christmas away from my family, I think it’s important to understand a few things I’ve learned since last Christmas and what anyone should try and take into account if they’re unable to get home like me.
First, pick a city that’s reachable, somewhere new, and somewhere has the Christmas spirit. Last year, I chose Montreal because it was close, cheap (bus tickets clocking in around $150USD), and known for their Marchés de Noël, unique traditions, and snow! This year, I don’t even need to move much. I’ll be staying in Paris – a city full of its own Marchés de Noël, streets garnished with lights and Christmas trees, and store windows on boulevard Haussman that rival the Holiday window displays on New York City’s Fifth Avenue.
Second, research the best the city has to offer, not just during the holiday season. When I went to Montreal, I had a list ready to go with restaurants serving local fare, tourist highlights, and where the Christmas destinations were throughout the city.
Third, keep some sort of your own tradition to make the destination feel more at home. In Montreal, I made a point to have Chinese food on Christmas Eve. In my family, we’ve joked that if something ever prevented us from our traditional meals, we’d be like the family in A Christmas Story and get Chinese and so I fulfilled that.
Lastly, enjoy the holiday and immerse yourself in the spirit of Christmas the way the city offers it. This year, I’ll be in Paris (not bad, to be honest), so I’m planning to go to Christmas Mass in French on Christmas Day and explore every Christmas-themed anything that’s here. And in case you were wondering, I actually did attend Christmas Mass at Notre Dame — how unreal is that??
At the end of the day, whether you’re able to spend the holiday at home or you find yourself travelling, just remembet to enjoy the spirit of the season.
Have a Happy Holiday from me and everyone in Global Fashion Media at IFA Paris.