embracing a local christmas

this is now our fifth christmas in europe. i have to say, you’d think it gets easier but that’s not necessarily true. our first christmas, we had only been in europe for a couple of months and it was all the heart eyes as prague pulled out all the stops and there was nothing but perma-smiles. the next year, my mother visited. the following year, we had a picture-perfect austrian christmas at the wolfgangsee.

last year we happened to be in berlin, but a funny thing happened. while i was in my personal “happiest place on earth”, i felt a case of “the sads” as we call them, creeping in on christmas eve. it was still a wonderful holiday, but i can’t help but notice–and maybe it’s just because the sheen of a european christmas isn’t as glistening as it used to be– that it’s not getting easier. (i have to admit that hearing “i’ll be home for christmas” as sung by bing crosby threatens to bring me to my knees every time)

this year, we are spending it in our home in budejovice. no visitors, no fancy austrian alpine getaways. oddly, i am totally okay with that. no packing up my advent candle and christmas lights in a suitcase, just our czech home with our tree and our dog. (well, not completely at home – we’ll be at our family friend’s house for the big day–that’s the 24th, here– experiencing our first real czech christmas (which i am preeeetty excited about).

the best part of christmas “at home” is being able to seek out and embrace all of the fun local happenings that i may miss otherwise.  

the other day, we visited the always gorgeous hluboká chateau-castle near our city and it just so happened to be snowing! it was truly some winter magic – i’m talking big, fluffy snowflakes that stick to the ground in only a matter of minutes. it was a gorgeous time and nothing is as good for the soul as as that. but to top it off, we went to check out our local zoo and the ‘zoo lights’ displays they are having for the festive season. just us, some lights, christmas music, a hot chocolate in hand, and a couple of wallabies. it was absolutely enchanting in the snow!

i think it’s going to be a good one this year! this post brought to you by snow – thank you for having excellent timing this year and snowing at all the right times just when i need that extra festive lift! merry christmas and

veselé vánoce to you, friends! i am vowing this year to soak up all that “home for christmas” time and not feel an ounce guilty and being unproductive between christmas and new year’s. 

what local festivities are you getting up to where you live? do you prefer traveling or being at home?

ps, you might like more holiday living abroad thoughts + my czech expat christmas