Its my first Christmas in London, what the hell do I do?

Christmas Degustation Planning table setting

Ho ho ho, its the time of year where life is all about friends, family and terrible Christmas jumpers (seriously, in the UK the ugly Christmas jumper tradition is taken very seriously). Except what the hell do you do if this is your first Christmas in London, you are on the other side of the world from your family and the only friend you have is the bottle of Tesco Mulled Wine you just warmed up in the microwave?

Never fear Runawaykiwi is here to give you the ins and outs of your first London Christmas.

To make sure this post was answering all your first Christmas questions I trapped my colleague Joss (who has only been here a few months) in a cage made of tinsel and force fed her Christmas mince pies until she had basically written my blog post for me. So thanks to Joss who is now avoiding me and has filed a complaint with HR (come on, how can ‘she force fed me mince pies’ ever be a bad thing?) below is everything you need to know about your first Christmas in London.


How long do I wait till I start blatantly pimping myself out on other peoples family Christmases?

Holy shit you know people with families in London? I swear 99% of the people I know in London are in the expat boat as well, its just that the longer you are here the more you can pretend to have your shit together. In general I would avoid inviting yourself over for Christmas Day, instead try and figure out what makes Christmas special for you.

If you just want a bunch of people around you and a fun party spirit then go for an Orphans Christmas (when a bunch of lonely Kiwis get together and make the best of it), or rock the very traditional pub roast at your local. For me Christmas is all about that special feeling and some amazing food, so this year I am heading to a hotel to totally lux myself out.

You won’t be able to make Christmas exactly like it is back home, but if you focus on the things that are most important to you it will still be fun…just different. But you know, you could try going hard on Tinder on Christmas Eve and then just lingering on throughout Christmas Day?

How depressing would staying at home watching Love Actually with a Tescos stir fry and packet of Chocolate Orange be on a scale of 1-10?

Oh god that sounds off the scale depressing unless you really LOVE Tesco stir fry in which case… you do you. Try doing the same thing but make it amazing by going to Borough Market the day before and stocking up on every kind of decadent cheese, oil, cured meat and doughnut you can get your hands on and then feast it up London style on Christmas Day. Come on, I mean there is nothing wrong with spending Christmas alone but there is something seriously wrong if you don’t make it special – think of it as the day to love yourself as much as Kanye loves Kanye. Love Actually however is totally bad ass and will bring max levels of joy year round.

What about if i just didn’t tell anyone about it? Then did it really happen?

Yes it did because Facebook never lies.

Going to Christmas markets and drinking mulled wine alone- sad and pathetic or independent and sassy?

I once went to a Christmas market, sat on a carousel drinking mulled wine by myself and accidentally kicked a small child in the back of the head – it was the definition of independent and sassy. Stop thinking of Christmas Markets as an activity to do with friends, and start thinking of it as a way to get your shopping done while being encouraged by strangers to drink heavily. I mean, you could just stay home and order everything online while drinking gin straight from the bottle, but then you miss out on the magical chance of causing bodily harm to small obnoxious children.

If I have a 12hr long Skype session with my family on Xmas day does it count as being alone still?

Ok the awkward thing about Christmas Skype sessions is that because of the time difference you are never the same level of Christmas drunk as your family. The unexpected benefit of this is that if you time it right you can have blackmail material to use on your family for the rest of the year. Time your Christmas Skype badly however and you will find yourself being disowned after telling your infant cousin to fuck off in a Geordie accent while wearing gin spectacles (seriously one year I had a pair of glasses that I could drink gin through IT WAS A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE). Alone no, awkward yes.

Does this mean I don’t have to buy anyone Xmas presents and can save all my money for Boxing Day sales?

NO. Pretty much the one sure fire way you have to make yourself feel more connected to home is to get them something meaningful, or creative or just damn entertaining. And get yourself something nice while you are at it.


Ok if you manage to find someone with a family house in the Cotswalds forget what I said earlier about inviting yourself over being a bad thing – get your ass there and take me with you!


Remember new Londoners, you are not alone. Hundreds of Kiwis before you have made it through that first scary Christmas and lived through the hangover. Make your first London Christmas whatever you need it to be. And remember, even though you are over on the other side of the world your family and friends still love you and are there if you need them. xx


Author: runawaykiwi

10 thoughts on “Its my first Christmas in London, what the hell do I do?

  1. I’ve never spent a Christmas in London just the lead up, but I feel like this would be a handy guide if I were to.
    Always amusing!

  2. Ahhh…if I was in England I would have invited you up to the Shires, it’s not as posh as the Cotswolds but we do have people that ramble past our house to walk off Christmas dinner, horses prancing and the bells from the churches ringing during the day so it’s all rather English…we normally watch the ramblers from the comfort of the house while drinking and eating cheese as who the f*** walks off dinner on Christmas Day??
    Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes

  3. This is such a sweetly humorous post, and I think it could help any ex-pat, not just those in London. I remember my first Christmas away from home. It was my second year working in France. A friend from uni and I met up in Bordeaux, which was about halfway between the cities where we each worked. Christmas Day was rather embarrassing since we hadn’t thought to stock up on food the day before. Pringles and cheap cheese might have been involved. But Christmas Eve, we treated ourselves to a fancy dinner. To this day, it’s the most expensive (and the best) meal I’ve ever eaten.

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