Western Holiday How-To

From the United States to New Zealand, December through the New Year is said to be the most festive—and wonderful—time of the year. 

1 December 2016
Holiday How-to Go to Gendarmenmarkt
Photo: Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin, Germany


Chances are you’ve seen the decorations going up, heard the music and felt the holiday cheer on your campus. From the United States to New Zealand, December through the New Year is said to be the most festive—and wonderful—time of the year. 

Come December, communities throughout the West observe the religious holidays of Hanukkah and Christmas. Having commenced on December 12 with eight days of gift-giving is Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. Celebrated on December 25, Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ and the overnight arrival of a present-toting Santa Claus. Share in the cheer by exchanging gifts with friends and, especially if you're studying abroad in Europe, by visiting one or more of the beautiful Christmas markets.

Remember tis’ also the season of shopping. If you’re lucky enough to be residing in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, ready your credit card for some retail therapy on December 26, Boxing Day, one of the largest shopping days of the year when major stores feature huge sales.

​Reminding all of us that there’s so much that we share, come December 31, people around the world will usher in 2017 with New Year celebrations. Don’t be shy: attend a countdown party, watch the fireworks and even steal a kiss at midnight from your special someone.

Of course, even more holidays than we could mention are celebrated this time of year. Due to the diversity of people and celebrations, avoid being specific when extending a holiday greeting this season. Simply say, “Happy holidays!”

​All of us at SAF wish you the happiest of holidays!

Holiday How-To Visit Time Square
Photo: New Year's Eve,
Times Square, New York City,
SAF Scholar Yueqiao Liu


On Campus for the Holidays 
Ask your resident advisor, front desk or building manager about the procedure for continuing to live on campus during the winter break. For their records, many university housing offices require remaining students to submit a form. 

Homestay for the Holidays
As a homestay guest, you will likely be welcomed to join in the family fun and festivities during the holiday season. As a courtesy, talk to your homestay family members about your holiday plans so that they may plan accordingly. Enjoy!

Flying Home for the Holidays 
Especially when winter hits the Western Hemisphere, there’s a chance that snow or ice (or both) may cause flight cancellations. Don’t worry. Call on the airline staff for assistance to reserve a seat on another flight (or a room for the night in extenuating circumstances) if your flight gets canceled. 

Western Holiday How-To for a gift

Holding a Holiday Gift

Western Holiday How-To for a gift

Western Holiday How-To

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