How to Enjoy a Western Holiday

Celebrate the Holidays With Us!

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 the most festive and wonderful time of the year.

Come December, communities throughout the West observe the religious holidays of Hanukkah and Christmas. Hanukkah, also known as the Jewish Festival of Lights, commences on December 12th with eight days of gift-giving. Christmas is celebrated on December 25th, commemorating 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. It’s 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 31st, people around the world will usher in the start of the new year with late-night 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 at this time of year. Because of 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!

Plan Ahead for the Holidays

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.