12 things expats miss most from home at Christmas

Whether you approach Christmas with all the fervour of Buddy the Elf or all the disdain of the Grinch, there’s no denying yuletide as an expat can be hard.

Published: Tue 21 Nov 2017 10:03 CEST
12 things expats miss most from home at Christmas
© 2001 Universal Studios, Studio Canal and Miramax Film Corp. All Rights Reserved.

Spending the festive season away from your home country can make you feel somewhat less festive. You can yearn for little things you didn’t realise you enjoyed about Christmas, even if they used to really grind your gears before you moved.

Fear not, there’s one thing that doesn’t have to change. You can still watch all your favourite sport, TV shows, and movies on-demand with streaming service Viaplay. So even if you find yourself abroad this December 25th, you can always watch something that reminds you of home.

Click here to win a six-month Viaplay Total subscription!

If you’re an expat spending Christmas in Sweden, these are some of the things you may find yourself (unexpectedly) longing for.

Christmas songs

Photo: verbaska/Depositphotos

If you don’t involuntarily sing along every time you hear All I want for Christmas is you then you need an extra large shot of Christmas spirit.

Of course, in Sweden you’ll probably still hear all your favourite Christmas songs. There are also several catchy Swedish tunes we have a feeling you may like just as much. Tänd ett ljus, anyone?

Festive movies

Elf, Bridget Jones, Home Alone, it’s not quite the holiday season if you can’t curl up and watch some festive movies. Preferably in a Fair Isle onesie.

Luckily, you can catch all these movies and more on Viaplay here in Sweden this Christmas. And this way there won’t be any arguments with your brother over who gets control of the remote control!


Photo: monkeybusiness/Depositphotos

However old you are, “going home” for Christmas always means catching up with your local friends over a glass of (insert popular yuletide tipple here).

On the bright side, spending the festive season in Sweden means glögg (mulled wine) in abundance, which can be enjoyed with a plate of delicious pepparkakor biscuits -- it’s a moreish treat that you may end up liking just as much as your traditional holiday snacks.

Watching the game

Keeping up with your team over the holidays is a tradition, wherever you’re from in the world. And while the holidays may be a time for rest, it’s one of the busiest times of year for sport.

Fortunately, you can still watch American football on Thanksgiving or catch the Boxing Day Premier League fixtures in Sweden. All you need is a Viaplay Sport or Total subscription for full access to all the games.

Just a snapshot of other sporting highlights you can catch on-demand with Viaplay this season include the last two rounds of the Champions League group stage, Real Madrid and Barcelona facing off for El Classico, and Manchester United and Manchester City locking horns in the Manchester derby.

Both NHL and NFL season are also in full swing throughout the holidays -- and you can catch all games on Viaplay live or up to 48 hours after they’ve aired.

Find out more about Viaplay’s packages - starting at 109 sek a month


Photo: DGLImages/Depositphotos

For those of you lucky enough to have family (you like) to spend Christmas with, it’s hard to get into the spirit without them.

Even if spending time with your nearest and dearest inevitably means…

Family squabbles

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a raging argument about who cheated at charades.

Family pets

Photo: swkunst/Depositphotos

Who doesn’t love dressing Mittens up as Santa? Answer: Mittens.


Wherever you’re from, nothing quite beats your home country’s traditional Christmas lunch. Even if you're South African and deep-fried caterpillars are on the menu!

The good news is in Sweden you can have a julbord, or ‘Christmas table’, and the even better news is it’s packed full of delicious treats with a big ham centrepiece. The buffet includes Swedish favourites like herring, cured salmon, meatballs, pork ribs, and cabbage -- it’s an elaborate affair that can last several hours, so make sure to wear comfy pants.

Christmas TV

© 2017 Universal Television LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

It’s the one time of year you’re officially allowed to stay in your pyjamas and binge watch hour-long Christmas specials of all your favourite shows.

With a Viaplay subscription you can catch all the classics -- from Friends and Family Guy to Will & Grace and Grey’s Anatomy -- and find a Viaplay exclusive series to get hooked on, like Lethal Weapon, Empire, or Yes, No, Maybe. The only problem you might have is choosing what to watch first!

If you’re spending Christmas in Sweden and want to go native, don’t miss Kalle Anka och hans vänner önskar God Jul (the 1958 Walt Disney Presents Christmas special From All of Us to All of You) at 3pm on Christmas Eve -- it’s a Swedish tradition to gather round the TV and watch it. Don’t ask us why...and don’t ask the Swedes, because none of them seem to know why they do it either.

The adverts

Sometimes the things we miss most about home are the things that we didn’t even realise we noticed. It’s funny how even hearing a familiar jingle can signal the start of the holiday season. It’s a magical place we’re on our way there….


Photo: Hannamariah/Depositphotos

You don’t realise until you’re away from home at Christmas how much you enjoy baubles and light-up reindeer yard decorations. Or perhaps you find yourself longing to see the cobweb tree decorations in your native Ukraine, or the Catalan caganer in its rather risqué pose.

All's not lost, if there’s one thing Sweden does well it’s Christmas decorations. Dark winter nights call for glittering lights, and you won’t pass a window without an advent star twinkling away in it.

Bad Christmas jumpers

Don’t pretend you’re not weirdly into the reindeer jumper with the nose that lights up.

Whatever you’re wearing and wherever you’re spending Christmas, it’s always good to have all the sports, movies, and TV shows you could possibly watch just a click away.

Choose from three Viaplay options (with no binding contract):

• Viaplay movies and series - 109 SEK a month (try a month for free!)

• Viaplay Sport and series – 399 SEK a month

• Viaplay Total (sport, series, and movies) – 449 SEK a month

This article was produced by The Local Client Studio and sponsored by Viaplay.



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