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A Sunny Christmas in Cape Town: Making the Best of Being Away from Home

Nov 23, 2023


Learning a new language and experiencing a different culture can be really exciting. But when it comes to spending Christmas far away from your family, it can be a bit tough. I’m a student from Europe, and I was learning English in Cape Town during Christmas. I want to share my experience of a warm Christmas in Cape Town and offer some tips on how to enjoy the holiday season even when you’re not with your family.

  1. Warm Weather: A Different Christmas

When I landed in Cape Town for Christmas, the first thing I noticed was the weather. Back in Europe, Christmas is usually cold and sometimes snowy, but in Cape Town, it’s the middle of summer! The sun was shining, and the temperature was warm. Instead of wearing winter clothes, I needed sunscreen and shorts. It was a big change from what I was used to.

  1. Exploring Outdoors

Because of the nice weather, I got to explore Cape Town’s beautiful nature. I went on hikes in Table Mountain National Park, visited Boulders Beach to see penguins, and had picnics at the beach. Even though it was different from the indoor celebrations I had back home, spending Christmas outdoors was really special.

  1. Many Cultures, Many Celebrations

Cape Town is a place where people from many different cultures live. This mix of cultures makes Christmas celebrations really interesting. I got to go to Christmas markets with all sorts of handmade things and yummy food from different countries. There were also street performances that celebrated different traditions from around the world. It felt like a big adventure.

Dealing with Missing Home

  1. Stay Connected with Family

Missing your family during the holidays is tough, but technology can help. I made sure to have video calls with my family back home. It was nice to see their faces and share the holiday spirit, even though we were far away from each other.

  1. Create New Traditions

While it’s important to keep some of your old holiday traditions, starting new ones in your temporary home can be fun too. I tried out some of Cape Town’s local holiday customs, like going to a beachfront Christmas Eve concert and joining in on Boxing Day festivities. These new experiences made my Christmas special and kept me excited.

  1. Celebrate with New Friends

I realised that I wasn’t the only one spending Christmas far from home. Many other people from different countries were in Cape Town for the holidays. I made friends with them, and we did things like potluck dinners and exchanged small gifts. It helped me feel less alone and more connected.


Making the Most of Your Cape Town Christmas

  1. Taste Local Foods

Christmas is a time for delicious food, and Cape Town has a lot to offer. I tried out different local dishes like bobotie, boerewors, and malva pudding at restaurants and food markets. Exploring South African flavours was a tasty way to celebrate the holiday season.

  1. Give Back to the Community

Sharing happiness during the holidays isn’t just for your home country. Cape Town has lots of ways to help out during Christmas, like serving meals at shelters or participating in toy drives for kids who need them. It felt really good to give back and be part of the community.

  1. Attend Fun Events

Cape Town has many festive events during the holiday season. There are Christmas carol concerts and outdoor movie screenings under the stars. I made sure to go to these events, and they helped me get into the holiday spirit. I also met new people and made great memories.


Spending Christmas far from home can be challenging, but it can also be a wonderful experience. Learning English in Cape Town during the holiday season allowed me to have a different kind of Christmas, one filled with warmth, adventure, and celebrations from around the world. By staying connected with family, creating new traditions, and making the most of local experiences, I had a great time during my Cape Town Christmas. So, if you ever find yourself away from home during the holidays, remember that with an open heart and a sense of adventure, you can create special memories and enjoy the magic of Christmas no matter where you are.