Being on exchange means that you will have the chance to experience a different cultures way of celebrating holidays. Though you are away from the traditions that make this sacred time of year so special, those traditions will be there when you return. Spending Christmas with our host families gives us a once in a lifetime opportunity to truly grasp the culture of your host country. This can be one of the hardest times of the year for exchange students, but it is also one of the highlights of our year abroad. The Irish Christmas isn’t all that different from the American in the ways of how big it is, though the traditions and feel is still unique.
I remember being in Ennis in early December when the lights first decorated the town, and Christmas music played through the streets. That day as the sun set, I was transfixed by the magic of the season. Wondering through the streets with my friends we were excited to share what Christmas was like in our home countries and the plans are hosted families had.
A must do for Christmas in Ireland is wandering through any Christmas market. So a bunch of my friends and I took a trip up to Galway, to do some shopping and to just experience this Irish tradition. Strolling through Galway the lights decorating the buildings and hanging over the streets as well as the atmosphere of the Christmas market, any wish to be at home for Christmas dispersed, and I was so excited to spend Christmas in this beautiful country with my host family.
Something I really enjoyed, was the school mass. I was really looking forward to the service and was not at all disappointed. The music classes had an arrange of songs that they sang which were all very lovely. It was also nice to have the whole school together something I have missed from my American school.
I always look forward to the Christmas Eve service at my church and though I was able to live stream it I also wanted to attend the Catholic mass in my host community. After I returned from the lovely service my host sister and I decided to watch a Christmas movie. So, I made her turn on Christmas vacation a true classic that she had never even seen. I fixed that problem, and I’m pretty sure it’s her new favorite Christmas movie.
Christmas day with my host family was very relaxed. After exchanging gifts that I had been dying to give them we spent the rest of the day playing various games. Of course, I also called home as my whole family had come for brunch and to open presents. I really enjoyed Christmas with my host family. They are actually not religious but they encouraged me to share anything I would be used to with them, such as praying at Christmas dinner. The Irish Christmas was truly magical and lived up to be much better than my expectations.
If you want to see more from my time in Ireland I started to upload videos onto youtube!: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt5ONMMZN1GMmPOTs3dSOoQ?view_as=subscriber
Thank you for reading!