5 great things for TEFL teachers to do at Christmas to beat the homesick blues

So, you’re going to be away for Christmas? Stop thinking about how much you’re going to miss mom’s roast and the usual presents from under the tree. Start thinking about the joys of having an all-new adventure somewhere totally different. Yep, there are loads of ways to dodge the homesick blues and get smiling during the festive period. Just check out this list, which flits from hot choco-bubbling Christmas markets to glinting beaches where you can catch a tan while Santa flies overhead…


TEFL teachers to do at Christmas
Christmas dinner with other TEFL pals, perhaps? | Stefan Vladimirov/Unsplash


Get together with other TEFL teachers!


If you’re searching for things for TEFL teachers to do at Christmas, then you can rest assured there are plenty of others doing precisely the same thing! The key is seeking them out. Hit the Facebook groups, reach out to colleagues in person, drop messages this way and that – you’re certain to find someone who’s also staring down the advent calendar at a 25th December on their own. You could even plan your own TEFL-themed Christmas meal. You know, with alphabet-shaped potatoes and a after-dinner games of Hangman. Okay, maybe not.  


TEFL teachers to do at Christmas
Take your own break from the classroom over your TEFL Christmas | myTEFL/JRF


Have a holiday


There’s no reason why you can’t make use of those precious days away from the classroom to plan your own hard-earned vacay. This one’s a top thing for TEFL teachers to do at Christmas in Southeast Asia, where a speedy flight connection could whisk you from Bangkok to the surf-washed beaches of Bali or the glimmering bays of Koh Samui. It also doesn’t have to be about R&R. Christmas adventures can trounce the homesick blues by putting you on trekking trails in the Himalaya or surf camps on the jungled coast of Indonesia.


TEFL teachers to do at Christmas
Christmas market in Vienna | Alisa Anton/Unsplash


Visit Christmas markets


One sure cure for any creeping homesickness around the festive period is a little festivity itself. For TEFL teachers in Europe, that’s doled out with gusto in hearty Christmas markets. They’re everywhere, with cities like Krakow, Nuremberg, Vienna, and Prague leading the way. Lit with fairy lights and scented with sizzling sausages (especially in Germany) and mulled wines, they’re the perfect thing to take your mind off what you might be missing. You could also use these festive bazaars to infuse your Christmas shopping with something local – they are often packed with craft stalls and regional delicacies.  


TEFL teachers to do at Christmas
Making gingerbread | Kari Shea/Unsplash


Get stuck into the local Christmas traditions


Part of the fun of traveling the world while you work is experiencing strange new traditions and rituals. When it comes to those, there’s hardly a better time of the year than Christmas. You might be based in south Germany, where you could find yourself chasing Krampus (that’s Santa’s evil twin) out of town in the evening. You could be up in the snowy reaches of Iceland searching for the elusive Yule Cat in the hills. Or, you could be in the bustling Venezuelan capital, where everyone (for reasons unknown) heads to mass on roller skates come Christmas morning.


TEFL teachers to do at Christmas
Head to the beach over Christmas | myTEFL/JRF


Head to the beach


Sun? At Christmas? Plenty of TEFL teachers who’re away from home during the festive period take some adjusting to life in destinations like Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. These are examples of spots where December doesn’t mean rain and snow, but scorching heat and turquoise seas. That opens up the opportunity to while away Christmas morning on the sand, soaking up the rays, knee-deep in a novel. Realizing you don’t need the woolies and wellies is a quick route to forgetting just how much you might miss home!



Have you been away for Christmas while teaching? Can you think of any other things for TEFL teachers to do at Christmas? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Or, if you’re keen to start your adventure in 2020, be sure to head over to our courses page to get going!

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