Despite the unavoidably fluorescent consumerist streak currently embodied in the modern celebration of Christmas, it is still very much a family affair. Whether you get together with your large extended tribe, or just a few members of your wolf pack, you’re around the people you know, celebrating the year that was.
But, when you’re travelling you don’t always have the luxury of being around people you know when Christmas comes around. In fact, you might be all by yourself in an unfamiliar city thousands of miles from home. The seasons might be different, the customs very unfamiliar. A plane ticket home is tempting, but ultimately too expensive for a budget savvy backpacker such as yourself. What are you to do? Surely staying in a hostel at Christmas is going to be a very sad and lonesome affair?
Well, let’s not jump to any conclusions. Christmas in a hostel might not be as bad as you think. Sure there’s some unfortunate realities (such as increased cost in peak periods) that might ruin your Christmas cheer. But all in all, we have to say that hostel Christmases are actually pretty awesome because:
They’re A Communal Affair!
Hostels are all about community. Whether you like it or not their embedded mission statement is about bringing people from different places together. The people you spend Christmas with at a hostel might not be your real family, but they’re a family of sorts. Rag-tag and jumbled together, a kind of melting pot of ideas about Christmas and celebratory traditions. You might be singing Christmas carols in German while munching on Yorkshire puddings and knocking back icy Australian beers. But isn’t that a Christmas to remember? Plus, compare that experience with staying in a hotel or an apartment where you’re all by yourself and feeling sad and sorry.
We know which we’d prefer!
Hostels Make An Effort!
Most hostels know that it’s sometimes really hard to be away from your family and familiar traditions at Christmas. So, they will almost always make an effort to organize something to get people in a Christmas mood. This might include a dinner, games, music and other festivities to get people into the festive state. There might even be presents! Seeing as no matter where you go in the world Christmas involves some kind of party, you can pretty much guarantee you’ll find something familiar in what the hostel puts together.
There might be a cost involved in this, so it’s wise to ask ahead at the hostel you’re staying at, and sort out signing up for whatever is happening on Christmas day. Believe us, if it’s your first Christmas on the road, or you’ve had crappy Christmases in the past, we recommend the hostel party!
Another pro about getting involved in the party at the hostel is that the hostel makes all the preparation. Forget about the stress of putting together a Christmas gathering. They’ve got you covered, and they’ll even invite a wide selection of different people for you to celebrate with!!
They Change Your Perception
If you’re one of the many people around the world currently on an adventure, and finding the call of the road too strong to ignore, you’re likely to spend some Christmases away from home. Having Christmas in a hostel is a great way to transition out of the family Christmas and into the travelling circus of Christmas fun. Although celebrating away from home will probably make you more appreciative of the years you do get the chance to celebrate at home, it will also change your perception of the holiday.
When all you have is a group of people without money to burn, in a globetrotting setting with just your Christmas cheer to keep things going, festivities probably take on a different shape. You won’t be drowning in gifts or money, but you will be celebrating more simply, and (dare we say it) that’s what it is all about.
– Remember that in most countries, many shops will be closed on Christmas day, and may have different hours on the days before and after. So, make sure you stock up for anything you need (or think you might need) in advance. This includes all the things to keep the fun going, like alcohol.
– Once you know where you’re staying for Christmas, email the hostel in advance and find out what’s happening for Christmas. If necessary, get your name down on the list early. Don’t be too cool to put your name down, only to regret it on Christmas when all the spots fill up!