When you are a digital nomad, Christmas isn’t necessarily the same for you as it is for others. Unless you are traveling to see family and friends, it can be hard to get into the Christmas spirit, which can feel lonely.

If you don’t mind not celebrating, then the period between Christmas and New Year can feel a bit like any other day, except that things tend to be closed and more expensive. It can also lead to enforced time off, since most clients and business tend to go quiet at this time of year, which can be a good thing or a bad thing.

Whatever your situation, it is a good idea to prepare in advance for the Christmas season as a digital nomad. Exactly what that looks like for you is highly individual, but hopefully the 8 top tips below will be helpful, no matter where you are or what you are doing.


#1 Decide Where to Spend Christmas Well in Advance

It is a good idea to decide exactly where you plan to spend Christmas well in advance. Why? The holiday season is one of the most expensive times of year to travel. While you might get some flight deals by traveling on unsocial days such as Christmas and New Year, these aren’t as common as many people believe.

You can expect to pay more for most flights and accommodation between mid-December and mid-January, especially if you leave it to the last minute.


#2 Research Where You Plan to Stay

If you aren’t “going home” or spending the holidays with friends, research where you plan to spend the Christmas period, especially Christmas day itself. Especially in more rural areas, almost everything is closed on the 24th, 25th, and 26th of December, so there will be eating out or popping to the shops for essentials.

If you are traveling to a smaller place or somewhere you aren’t familiar with, arrive early and make sure you get all the essentials in advance. It can be wonderful to have the streets to yourself for a few days over Christmas.


#3 Consider How You Are Going to Celebrate

Some people don’t mind being on their own on the holidays. Relaxing at home for a day with a good book (or Netflix series) and no commitments is a dream. But for many digital nomads who are already struggling with the distance from family and friends, Christmas can be a hard time and a tough reminder for how lonely they are.

If that sounds like you, then it is a good idea to consider how you are going to make Christmas special. Of course, this starts with organizing exactly when and how you are going to talk to whoever matters most to you. Organize a video call even if it means getting up at 4 am.

On top of that, think about the things that really make Christmas special that you can do where you are to feel more at home. Is there a special dish that you could make yourself? Is there a special moment in the day such as lunchtime or sunset when you can try and talk to someone special.

Alternatively, is there a community of people near you that you can create new holiday traditions with? Plan how you are going to make your day special, but also be flexible and prepared to step into new and unexpected opportunities.


#4 Plan Your Christmas Work

If you need some time away from work to unwind and recharge, then Christmas is a great time to do it. Even if you don’t have any plans that would hinder you from working over Christmas, most businesses take a break. This means fewer clients pushing you to produce. Therefore, it is just much easier to schedule downtime than at other times of the year.

Do what you would do if you were working in the office. Wrap up big tasks, let people know when you will be back, and set up a list of priority tasks to do when you get back so that you don’t have to stress about work.

If you don’t plan on taking time off, then the Christmas period can be a great time to schedule deep work, since you are likely to be able to focus without your attention being pulled by emails and messages from colleagues and clients.


#5 Turn Off Work Notifications

If you are taking time off over Christmas, turn off work notifications from your email and other platforms such as Slack and Trello. While there probably won’t be much coming in, pings from work contacts can make it harder for you to switch off when you are trying to take a break.

If you find an effective way to do this without blocking messages from family and friends, this could become a tool that you use throughout the year to help protect your non-working hours.


#6 Save in Advance for the Holidays

Not only are the holidays an expensive time of year, but if you are a freelancer, you may also find that work dries up from mid-December until at least mid-January. Clients just don’t tend to need as much at this time with their own teams on break. If you aren’t prepared, this can be a rude shock for your wallet.

Putting away a little bit of money each month to ensure you have enough to get you through the dry period at the end of a year is an ideal safety net. If you don’t need it, even better, you can afford to spoil yourself.

#7 Send Your Clients Christmas Messages, and Your Family and Friends

When you work remotely, relationships with clients can sometimes feel impersonal, especially if everything is going smoothly and you don’t need to check in regularly. Christmas can be a good excuse to reconnect with your clients on a more personal level and remind them of the person behind the work.

It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, just a quick message wishing them well for the holidays can make a big difference.

Also don’t forget to send Christmas messages to your family and friends. While this might not be something that you are accustomed to doing, when you are the one who is far away, it is worth putting in the extra effort to stay connected.

Whether you send a physical card or just drop a quick message on WhatsApp, Christmas is the perfect time to do it. This is especially true for people you have lost touch with, since you can just say hi without explaining why you have chosen this moment to reach out.


#8 Plan for the New Year

There is no reason that you need to wait for the new year to take stock of where you are and plan. But it is a good time to do it, firstly psychologically and secondly because you tend to have more breathing space.

If you are a freelancer or an entrepreneur, the holidays are a great time to take stock and understand what you are doing that is generating the most income, and what things are just eating your time and may not be necessary at all.

You may want to consider dropping certain clients or raising your fees for certain types of work. There are also things that you might consider outsourcing, to a cheaper freelancer or even to AI tool. Use the time to think about how you can work smarter and more productively and develop strategies that you can start in the new year.

Of course, don’t limit your planning to the new year to work. Now is also a great time to reflect on your travel experiences. Are you happy with the pace that you are traveling at, or do you need to move a bit slower? Are you staying within your budget? Are there places on your list that you still haven’t made it to? Are you properly balancing work commitments and exploring?

We are all guilty of falling into the habit of staying in motion without really considering what we are doing. That is why we fall into bad habits and patterns. Pauses in our normal lives, such as that offered by Christmas, is a great chance to self-examine and make changes.