*Photos: Natalie Malheiro for Holiday Cheer For Every Queer

There is no avoiding it. The holiday season is upon us. As expats this can mean one of two things. One, you’re either flying home to spend a lovely holiday with your families. Or two, you’re  spending the holidays in your new country with new friends.

As a former dedicated Grinch, I was so surprised and mildly disgusted (old habits die hard) that the holiday spirit was seeping into my soul. In Canada, the only festivities that I was interested in was Baileys in my chai tea for breakfast. In Thailand, this Grinch’s heart grew three sizes. I’ve suddenly become obsessed with spreading holiday cheer, singing loudly for all to hear.

During this time, I cant help but miss all the things I took for granted; like snow, making gingerbread houses, visiting family, giving thoughtful gifts and the oh-so-cliche ugly sweater parties.

This year I’m working on bringing the holiday spirit to my Thai and expat friends and family. To be honest it feels like miss on some of my attempts. But like I was dedicated to my Grinchyness, I am dedicated to spreading the warmth that is the holiday season.

If you’re missing home and don’t know what to do with yourself, here are some tips to get you through the holidays!

Feel The Feels

For the last few years that I lived in Canada, I didn’t spend the holidays with my family. This isn’t because of my aspirations to be the Qween of all Grinch’s. It was because of my job. I got so good at rejecting the warm feelings that come with this time of year.

The past few weeks I have been letting myself feel it all. The good, and the bad. I let myself get excited over Christmas festivities, and I let myself feel sad about missing my friends and family. Its okay to feel the feels ya know?

Holiday Cheer For Every Queer


Go to the markets and get some decorations. Or spend a day channeling you inner Martha Stewert. You know you want to make that white glitter wreath. If your home feels like the holidays, you will too! While you decorate put on some chill music you love (bring it up a notch with festive music if you like it!) drink some tea and nibble on cookies!

No tree? No worries. This year I improvised. Instead of a classic pine tree, my girlfriend and I decorated Paul, our Cactus.

Splurge on Yourself

Why not? Your parents or grandparents would do that for you, so why not treat yourself like the angel you are! Wether its taking yourself on a wellness spa date, or buying that bottle of wine you keep passing in the grocery store.

I am a bit of a health nut. This year I gifted myself “time” and some money to make all my favourite holiday recipes; veganized and clean. It may sound small but coming home to cook something I’m excited about, brings on the Christmas cheer.

Holiday Cheer For Every Queer

Invite a Virgin

This is not a reference to the Virgin Mary.
My girlfriend has never celebrated holiday season before. It was really fun telling her about all the festivities that happen in Canada. Setting a scene and explaining why each small tradition happens. Its more exciting to share it with someone who has never experienced holiday cheer because you’re introducing them to a piece of your past and creating new traditions at the same time.

Get Together

Obviously. Welcome old and new friends to your holiday festivities. Go to the party that you were invited too! Surround yourself with good people and good feeling with come with. Especially if you’re sipping on mulled wine or nog.

And you? How are you preparing for the festive season? Let me know about it also via email.

Marry Queersmas!


“I can’t explain and I won’t even try”. A simple yet accurate description of the inner workings of Nat’s busy mind. She consistently changes her mind, but she’s dedicated to her trail mix and dragonfruit addiction, cats, podcasts and talk radio. Check out also her blog.