Hi, my name is Natascha, I am 24 years old and I am from Austria. I’ve been an Au Pair in the New York State for 16 months now.
The first time I was an Au-Pair was right after High School. I went to London for 1 year and it was a great experience. I then went home to study but soon realized that I missed working with kids, being around them all the time, living abroad & getting to know a new culture and that’s when I decided it was time to become an Au-Pair again & it was honestly the best decision I ever made! I found a second home away from home 😊
When I decided to go to America, I realized that I won’t be home for Christmas and that it will be my first Christmas away from home. I am a huge Christmas fan so naturally I was very excited to spend those magical months in America. After Thanksgiving the whole madness started: houses and front yards lit up with Christmas lights, Christmas decorations and inflatables.
On the first of December I went to South Carolina and I was super happy when I came home to a beautiful decorated house and my first very own stocking (we don’t have stockings in Austria and it was a big deal for me to have a stocking with my name on it). On Monday my host family and I decorated the Christmas tree together and they have a tradition where the kids hide a Christmas pickle inside the tree and we had to look for it later – it wasn’t as easy as I thought.
Another tradition my host family has is Elf on the Shelf (and yet another tradition we don’t have in Austria). As I knew nothing about this tradition my host kids showed me a movie about the history of Elf on the Shelf. My host parents (and sometimes me) move the elf every night and put them in different places, make them do different things and sometimes leave notes for the kids. It was so much fun hiding the elf and watching the kids look for them the next day! I absolutely love this tradition and I will definitely take this back home for when I have kids.
I also visited New York City a few times before Christmas. I knew that it was would be very busy but it was even busier than I ever imagined. Especially the area around Rockefeller Center and the big famous Christmas tree was so busy they even had policemen there.
I honestly have to say that I was a little bit disappointed because there weren’t as many decorations as I expected there would be, so my friend and I went to Dyker Heights in Brooklyn. What we saw there was straight out of a movie, people there take Christmas decorations to the next level – I’ve never seen anything like that!
On December 24th we went to the Christmas party of my host dad’s brother where the whole family met to exchange presents. My host family also invited one of my friends to spend the night with us because her host family went away over Christmas and she was home alone. This was also very nice for me because I barely knew anyone at the party.
On December 25th my kids woke me up around 6am and we went downstairs to check out the present Santa Clause brought. After that we had a big breakfast: eggs, bacon and french toast! In the evening my host mom’s mother and sister came over and we had Christmas ham with Corn casserole, self-made rolls, glazed carrots, etc. for dinner. After dinner we played some games and had dessert.
It was the best Christmas away from home, thanks to my great host family!!😊
As I extended with my host family I am very lucky to spend Christmas with them again this year. To all current and future Au-Pairs: enjoy your time with your host family and make the most of new traditions! Time in December goes by way too quick!!