Today’s family doesn’t live as close to each other as families used to. We move away to go to school and that circumstance multiplies the chances that we will never truly get back home permanently. We fall in love with the place we went to school or we can’t find a good job back home or we find our future spouse and that leads us to places we didn’t think we’d be. Although many people live farther away from their families than they originally planned, lots of people want to get back home for the holidays. The reality is, however, that no matter how strongly the holidays are calling you home, you might be able to get there.
Thankfully, whatever the circumstance is that keeps you in your new home for the holidays instead of being able to relish traditions with family, there are many ways that you can be happy right where you are.
Realize There Are Others
One of the first thing a person who is away from home during the holidays wants to do is to hole up and hermitize. This is especially true of someone that lives alone and doesn’t think they know many people who would be in their same situation. The reality is that there are others out there spending the holidays alone through circumstances beyond their control. In your community, whether it be a college community, a retirement community, or a church community, there are others who aren’t home for the holidays, just like you. Seek these people out and share your traditions with them. You will learn much about others and appreciate even more about what you have in the family and friends missing you this season.
Recognize You Are Fortunate
As easy as it is to feel sorry for yourself during the holidays when you can’t be at home, try very hard to recognize just how fortunate you are. Even though you aren’t there, you have a home with friends and family that you can’t get to and your absence from them will likely be brief. Think about and do something for those who don’t have what you have. You likely have a place to lay your head so consider assisting those that are homeless. The holidays are a prime time to help out at a shelter or food pantry. Giving back to the community will lift your spirits, guaranteed.
What about those whose loved ones can’t come home to them from somewhere else, like overseas in combat? Try to find a family that is missing a member of their family who is valiantly serving our country and support them through the holidays by offering to watch the kids while the mom (or the dad) goes Christmas shopping or just spends time on their own. If you have access to a computer, you could try to find ways to help families get in contact with their military loved ones if they don’t already.
Remember Important Things
As you contemplate time away from home, remember the things about home that make it a place you want to go back to. Too many people have no desire to go “home” for various reasons. What are the reasons that you want to? If you have kids, you could share those thoughts and memories with them. If you don’t have kids yet, you could write down those facts, traditions, and memories to share with the eventual next generation of your family. One thing that I always did when I was away from home during the holidays was to try to accomplish of my favorite traditions on my own. One year it was cutting down my own Christmas tree and another time it was making cloverleaf dinner rolls to bring to Thanksgiving dinner with some church friends.
Revel in Creating New Traditions
One of the hardest things for me when I was away from home during the holidays was realizing that I was missing out on memories that my family was making together. I finally decided that I couldn’t stop them from making new memories without me, so I had better make some new memories of my own. I began to think of what holiday traditions I would like to start for myself and my future family. In no time I had started two new traditions that are carried through to my own family now. We have a tradition of making cookies in honor of the first snowfall and we buy a new Christmas ornament each year. These were simple things that made me feel like I was connecting to something greater than myself, a legacy I could pass on to my children.