I’ll be home for Christmas, sang Bing Crosby.
Or, perhaps not.
Christmas songs play in every shop, the cafes emanate a sweet smell of cinnamon, and the Christmas lights glow through frosted windows. Your mind wanders to memories of Christmas holidays spent at home.
Then, it hits you that you haven’t booked that flight yet. A wave of nostalgia makes its way into your chest. ‘Tis the season.
Something about the Christmas feeling seems to change through the transition from childhood into adulthood. We might have left “home”, but we keep associating that feeling of comfort with the feeling of anticipation that preceded Christmas. Now with other priorities and a life beyond home, we don’t always get to be “home” for the holidays, in the sense we know it. Perhaps now, we’re providing that same feeling for our young ones.
Wishing to nestle into our old home once a year and (almost) forget our responsibilities is an understandable feeling. Home is well, comforting. But at best, we only get the day to go home for Christmas. Or for some, we may not get to be home at all. Especially if you live abroad, like me, going home for the holidays becomes more difficult every year. Maybe you are starting your own family, or your partner would like you to spend the holidays at their place. Whatever the reason is why you may not be “home for the holidays”, we understand, and we want you to know that it you can celebrate in perhaps a new, unique way.
Even if you’re not going to be home for the holidays — whether you’re abroad or recently moved to a new home — there are ways to make the holiday just as warm and cosy. Here’s why we think it isn’t so bad to be away from home on Christmas.
It is a chance to start new Christmas traditions
If you live with friends, now’s the time for you and your flatmates to create some new Christmas traditions together. For example, my flatmates and I have decided that, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, we are going to take turns making festive recipes from our hometowns. If you recently started a family, you can all buy, or make, some special ornaments together to pop on the tree. It is a chance to dedicate some time to socialising with friends or making memories with the family.
If you live abroad
Why not take the opportunity to discover some local Christmas customs and traditions? Personally, when I moved to the U.K., I fell in love with Christmas crackers, something I had never seen before, and now I always give them to people along with their presents. Every country has lots of interesting traditions, and now is your chance to explore what is right outside your door and share it with someone new.
If you are spending the holidays with your partner
Your partner might have invited you to spend the most cosy of festivities with their family, when you may be used to celebrating with yours. We know it can be intimidating, especially if it is your first time spending the holidays with their relatives. But don’t worry. Spending such a familial holiday with someone new can be an eye-opening experience. If it’s true that during Christmas we are all on our best behaviour, what better chance to bond with the in-laws? 🙂
If you’re a parent and you’re not going home
It can be particularly hard if you are a parent with a job or circumstance that is keeping you away from home. Some of our dearest memories come from Christmas time and not being there to witness your children’s happiness can be heartbreaking. If feelings of guilt start to creep up, don’t beat yourself up! Being away for Christmas is a sacrifice, and you are likely doing it for a greater good: your children’s sake. There are many ways you can be present for them (no pun intended) — by sending gifts and Christmas cards and video calling whenever you get the chance.
Your family is always a video call away
Remember, it is 2018. Gone are the days when wishes of a happy Christmas were only possible through paper and pen. There are many services like Skype or FaceTime you can use to keep in touch with your loved ones, instantly. Most social media offer a video call feature as well, so it’s never been easier to feel at home during Christmas. Famtech is also a good tool to share snaps of these holidays and keep in touch with the family.
Ultimately, it does not matter where and with whom you’re spending your holidays this year. It’s an occasion to spend some time with yourself and the people you love, in a maybe less traditional way. Whether you are staying with your new family away from your childhood comfort or staying with your friends or partner, there is always a way to make this a joyous occasion.