As some of you know, I currently live in Germany with my family. I say currently because my husband works for the military and that means our home of address is changing at least every three years. While living in Germany is absolutely amazing and I feel very thankful to have this opportunity, it can be hard around the holidays.
The holiday time is for spreading cheer and spending time with family and close friends…so what do you do when you live so far and your family isn’t near?
Does the idea of celebrating Christmas this year make you feel blue?
This isn’t my first rodeo away from family– I moved away from my home state when I was two months shy of 21. I lived away from family for many Thanksgivings, Christmases, and other holidays (three of those years living in Japan) but it’s a bit different when you have children. Now that I have kids of my own, I want them to be around family more than ever, and since Germany isn’t exactly an easy trip, it’s hard for that to happen.
Is this your first holiday away from family?
I would like to share with you some ways to help ease the holiday blues and to celebrate the season while living away from family. It is possible to enjoy your time this holiday season and to make the very best of it.
1. Continue on with traditions
I love Christmas traditions. They can make us feel nostaglic from when we were little kids, and can bring back a flood-gate of memories of our parents or grandparents.
I look forward to continuing some traditions that I did when I was a child– and to create new ones with my sons. Some of my favorite traditions are: baking cookies, making orgnaments, watching Christmas movies, and unwrapping one present on Christmas Eve.
If you’ve never done any traditions, now is the best time to start your own!
2. Spend time with friends
When you live away from family and especially if you are in a military community, your friends become more like family. You understand each-other’s situations and bond faster.
Celebrate the season by gathering around with friends and create memories to last a lifetime.
3. Watch movies that remind you of family
Kick-back and enjoy some Christmas movies.
I love turning on old Christmas movies like Christmas Vacation and Home Alone because those movies remind me of Christmas-time when I was a kid.
4. Look through old photos
Break out the photo albums of your family; looking at old photos can be such a nice way to reminisce and think about family.
5. Video chat
Take advantage of technology and video chat with your family. Set up the time to video chat when everyone is around for dinner or another big get-together.
6. Do something out of the house
When we lived in Japan, we spent every Christmas or Christmas Eve ice-skating. It was a great way to get out of the house and do something different on the holiday. I still remember those Christmases and I cherish that time I had together with just my husband and I.
7. Spend the holiday traveling
If you live very far away from family, now is a great time to travel during the holidays; see this as an opportunity to spend Christmas in Paris or New Year’s Eve in Ireland.
If you don’t want to spend the holidays alone, how about volunteering? There are various channels where you can donate your time to this holiday season. Just a few of those are: soup kitchen, salvation army, ASPCA, Fisher house, and post office.
Volunteering can get you out of the house to help others and give back to your community.
That was 8 ways to get through the holiday season when you live away from family. If you found them helpful, please comment and share.