Home is where the heart is… or at least that is what they tell me.
But, when the morning of a family holiday arrives, and you don’t wake up to the smell of a delicious dinner cooking in the kitchen, or to the faces of the people you love, it is easy to quickly loose sight of that.
It can also be hard when you’re no longer sure where ‘home’ is. Maybe the city you currently feels more like home than your hometown; maybe your family has up and moved somewhere completely new; maybe your home and family is now with your significant other rather than your parents or siblings. (It also sometimes even seems easier to spend the holidays with friends or simply somewhere else when you’re dreading going home in the first place).
Regardless, home is where you feel surrounded by people you love – wether that means family or friends – in a place that you feel comfortable and warm.
But, many of us have had to spend a holiday – Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. – away from that place and those people. Maybe you’re caught up with work, or studying abroad, or maybe you just can’t afford the flight this time; either way, the pang of homesickness is bound to rear its ugly head.
Maybe you have the chance to be or go somewhere new and exciting. It’s amazing to travel, but when you’re making plans months before the holiday, spending the time away from family doesn’t seem so bad. When that day does come however, nostalgia can set in fast, and you may find yourself wanting nothing more than to be back home. It’s good to keep in mind that there is always time to travel, but that time with family is precious.
Just because you can’t be back home, there is no reason to spend the holiday alone, and definitely no reason not to have fun! So, in this holiday season, if you’ve traveling, or just happened to have spent Thanksgiving away from family, or plan on spending any other upcoming holiday away, here are some ideas to soothe the heart.
1. Have a good network of friends…
And spend the holiday with them! Get together and make dinner for yourselves. Even if you are out of the country, and the people around you don’t understand the holiday you’re missing, take the opportunity to tell them about it. Chances are, people will help you celebrate and love the opportunity to learn about different traditions.
Spending Thanksgiving in a different country is a fun example. It is not a widely celebrated holiday outside of the U.S. (and Canada), so when people ask about the day’s history, it’s always an… interesting conversation.
Good friends can make all the difference, and feel just like home in the end. I was lucky to spend Christmas with my best friend and her host family last year, and as much as I missed my own family, this was just as wonderful and homey.
2. Use the newfangled technology
Set up the Facetime or Skype and share a meal together, or at least a nice conversation. It’s nice to see the faces of your loved ones, and it is a nice break from email or voice conversations. Staying connected is key.
Last Christmas, when I was out of the country, my family awkwardly projected my face on the tv and we all played a fun game of Christmas-themed trivia. It wasn’t the same as being there with them, but it was close.
3. Discover new traditions, and make the holiday your own
Make the holiday special in different ways. Maybe go watch a movie, or treat yourself to a lovely dinner out on the town. Either way, find a buddy (or a few) and have some fun doing something different. This will take your mind off of what you might be missing at home, give you chance to make (or hang out with) friends, and keep the spirit of the holiday alive.