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A first timers guide to surviving the holidays away from home

christmas london lights

The holiday season is the period of time at the end of the year in which most families come together in celebration. So, when you all of a sudden find yourself far away from home and all your loved ones, homesickness can hit… hard. It won’t be easy, especially the first time ‘round, but it will definitely get easier.

But if you’re in need of a pep talk to boost you through your first solo season, read on. With these tips, you’ll find that the next Christmas you have at home will have you missing the ones you spent away.

Be open to change

First things first… let’s talk about change. Change is tough and something that many of us struggle with and avoid at all costs. You are going to be away from home, that is a fact, now all you have to do is accept the change. We know this is easy in theory and not so easy to implement. As much as you want to skip the five stages of grief altogether, these things take time. But just know, you’ll be miles ahead as soon as you acknowledge it and chose to be open to the new alien-feeling experience. Yes, this holiday won’t be the same but that doesn’t mean it has to be any less memorable.

Make your own traditions

You’re probably pretty used to the way your family does things around the holidays and chances are your family has traditions that you’ve been doing your whole life. Now, be careful here. Yes, it might be nice to bring some of those traditions with you but select carefully as they may just remind you of everything you’re missing at home. Instead, create a few of your own traditions—pick things that you’ve always wanted to do but maybe your family isn’t so into. Like an over the top brunch with your friends or a themed lunch. We can taste the freedom already.

christmas brunch

Image source:Jessy Smith

Take a social media detox

Social media has become an extension of ourselves, so this detox is not going to be an easy one. Temptation will be high, but it will be worth it. Your FOMO will already be very real without visual reminders so there’s no point in torturing yourself further. With what feels like every single second of people’s lives being shared online, picking up your phone will not only bombard you with photos of your friends with their happy families, but chances are your family will pop up on your news feed too. Save yourself the misery and avoid it altogether.

Send and receive

You may be missing out on the food, company and all-around festive family vibes but you don’t have to miss out on the gift exchange. Ask your family to send you cards or gifts and return the favour. This will make waking up on Christmas morning a little less meaningless when you have special gifts to open from home.

Book a trip

A sure way to avoid the holiday season FOMO is by keeping busy and doing something different. Get yourself out and about instead of throwing your very own pity party. Book a few days away or even book a seat on a tour over the holiday season to ensure you’re surrounded by like-minded people.

Get friendly

Whatever holiday you are celebrating, celebrate it with your friends. They might be feeling just as miserable as you are so why not decide to have a friend Christmas instead? Holidays are not just about family but friends too—so bring people together and celebrate the holidays together too. Even better if they’re a local and you can crash their family dinner.

Do it like the locals

One of the best parts about the diverse world we live in is that different places celebrate holidays in different ways. Plus, we’re sure that wherever you are, probably has it’s own holidays you don’t even celebrate back home. This is a chance to change things up and give the local life a crack. This is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the culture and it’s also a really good time.

Give yourself a break

There is no denying this time of year is going to be tough, but don’t be too hard on yourself. If all you feel like doing is sitting on the couch and eating your body weight in junk food then do that. Just be sure to not spend too long wallowing in your own pit of sad snacking—pick yourself back up and have another go when you feel up to it. Give yourself some motivation to keep going with a scheduled FaceTime call into your family’s Christmas lunch or treat yourself to a pamper day. Or just buy yourself a really, really good present.

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