The Reality Of Spending The Holiday Season Away From Home

The holidays mean everything to me. Every year my family and I are constantly going on fun outings together. The weather changes into that perfect “snuggle with some hot chocolate by the fire” weather, and people just seem happier and more content.

I would say Halloween is a slow kick off to the holiday season. A preparation for what is to come. People start getting into a celebration mood and start pulling out decorations stowed away in the attic. After Halloween, it’s really only a brief period of time until the beautiful feast of Thanksgiving arrives. Although the food is obviously an amazing part of the day, for me, the people around me make the day what it is. When I have my parents and brothers and boyfriend and extended family all around me, laughing and playing games, things just seem perfect.

Thanksgiving is also a perfect leeway into the Christmas season, where again, the atmosphere everywhere I go feels different. People seem to smile more, even in the midst of chaotic shopping. This is always so fun because my mom and I go on fun shopping sprees together where we try to find the perfect gifts for everyone on our list. And we normally treat ourselves, too, with some peppermint hot chocolate at the end of the day. Again, just perfect.

I’m smiling right now just thinking about how much fun I have with my family during the holidays and how much love I always feel around this time of year.

However, in the midst of these fond memories, I’m actually feeling a bit blue because this year, things have been, and continue to be, different. I’m hundreds of miles away from home for the holidays for the first time ever. My internship I currently have couldn’t allot for time off during this busy holiday season. Every day that people talk about doing this, that and the other thing with their families, my heart hurts a little, because all I want to do is be with my family. When I first moved for my internship, I knew holidays would be hard, but I never imagined they would be as hard as they have been so far.

Thanksgiving didn’t even feel like a holiday for me this year because I had to work all day. Sure, I got food at work, but the holiday to me isn’t about the food, it’s about family. With Christmas upon us, I’m excited for all of the gifts I bought my family and friends, but wish I could be with them on the actual day to celebrate and see their reactions. However, even in the midst of these sadder feelings, I feel so happy and loved and blessed for all of my family and friends and the knowledge that I’ll see them soon. Even through my homesickness, I’m pushing through to see the positive side of things.

As much as I want to be home with my family for the holidays, that’s just not the reality of it at the moment. So instead of sulking, I’m making the most of what I have around me. For Thanksgiving, I made a sweet potato casserole for our work potluck. And for Christmas, my coworkers and I are having a Secret Santa gift exchange. In between these events, I’ve been going on my own shopping sprees for Christmas gifts, Facetiming my mom in between to tell her my catches of the day. We still share our peppermint hot chocolate together, even miles away and my dad still builds a fire and Facetimes me so I can see our cat snuggle up against the warmth and pretend that I’m right there with them.

As the saying goes, “Miles apart, maybe in distance, but never in heart.”

Although this will probably be the hardest part of my entire internship experience, I know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Not that I haven’t enjoyed my internship, but, it’s just not home. Soon enough though, I’ll be snuggling by that fire place in person. And I. Can’t. Wait.

For anyone else out there struggling being away from home for the holidays, don’t just sit there, call up your mom or dad or brother or sister or whoever. Just because you’re physically away, doesn’t mean you have to be away emotionally. Start planning fun outings for your next visit with them, find fun holiday outings for yourself in your neighborhood and, when all else fails, curl up with some hot chocolate and a Hallmark Christmas movie. I find that always cures any gloominess.

Do you have other advice for spending my first holiday season away from home? How do you cope with the holiday blues? Let me know in the comments below.

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

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