There’s a Christmas song that gets to me every single year. Not in a snowflakes-and-candy-canes way, but in a, “Man, this really stinks!” type of way.
If you’ve ever been away from your family for the holidays, then you probably know what song I’m talking about.
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” is pretty much the only thing that can bring out the water works during the Christmas season at the drop of a hat, because for so many families, we won’t be home for Christmas.
Or, at least, we won’t be with our extended families.
My husband and I made the executive decision a few years ago (after waking up one Christmas morning in a dark and dreary hotel room, and then shuffling ourselves and kids from house to house with no home to go back to), that we wanted to start our own traditions at our home…wherever that may be.
Seven Ways to Beat the Blues and Have Christmas Cheer
So how can you beat the holiday blues when you won’t be home for Christmas? I thought you’d never ask!
Grab the tinsel, bring out the tree, string up the lights, and turn on some Christmas music. Since you’re staying put this year, decorate your house to your heart’s content.
Short on cash and don’t want to spend a lot on frilly decor?
Head to the dollar store—it’s my go-to place for cheap, but still effective, Christmas decorations.
You can also get your kids in on helping decking out your halls: make a paper chain garland, string popcorn for the tree, and make some adorable hand and footprint decor to hang on your walls.
2. Start Your Own Traditions
Since you’re not going home—where you probably had dozens of traditions waiting for you—start your own. Set out a day to bake cookies for your neighbors and make a fun day of it.
Dress up your kids and visit Santa for some classic holiday photos. Decide what day you want to put out your Christmas Tree, jam out to some holiday songs, and have some fun.
Bust out an Elf on the Shelf, and if you’re up for the challenge; get matching PJ’s for the kids and go look at Christmas lights around town a few days before the “Big Guy” comes.
Basically, bring your kids in on the fun and merge the traditions you loved growing up with new ones your making for your family.
3. Spread Some Holiday Cheer
Just because you won’t be leaving for the holidays doesn’t mean that you can’t see your friends and family from back home.
Set up a Skype date, put on your
ugly Christmas sweaters, and wish your people a happy holiday “face to face.”
Sometimes we even hold out on opening our gifts until we can FaceTime with the gift-givers, so we can all open our gifts “together.”
We may not physically be in the same room, but seeing those smiles spread across their faces from miles away certainly helps spread the joy.
The picture above is the aftermath of our first Christmas away from our family. We all opened our presents “together” despite a crazy time difference since we were in Italy and they were in America!
And if all else fails, and you can’t actually see them on the computer, pick up the phone and give them a call. There’s nothing like hearing your loved one’s voice.
4. Join Forces with Friends
If you hear of someone else who is sticking around for the holidays, consider inviting them over. You’re probably not the only family on the block who’s staying put this year, and they may be longing for some extra company.
If you know a lot of solo-families, make it a party. Have everyone bring a white elephant gift, and their favorite cookie or side dish, and celebrate the season with new friends. Who says you have to have fun alone?
5. Do Good Around Your ‘Hood
Volunteer for those less fortunate or do some good deeds around your neighborhood. Volunteering and being kind for neighbors can be incredibly fulfilling, and an excellent way to spread some love.
Not to mention, everyone could use a little holiday cheer around this time of year.
6. Embrace Your New Place
Sure, it may not be a white Christmas in sunny California, but that doesn’t mean you have to skip the cocoa.
Grab a cooler (filled with chocolate milk, of course), and head to the beach. Take a picture with your toes in the sand, and the kids making “sand angels” for your Christmas picture—your friends and family living in the snowbound east will be green with envy.
Make your situation work for you!
Find a way to flip a switch on your current situation. And if all else fails? Tune in to a Hallmark movie; one of them is bound to get you in the spirit of Christmas.
7. Have a Good Cry
Let’s be honest: being away from home for the holidays can suck. Embrace it, but don’t dwell in it. Harboring your feelings and letting them bubble up inside you will only make them eventually burst.
Have a good cry and embrace that sadness…then find the silver lining, and maybe try one of the things above.
If you plan on sticking around and not going “home” for the holidays, how do you beat the blues? Share your ideas in the comments!