Being away from home is hard! Being away from home during the holidays is even harder. It’s only been in the last couple years that I have had to spend any time away from my family during the holidays. While it has been difficult, I’ve decided that this year I’m going to keep my spirits up with some FORCED holiday cheer.
Recreate Your Traditions
At first, it’s hard to carry out a holiday tradition when you aren’t around those you love. However, once I started to recreate some of my favorite holiday traditions, I started to feel better and less homesick. Yes, I cried. Yes, I felt sad for a little while. But, once the tears were finished, I was able to focus on all of the happy memories I had and even make some new ones with Zach.
Pick One Festive Thing to Do Every Day
This tip comes from my very smart friend, Caitlin. She suggested doing one festive thing every day in December, an anti-homesickness advent calendar if you will. As I write this post, it’s only December 2nd, but even in the days leading up to December I started to have fun planning out all of the fun, festive things I am going to do this month.
Just because you are far away from your family and friends doesn’t mean you can’t connect with them in meaningful ways. Communication is so instant now, but there is value in sitting down and writing someone a card. My friend Amy and I love to send cards back and forth. After a long day of missing home, there is nothing I love more than seeing something from a friend in my mailbox.
Host a Party
This is not something I have done. I know if I try to do it, it will be difficult for me to get over the social anxiety. That’s not always a bad thing though! Hosting a party or event in the place you live in now is one big step toward putting down roots and making it home.
One struggle I have is that Seattle is where I live, but it isn’t home. I spend my days here, but spend most of my time still trying to interact with my life in Utah. By engaging with some of the wonderful people here and inviting them into my space, I’m beginning the process of making this city feel like home (even if I’m not ready to give it that title).
Share the Love
This is something that comes up every year — holiday giving! But, I will argue that it has never been more important than this year. 2016 was a difficult year for a lot of people; personally, professionally and nationally.
Be kind to people. You don’t have to understand or even like them, but we can try to treat each other well. If you can’t treat someone well, then just walk away instead of saying something unkind.
One awakening for me has been moving here. Seattle has the third-highest, per-capita homeless population in the nation. Every day I’m reminded of how lucky I am with what I have and that even when I am feeling low, there is always more I can do to make someone else’s world a better place. This is not something I was ever confronted with in my safe-Utah bubble.
This month, I am determined to do better! I will be cheerful with the upcoming holidays! While being away for Thanksgiving was hard, I am going to make Seattle much more homey and put in some effort. If all else fails, only two and a half weeks until I get to visit Utah again.