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A close up of wrapped gifts with bows

With the holiday season ahead of us once again, you are probably making your plans. Many will be traveling, either back home, or to the in-law’s place. But many people either choose to stay home or are unable to travel back home to spend the holidays with family.

This can be hard.

You may have grown up always going to grandma’s house for the holidays, or you normally switch off between you and your spouse’s family, and this happens to be your year. However, this year, you need to stay home.

Maybe your spouse is deployed and the idea of traveling by yourself with very young children is enough to keep you home. Maybe you just can’t afford the cost that it would take to travel back to the US to spend the holidays at home. Whatever the reason, being away from your extended family for the holidays can be a challenge. Here are 5 tips to help.

Start new traditions

Your little family is still your family. Now you have the chance to start your own traditions. Maybe instead of having to wait until Christmas Day to open gifts, your family wants to do it on Christmas Eve. Find ways to add new and fun traditions to your own family. It’s a great time to do so.

Don’t do what you don’t want to do

Since you will be home for the holidays, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You don’t have to cook what you don’t want to cook. Maybe your family doesn’t even like turkey, make something else. Take advantage of the fact that you are totally in charge here. 

A group of women holding gifts in front of a christmas tree.

Make plans with friends

Getting together with friends during the holidays can be so much fun. You can learn about one another’s Thanksgiving traditions, and share stories of growing up in different parts of the country. Not spending the holidays with family doesn’t mean you have to spend it without other people.


Our family is usually in our own home for Christmas. We never have anyone visit either. So, Christmas Day is actually pretty relaxing for us. We open presents, make a meal, and just chill in our PJs. No rushing around, and no expectations. We can truly relax on that day. 

Plan video chats

During the holidays, plan video chats. This will help you still feel connected and a part of one another’s holiday plans. In the past, we have even kept the video on during present openings or other fun moments during the day. This really helps when the homesickness sets in. 

Whatever you do this holiday season, make it your own. If you can’t be with extended family, there are still some amazing ways to celebrate in your own home. Enjoy the holiday season! 

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Julie Provost
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