Celebrating Christmas away from home can become an event that brings more sadness than joy. Those who are used to spending the Christmas holiday with family at home can feel depressed when a separation occurs. Prepare yourself mentally for the separation. This is most important if this is the first Christmas celebration away from home that you have to experience. By accepting the fact that you will not be at home, you may begin to plan for your celebration with an attitude of optimism.
There are a couple of ways to prepare for Christmas away from home. One is to try, to the best of your ability, to duplicate as much of the familiar as you can. The other is the opposite tact, which is to immerse yourself in the activities and even traditions of the area where you will be located during the Christmas Holiday season. A blend usually works best.
Perhaps the following 10 tips may bring a bit of happiness and peace to those spending Christmas away from home.
Decorate your home as your family usually does. If it is a tradition to have a tree with all red lights, for example, use red lights on your tree. Most families have traditions of decorating that are used year to year. Mimicking them will bring good memories of home.
Shopping for gifts is a tradition, though there are many different ways to shop. If you are sending packages home, make sure you ship soon enough to insure delivery before December 25th. Check the US Post Office site, http://www.usps.com/ , for deadlines for mailing.
Communication with home is perhaps the most important part of your emotional survival. If you need to, provide phone calling cards to family members. Sure, you can call them, but giving a phone card says that you value them and want them to be in touch with you at their convenience. With the various phone options available these days, you can even set up a “conference call” with several members of your family back home. Christmas Eve is a great time to make this call.
Set up a web cam event. With the many ways to link computer systems now available, a little planning and some technical expertise will result in a live broadcast that can include quite a few family members. Patch the web cam feed through a large screen TV for a fun evening of sharing.
Find a church in the area that is of the same denomination of your home town church. The congregation will most likely welcome you with open arms, and their services will be close to what you are used to at home. And you just might get invited to one of those fabulous church dinners as well!
Search the local newspaper for holiday events in the area. Many times you can discover nice Christmas related activities locally. These are very effective in instilling in you the Christmas spirit.
Consider volunteering for charity work. Most communities have homeless shelters, Salvation Army facilities, or other facilities that could use your help at Christmas time. Nursing homes and even orphanages are places always looking for volunteers. You will be blessed by this work, and it will help pass the time as well.
Service Clubs like the Lions, Kiwanis, and Optimists also have Christmas related events planned. Most all of these invite ‘out of town, away from home’ folks to participate in their celebrations.
Does your family have a traditional Christmas movie? “The Miracle on 34th Street”, “It’s A Wonderful Life”, or even “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” are worth renting and viewing. Good memories for all.
Finally, if possible, have you considered celebrating Christmas at a time of year when your entire family can attend? Perhaps you visit in July. Yes, Christmas in July is a real possibility. Many families celebrate Christmas on days other than December 25th. There is nothing wrong with a Christmas celebration on July 25th, if all can be there to share the holiday!