Guest Blog: Three Tips for Surviving Christmas Away from Home

by Golibé Omenaka

Representative from Bethel School of Technology, member of the Alliance for Hispanic Education

The Holidays are some of the most special, memorable and nostalgic times of the year. For those of us who don’t live in California, the weather gets colder, we look to the skies, hoping for some snow and everyone gets to spend more time at home, thanks to Christmas vacations.

As such, Christmas time likely holds some of our very fondest memories. That time you got your first bike, trying egg nog for the first time, going to church on Christmas day, or simply being together. Perhaps you’re away at college and can’t make it home because of how crazy the world is right now with COVID.

Either way, simply existing can feel like a battle right now, and not being with family during the holidays is an extra burden on top of that. To help you out, we’ve come up with a few tips to help you survive Christmas away from home.

1 – Do something, anything, to make your current accommodation feel like home.

Does your family have a tradition? Does the Christmas tree come out on December 15th every year? Do you make Gingerbread cookies on Christmas eve? Do you wear Christmas sweaters on Christmas Day? Whatever it is, find a way of bringing those treasured memories to where you are right now.

The 15-foot fir tree you’re used to at your parent’s place might have to make way for a 2-foot plastic tree on your coffee table, and you might be watching It’s a Wonderful Life with your roommate and not your family, but keeping these traditions in some way is a powerful tool to help you feel connected. Yes, it might serve as a painful reminder that you aren’t at home, but it’s also a bold statement of the love you and your family have for each other.

2 – Thank the Lord God Almighty for Zoom, Facetime, Whatsapp etc

In 2020, being away from home for Christmas doesn’t mean you don’t get to see them at all. We’re blessed to live in a time where we can video call our loved ones no matter where they are, be it the other side of the country or the other side of the world. Take advantage of that.

Don’t be afraid of calling your parents or siblings everytime you feel sad you aren’t with them. It’s always better to process your negative feelings, rather than keeping them to yourselves. Reaching out often will also remind you that your family is missing you just as much, probably more, than you are missing them.

Modern phones are better for so much more than Instagram and Tik-Tok, so take advantage of that this Christmas season!

3 – Be kind to yourself

As I said above, life can feel very hard right now, so the last thing you need is to give yourself a hard time. One of the things that I would recommend is remembering to treat yourself often.

It might be getting yourself your favorite food a couple of times, grabbing an extra coffee, or just spending a day watching your favorite show and doing absolutely nothing else. The world could be a much better place if we were all kinder to ourselves, even during the christmas season.

If you need to adjust your budget in the run up to Christmas to make room for treating yourself, then do it now. Sometimes, on a hard day, just having something to look forward to, no matter how small, can be incredibly helpful and uplifting.

You need you at your best, your family needs you at your best, everyone around you needs you at your best, so be kind to yourself this Christmas!

Golibé Omenaka