4 Ways to Make the Most of the Holidays When You’re Away from Home


A few years ago, when I still worked in journalism, I found myself in a new city during the holidays. I didn’t know many people outside of work and was unable to go home. It was reminiscent of those first few months after we’d PCS when I was a child.

But, it was different. This time, it was just me. I found myself struggling with decisions – Do I decorate for just me? Do I cook for just me? Do I beg a seat at a coworkers table? Do I pretend it’s just another day? 

It’s easy to let knowing that you’ll be alone during the holidays send you into a tailspin of depression. Especially when the people we most want there can’t be there.

But, did you know you can choose to have an amazing holiday, even if you’re circumstances aren’t perfect? Yes, it’s true. You can. Here’s 4 ways to turn a depressing holiday season into a stellar event:

Host a potluck. Trust me, you’re not the only one who is feeling left out. Reach out to others who may be in the same position and organize a potluck. Spreading out the work for a big dinner will allow everyone to feel as though they’re contributing.

Volunteer. The holidays are rife with opportunities to give back to your community. Find something that speaks to you and join others in sharing your time. Whether it’s writing letters to troops overseas or serving a meal at a shelter, you’ll get a boost of feel-good endorphins from helping others.

Share the holidays long-distance. Create holiday-themed care packages for loved ones far away. If you have small children, this is a great way to get them involved AND show them how to give to those you love, even if they’re far away.

Be a little selfish. Find yourself truly alone? Unplug from the world and do something for yourself. Indulge in a book or do something you’ve been putting off. Even now, whenever I have an unexpected day off and friends are busy, I have a mini spa-day at home.

Don’t let yourself fall into the pit of despair this holiday season. Choose to make it the best possible with what you have. Focus on what’s going well, rather than what you’re missing. Your circumstances will change, just as surly as the seasons do.


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