A Guide to Surviving the Holidays in a New City
So, you are in a new city without family and friends and the holidays are here. This is a time spent with family and friends. What are you supposed to do now? This scenario could make you dread all the festivities.
While some families who recently relocated will be able to make a return trip home, many of you will stay in your new city. You might need to change up your holiday traditions and work hard to fight off homesickness. As you come to terms with the unique position you are in right now, there are still ways to celebrate the holidays even when you aren’t surrounded by your loved ones.
Here’s how to turn a potentially depressing time into a joyful time.
Plan on being homesick. Homesickness is normal – especially after the newness of relocating wears off. Develop a plan for managing those feelings. Ignoring homesickness or telling yourself to “just get over it” will not improve your situation. Consider your personality to help you best cope with the negative feelings. Some people prefer to stay busy, while others may need more time alone. Find a balance that is best for you.
Keep the traditions that mean the most to you. While you may not do everything you would normally do for a holiday, you can do a few things that you love. Pick traditions that have the most meaning – ones that bring back the best memories. Maybe you bake your grandmother’s traditional Christmas cookies or prepare your aunt’s best dishes for Hanukkah. You might come to realize that it is small things like this that make the holidays special.
Decorate your home. While decorating traditions vary by regions, you may be able to find basic holiday decorations in your new city. Compromise will likely be necessary – live Christmas trees are not available everywhere, for example – but you can mix a few decorations with homemade crafts or pictures of loved ones. Making your surroundings festive will boost your mood and put you in the holiday spirit.
Explore local traditions. Keep your adventure alive by embracing what the locals do to celebrate during the holiday season. You may find some traditions match your own or you may come across traditions that are completely foreign to you. Take this opportunity to study and learn why the locals do them. You could end up making some of these local traditions new traditions of your own!
Do not spend the holiday alone. Now is a good time to connect with groups in your area. Socialize at the group’s events during the holidays to find much needed support and encouragement. Even if you do not connect with others during the holidays, you can still find a way to make this season a special time. For instance, pick a cause that is important to you and volunteer at an organization that supports that cause. Giving your time to help others is a great way to honor the holiday season.
Get in touch with friends and family back home – but do not overdo it! Your first reaction to spending the holidays alone may be to spend as much time as possible online talking to your friends and loved ones back home. This might have the reverse effect of what you desire, however. Constantly connecting with family and friends can amplify feelings of homesickness and keep you from moving forward. It’s important to keep a balance between maintaining bonds and friendships with building a new life.
Above all else, do not ignore the holidays! Instead of calling off holiday celebrations all together, recognize that the holidays can still be special even if they look a little different. Think ahead, prepare a celebration strategy, and embrace all that you do have around you during this season. Happy Holidays!
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