For some of us, the holidays are the highlight of our year; being surrounded by family and friends is our favorite thing. Thus, for others who don’t get to be around family, the holidays may feel really heavy. Though you may not be able to be surrounded by family this year, you can still celebrate the holidays. It may not look like it has in the past, but this year, you get to choose what kind of holiday season you want to have. If you need ideas on how you can celebrate the holidays while you’re away from family, you’ve come to the right place!
Just because you’re not around your family doesn’t mean you can’t still celebrate your favorite traditions. Celebrating the holidays doesn’t always look identical from year to year, so it’s okay if it looks a little different this year, too. Even if you’re not happy about the way things have worked out this time around, remember that it may not be this way forever.
For example, you can still bond with family members by asking them for your favorite recipes and talking to each other on the phone while you make them together (in separate places). Another option is to activate your senses. For instance, if your family plays a certain type of music during dinner, you can too! Similarly, if your family always has a roaring fireplace going, but you don’t have one in your home, play a simulated one on the TV. Things may not be exactly the same, but you can certainly make the best of the situation.
If you do not have positive memories around holiday traditions, you can make your own. You can make them as traditional or unique as you’d like! For example, you could gather some friends to:
Traditions have to start somewhere, so why not start new ones this year?
One of the best ways to celebrate this season of generosity is to give back. Seeking out volunteering opportunities is always a good way to put things in perspective. To find local volunteer opportunities, you can visit your city’s website or contact:
Another way to celebrate the holidays is to check out local celebrations. For example, here in Texas, our city has an event calendar online that is chalked full of holiday activities like:
Sometimes when things don’t go the way you planned, you have to get creative. The same can be true of holiday celebrations. Getting creative with how you connect with others can be a great way to celebrate the holidays!
For instance, you can get creative by decorating your home. A few decorations like paper snowflakes, twinkly lights, window stickers, or festive music can go a long way in creating a holiday ambiance. If you enjoy more traditional activities, you could gather some friends to decorate cookies, make gingerbread houses, or brainstorm goals for next year. None of it needs to be elaborate. The goal is not to create more burnout or exhaustion, just to make the best out of the situation.
If you’re really missing your family, especially during meal times, try video chatting while you eat together. Your family may be in different time zones but you can find easy ways to be together without having to be in the same room.
Another way to creatively connect with others is to send greeting cards to people who are also far away from their loved ones. You could either buy a box of greeting cards or hand-make the cards – whichever is more fun for you. Cards could be sent to:
Connection is such an important part of being human and is often felt very strongly this time of year. If you are going to be away from family this holiday season, it might be a good idea to get connected with a licensed professional counselor (LPC). They will be able to help you healthily process any complicated feelings that may arise. Additionally, they will also lend a listening ear and provide resources to help you get through this season.
Here at Sage Recovery, we know that this time of year can be tricky for some people. That’s why we invest heavily in promoting our alumni connections. We always want our clients to know that, even if they don’t have close family or friends, they have us. Additionally, we also have group therapy groups that meet regularly, as well as other local support groups.
We know that the holidays can produce complicated feelings, memories, and situations. Here at Sage Recovery, we want you to know that you don’t have to go through any of it alone. Whether you are dealing with symptoms of anxiety, depression, trauma, or substance use, we are here to help. Our masters-level clinicians can support and guide you as you heal from the hard things you’ve been through. We offer outpatient treatment for adolescents and adults, as well as residential treatment for adults. Whatever you need to heal, we can help. Reach out to us at (512) 306-1394 when you’re ready to begin your healing journey. We’ll walk with you every step of the way.