Living on your own warrants an accomplished feeling of independence and adulthood, especially when you find yourself in a new and exciting place. Sadly, it also stirs up feelings of loneliness when the holidays come around. When it comes to Christmas, feelings of nostalgia and homesickness tend to peak. It's difficult to avoid, especially when the spirit of the season is everywhere. Parents are teaching their little ones to ice skate for the first time. Couples share warm cups of hot chocolate. Generations gather to see "The Nutcracker" or "A Christmas Carol." No matter the circumstance, the happiness and intimacy emanating from these families reminds you of what you're missing out on back home.
Yes, missing out on all of the festivities and traditions that your family puts together can be a bummer. However, this doesn't mean that you can't make the most of this holiday season with those around you or simply by yourself. So, if you won't be going home for Christmas this year, consider some of these options to have a fun and joyful holiday.
*Travel the World (or Somewhere New)
While everyone else is making his or her annual visit to Grandma's or Mom's house, you could be taking an all-inclusive tropical trip to Cancun! No, seriously. Where have you always wanted to go? What have you always wanted to do? Why not take the opportunity to satisfy your wanderlust and immerse yourself in a place you only dreamed of going? Also, depending on when you do it, the cost could be significantly less than going during peak season. And if you want to save some cash and keep it low-key, visit somewhere in your city that you've never been before, or take a road trip somewhere and get lost in the adventure.
*Cozy Up and Chill Out
Sometimes the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can be exhausting. If staying home is more up your alley, make it the best "staycation" ever! Commit to a new Netflix show, or have a Christmas movie marathon and cozy up on the couch. Indulge yourself with a yummy dinner or delicious and festive sweets.
If you still want some company, invite friends over or neighbors and co-workers who aren't going home for the holidays. If you have enough guests, host a potluck, or tap into everyone's competitive sides with a fun game night. Staying home is one of the best ways to spend the holidays, because even though you are away from your family, you are still home.
*Be Charitable and Compassionate
Though you might (understandably) be upset about not going home for the holidays, there are many people out there who don't have families or homes at all. Volunteering to help feed the homeless is a wonderful way to give back to your community and show compassion for others who are not as fortunate as you. Human interaction, love and kindness are crucial to our overall well-being, and charity and volunteer work are invaluable ways to demonstrate that toward another person and have it reciprocated.
There are also plenty of other ways that you can choose to give back. For example, you can donate to a charity that you care about, contribute to or help organize a food or toy drive, or even send gifts or letters of appreciation to troops serving abroad. There is no right or wrong way to do it. I guarantee that you won't regret it when you do.
Even though these activities can never replace the time spent with our families and loved ones, they are still worth a shot. Whether it's taking a vacation or staycation, hosting a potluck game night with friends or feeding the homeless in your community, the most important part is that you're trying something different. Who knows? It could someday become your new holiday tradition.