Celebrating the Holidays Away from Family


Living far away from family is difficult, especially during the holiday season. While visiting family or family visiting us during the holidays is always wonderful, it’s not always feasible.

There is always part of the holiday season for me where the holiday blues seem to sink in, whether it’s missing snow at Christmas, family gatherings, or Nana’s apple pie. Fortunately, we have discovered a few things to help in celebrating the holidays when family isn’t close by.

Utilize Technology

I’ll be the first to admit video chat is not the same as being there, but it sure is a wonderful tool. Grandparents and family members can watch the opening of gifts, Christmas trees can be decorated “together”, and as a family who loves to play games, we’ve discovered a few that we can play across the miles. We even have a family baking day over video chat: I bake here in Colorado while our family in the Midwest has their holiday baking day.

Continue Traditions

Christmas light decorating. Chili on Christmas Eve. Playing our favorite festive music. As we continue these traditions and share the stories of them with our kids, it brings back sweet memories, and I love that they continue in our family even though we are far away.

Start New Traditions

New traditions that include local flair have been a unique and fun way of celebrating. For example, there are local events like the Electric Safari at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Cog Railway Santa Train or visiting the North Pole.  It could even be a simple tradition, like our favorite new Thanksgiving day tradition (thanks to Colorado’s generally warm Thanksgiving weather): a Thanksgiving day hike.

Invite Friends

Whether it’s for the holiday itself or fun activities like decorating cookies, making gingerbread houses, baking pies, or watching a family Christmas movie while sipping hot chocolate, including friends in these activities always helps. This is especially true if they are in the same situation as you are, living far away from family. This simple act of hospitality always seems to make the holidays less lonesome for everyone.

Do you celebrate holidays away from family? What are your best tips for celebrating when family is far away?