We have all been taught that holidays are times to be spent with family, but unfortunately this is not always possible. Many students who choose to go to school out-of-state when they go to college do not have the opportunity to go home for all of their holidays. However, this shouldn’t ruin the day because there are a lot of options for how to spend the holiday and cope with being away from your family. Here are some fun ideas to help you through this holiday season.
When you make the decision to go to an out-of-state school, one of the most important things you can and should do is create a family of friends at school. A popular “friends” holiday for people is “Friends”-giving. This is a holiday created for friends to come together and be thankful for what they do have during a holiday away from home. It gives people the opportunity to stop thinking about how hard it is being away and start thinking about how grateful they are to have so many wonderful people in their lives. It can also be fun to have a “Friends”-giving holiday for no reason at all. It is the perfect way to get together with all of your friends and appreciate each other and all your memories as well as all the memories that are yet to come.
Even though you are in a different place, why can’t you have a nice dinner with your family during the holiday? Find out your family’s holiday plans and schedule a video call during that time. Your family can take the device around to everyone in attendance, so you can catch up with all the people you love. They can find out about your life, and you can enjoy the feeling of being surrounded by the people you love and who love you. To make it even more special, you can get some of your favorite family recipes and prepare a small amount for yourself. This will let you enjoy the same food your family is eating therefore extending the connection between you and those you are away from.
Extended Family Traditions
Just because you can not be with your immediate family does not mean you can not be with family at all. Use this time to find out where all your extended family lives and see if you could join their family traditions. If they live nearby, holidays are a very special way for you to join in and truly get to know more people in your family. Take the time to learn about the other people in your family, and ask for old family stories you have never heard. There is always something fun about a funny family tale. Then not only do you get to have a fun holiday with lots of other people, but you also get to meet and bond with new people to make new friends and family connections.
Do you have friends at school who are attending in-state? Many families with in-state students love to host their student’s friends for holidays. Having grown up throughout their own lives, they know what it can be like to be away from family for any period of time. They will most likely take you in without a thought and treat you like their own. I know that this option is not perfect because it can be hard to be with another family when you miss your own but do not dismiss the option so quickly. It can be better to be surrounded by new people you can get to know rather than spending that time alone.
Holidays are a time for giving thanks and spreading love. But no one ever said you can not spend your time loving yourself. Spend the day doing only things that make you happy. When practicing self-love, I like to think of four simple words: art, beauty, knowledge and food. Do something creative and take some time to draw, color or write. Take a moment to feel beautiful. Do your make-up or a face mask or take a nice bath. Expand your knowledge. It can always feel good to take a step back and learn something new. Pick something you have always been interested in and finally take the initiative to learn. Finally, spend the day eating all of your favorite foods. These are all simple ideas that will without a doubt leave a positive feeling in your heart by the end of the day.
In the weeks leading up to a holiday, pay close attention to university and professor announcements as well as club posters that have been put up around campus. You are not the only person who is on your own this holiday season, so there are most likely things around campus to keep your mind occupied. Sometimes clubs will host events such as “Friends”-giving dinners or volunteering opportunities during this hard time. Professors and college presidents have also been known to host students who have nowhere else to go on a holiday.
Help Those Less Fortunate
Always remember that there are people out in the world who are worse off than you are. The holiday season is the perfect time to take a moment to help those who need it. You can look into volunteering at a food bank to serve meals to those going hungry. Or you can take donations to a homeless shelter or halfway house. One of my favorites is to volunteer at an animal shelter and give the animals the love they need. There are so many options for helping those in need, and every single one of them will give you a good feeling this holiday season.
All holiday traditions are a lot of fun. My favorite away from home holiday tradition is to call my family and have a good laugh with them. Share this story with those who need a way to spend their holiday, and comment below with your fun holiday stories and traditions.
Erin Brassey grew up in Boise, Idaho and has been writing as a journalist since her work in her high school yearbook and newspaper. She is currently attending the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication studying print and digital journalism. Brassey completed her first internship last year as a freshman where she learned more about reporting in a professional standing. She also studies Digital Culture and Design Studies in order to achieve her goal of making the news more interactive in the future. Brassey loves art, fashion and dance, and her favorite topics to cover as a writer are lifestyle and travel.