“Home for the Holidays.” I never thought much about that phrase while watching Christmas movies or hearing commercials or the news talk about going home for the holidays. That is, until I moved far from home and traveling was a must in order to see my family for the holidays.
I moved about ten hours away to go to college and at that college is where I met my husband and made my roots. Fast forward five years and we still live there, now with three children.
Even before getting married I started to feel the stress of having to travel over ten hours to make it home for every holiday. Luckily in college I could take advantage of the Christmas break, but once I got married it became harder. Because of the distance and the struggle trying to get off enough work to make a ten hour drive with babies worth it, we knew we couldn’t manage traveling home as much for the holidays.
Of course making a ten hour trip in the northern winters is awful and I was not going to miss that, it was hard hearing about all of the memories my family was making and how I just wasn’t a part of any of it. I hated that I was missing family traditions like going to see the carolers and opening presents together.
But I didn’t want to be blue for Christmas, so my husband and I decided to make our own traditions and make sure we had a blast in our own little family. As we tried to and embrace our circumstances, some of our local friends started coming out of the woodwork and invited us to their family holiday get togethers!
When we got to their house, they had gifts wrapped for us since we wouldn’t get be able to share that Christmas tradition with my family back home. It meant the world to us that we had friends that wanted us to feel like family. We wanted them to be a part of our traditions too, so we invited them to our local Christmas Eve caroling event and had a blast!
Since then, I have learned that being “home for the holidays” can mean different things for different people. It can mean traveling to see your biological family, but it can also mean being around great friends or even just your own new little family. It is still hard to miss out on those fun Christmas traditions and memories, but I’ve learned to find joy despite my circumstances.