When you move to a new country for your job, there are many positive outcomes. Yet all these positives are overshadowed during Christmas time when you have to spend days, which are meant for family, alone on the other side of the world. All the money you can send back home, your growing career, and the fact that your kids can go to the best schools suddenly seem small against the burden of a festive time away from your family.
The festive season is a time when close friends and families celebrate together, and seeing others do it while you’re stuck on the other side of the world, is hard. Here are a few ways in which you can feel close to your family during this time, and avoid feeling lonely and sad this Christmas.
Skype or Facetime
Both these inventions come to their best use during the holidays. You will most likely have rituals when opening your Christmas gifts. Make a Skype call part of the routine. Watch them open the presents you sent them and let them enjoy your facial expressions when you open yours. It may make you and your family on the other side sad, and some might blink away the tears, but at least you’re sharing a moment of love during Christmas.
Make as much time as possible for your family during the festive season. Pick up the phone when it rings; don’t delay in replying to messages as we so often do during the year when work keeps us busy. Make time to reply properly and send the lengthy email your parents so enjoy reading. Use the tools at your disposal: free minutes, Facebook, Whatsapp and instant messaging.
Keep tradition alive
If your family has a tradition to take a late night walk on Christmas Eve, or to give food to the homeless after lunch on Christmas day, you should do the same wherever you are. Not only will it make you feel more connected to your family, but you will also see that Christmas traditions can remain alive in different countries too. Think of all the small things you would normally do during this time and do them where you are.
Send a postcard
Although it’s great to be able to communicate via the Internet, nothing beats receiving a postcard in the mail. Allow your family this wonderful feeling. Send them a postcard well in time with a Christmas message. Although you won’t be the receiver, the act of sending something physical to them will cheer you up instantly.
Hang out with your second family
You would most certainly have gotten to know some people in your new city or town. The expat support networks are great. Chances are that there are many others like you spending Christmas away from their families. Get together for meals, give each other gifts, and enjoy this festive time together. They need not be blood related in order to feel like family.
Have some Me Time
If you’ve had a busy year, working hard to impress your boss or to get that promotion, you can probably do with a bit of Me Time. Allow yourself some introspection during this quiet time away from work and away from your family to reflect on your year, on your job, on your decisions and your achievements. This will set you up to start the New Year on a good note. Alone time is so needed in today’s world where everyone is connected 24/7.
Attend a Christmas event
Whether you’re religious or not, attending a Christmas service at a church in your area will most definitely help you to feel less lonely. If you’re not keen on a church, find a different Christmas related event – perhaps a performance by an orchestra or choir – that is Christmas themed. Having people around you enjoying the same entertainment will most certainly help you to feel less lonely.
Give to the poor
Buy extra tins of food, clean out your closet of clothes your don’t wear, or make a triple portion of dinner. Go out and give to those less fortunate than you. You’ll realize that your life isn’t so bad after all, and you’ll enjoy the company of those who are genuinely happy to be around you.