It’s just over two weeks until Thanksgiving, the best holiday of all holidays that ever holiday-ed! You know that that means: everyone is already thinking about Christmas. The Christmas markets are being set up, stores are playing holiday music and even commercials are started to turn towards holiday-themed. It’s the best time of the year!
Even though we’ve been away for the holidays the last two years, this is the first time we won’t even have any friends to celebrate with. What on earth are we going to do??? I’m not entirely sure what our days are going to look like, but I can tell you that we won’t be sitting around, crying and playing that sad Charlie Brown song.
I’ve been brainstorming for weeks on how I can make the most of this holiday season. I know that our problem isn’t really a problem to some people; we’re in Europe, we’re happy and healthy. But it doesn’t stop the feelings of being left out and forgotten. It doesn’t stop the fact that we won’t be with our families. And family is what the holidays mean to me.
So what do I have up my sleeve? Well, thank you for asking!
Plan as many Skype/Google Video/text sessions with your friends and family as possible.
As I said above, the holidays mean family to me. I want to talk to as many loved ones as possible, since we won’t be there to celebrate in person. I’ve gotten us on the schedule for a couple different Skype dates and phone calls on Thanksgiving (I can’t even think about Christmas yet), and I know I’ll be texting my cousin and close friends furiously. Y’all know I want some pictures of that turkey in all her glory. It’ll help us to stay connected.
Dress up (or down!) for the occasion.
Holidays past I would go out and buy a pretty new sweater and some jewelry, maybe a skirt and some shoes. I didn’t dress up by everyone’s standards, but I dressed up according to mine.
But this year my nicest sweater actually has a hole in it and dressing up consists of brushing my hair and finding a pair of clean socks. Hey, we’ve been on the road for months and I’m tired, OK? So instead of getting dressed up we’re going to put on all of our favorite comfy clothes and lounge around all day. We might even go crazy and buy some new fuzzy socks. Actually, that’s a brilliant idea. We’re definitely doing that.
The point is we’re making it an event. Even if our day isn’t a super formal and fancy one, we’re still planning and putting effort into what we’re doing, which makes me feel really good about the holidays.
Splurge a little on your lodging, if you can.
We have been picking the cheapest apartments we can find in almost every city we’ve visited. But when it comes time for the places we’re staying at on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas, we allowed ourselves to have a bit of a splurge.
We booked an apartment with an oven.
I know, I know. We’ve reached baller status. I swear I won’t treat you all any differently.
I never knew how much a girl could miss an oven until we went two months without one. But I wanted to make sure we had really nice place to be. There’s nothing more depressing than being so far away from your families, alone and in a really gross apartment. Plus with an oven, we can do a few of our favorite holiday traditions.
If you have traditions that can be done, do them.
Every Christmas morning we have the most beautiful breaded wreath that Ryan bakes the night before. I love it even more than opening presents. So even if we have to buy every single ingredient and only use them once, we’re baking a wreath for Christmas morning.
I plan on playing as much Christmas music as
we Ryan can possibly tolerate, and we might try to see if we can watch a movie or two online. Perhaps I’ll hang up a pair of socks like stockings, but probably not because that’s gross. We will be swapping tiny gifts Christmas Eve. Heavy emphasis on tiny because they’ll have to fit in our bags until we go home in January.
We’re trying to keep up as many traditions alive this year. But there will definitely be some that we have to bench until 2017.
If your traditions don’t translate to your current location, work with what you have!
I know I’m not going to get an all-out Thanksgiving dinner. I’ll be dreaming of a table set with a feast. And the football and puppy bowl. And the desserts. Oh, the desserts.
But it might be good to not be home for Thanksgiving. Maybe I’ll learn some portion control for next year.
Since we will be in Vienna for Thanksgiving and it’s obviously not celebrated there, I plan on finding any sort turkey and and some potatoes for the day. Even if it means a turkey sandwich and fries! I’ll also stock up on as many vegetables as we can find and eat. And of course we’ll have some sort of apple dessert.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of all holidays, mostly because I get to wear leggings in public without getting the stink eye from people (just so you know, you’re horrible people). I know that this year might be small and less extravagant, but I also know that when I take that turkey out of the oven next year it’ll be even more special.
Embrace the traditions of your current location.
We’ll be in Germany for a couple weeks leading up to Christmas, and I’ll for sure be going to as many Christmas markets as I can. Even if it’s just to stand and take in the atmosphere! But we also plan on doing some in depth research into other Christmas traditions of Germany and other countries we’ve visited. I think it would be really great to incorporate them when we get back home in our own Christmas day feast, I’m all about honoring this adventure and everything we’ve learned.
Ask friends and acquaintances what they do around the holidays for inspiration!
I’ve been asking friends old and new for their favorite memories of the holidays. And I’ve gotten some really great ideas out of it!
Take the time to ask others what they’ll be doing for the holidays. You might hear about a wonderful tradition that you want to incorporate into your own day, and I think that’s great. Plus I find that when I take the time to talk about my favorite holidays, it puts me in such a cozy, cheerful mood. And we can all use cozy and cheerful during the winter!
If all else fails, plan to have your holiday the next chance you can.
My mother has promised to keep the Christmas tree up until we get home. We’re having all of our presents sent to their house, and I fully plan on celebrating Christmas in January. We’re going to gather around the tree and exchange presents while eating party mix and cookies and pumpkin roll. What’ll be even more fun is the feast we’re preparing, where we make all the foods Ryan and I have been craving for the last seven months. Hello heartburn and indigestion!
We might be celebrating a bit late, but we’re still celebrating together. And really, what more do you need?
So now I’d love to hear from you!
The point I’m trying to make is that we’re still going to get the chance to celebrate. It’ll be different, sure. But while we’re celebrating the holidays, we’re also celebrating our independence, our chance to see the world. And I know we’re not alone. There are plenty of people in the world out there who can’t get back to their families, for many reasons. Not all of them are because they’re gallivanting around Europe, which puts my struggle into serious perspective.
Please tell me all about your traditions, friend! I would love to hear how you celebrate the holidays, whatever and whenever they may be. What were your traditions growing up? What do you love to do now? What’s your favorite holiday? Have you ever been away from your family? How did you deal with it?
Wherever you may be, whatever you celebrate, I hope you’re all preparing to gather your loved ones close (in reality or virtually) and spread joy.
Enjoyed this post? Pin it!