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How to Survive Winter Holidays Away From Home

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Have you been waiting for winter holidays all this time? That’s understandable - afterall, we are talking about the most exciting time of the year! But what to do when you can’t spend this time of the year with your loved ones?
person walking over the snow

Have you been waiting for the winter holidays all this time? That’s understandable - afterall, we are talking about the most wonderful time of the year! Delicious food, presents, festive songs, lights, decorations and, of course, quality time with your family. But what can you do when you can’t spend this time of the year with your loved ones? Well, you could…

1. Duplicate yourself!

woman wearing a christmas mask
Duplicate yourself!

Choose, with your family, the exact hour when to start your holiday celebration. Prepare your festive dinner (frozen pizza is recommended – cheap and cheerful!). Place your electronic device on the table and turn on Skype, WhatsApp or any other application with enabled video chat. Tell your family to do exactly the same (apart from frozen pizza) and enjoy your dinner with relatives. It’s almost futuristic!

2. Find another family

woman adjusting festing table
Find another family

Not able to spend the winter holidays with your family? No problem, find another one! Look, you just need to take a long walk along the street. Look at the windows, smell the food. What do you smell? Is it a pudding or maybe a delicious soup? Hunt for the best. Now, if you find the best smell, knock on one the doors. Be the unexpected guest*. It’s Christmas, right? Be adventurous!


*It’s a polish tradition to leave an empty place during Christmas Eve for an unexpected guest :)

3. Pretend that holidays don’t exist

woman sipping coffee
Pretend that holidays don’t exist

Why bother? You will save money, and maybe see a few episodes of your favourite TV series. Bah, humbug!

Please, take the examples above with a grain of salt; I hope that they cheered you up a little bit.

Of course, the winter holidays away from home can be depressing, but they don’t have to be. Every country has different traditions - try to find out how the holidays are celebrated wherever you are. There must be other exchange students who stayed for holidays as well. Try to make this time unforgettable, together. Explore the city - it must be mesmerising with all of the lights and decorations. Or you could try to find the best local gifts for your family and send it. Prepare traditional dishes and decorate your tree. Sing some karaoke and… hey, remember, friends are family that we choose ourselves!

Have some of your acquaintances invited you over for the holidays? That could be a wonderful experience! You would be able to join a traditional dinner and maybe even exchange some of your traditions (and that’s one of the greatest parts of staying abroad). Later, you could describe everything to your family. I’m sure that they would be eager to hear all about it.

You could also get involved in charity activities. Every year, in many countries, volunteers are needed to help with various tasks, for example, spending time on Christmas Eve with homeless people. Trust me, you will feel the festive spirit and, if you stay open-minded, you can get to know new people along the way.

someone holding a light bulb
credit: Riccardo Annandale

Another idea is to take a trip to a place that you have never visited before. Experience something new, relax and explore. You can also try to recharge your batteries by finding an isolated location - let’s say mountains. Put that phone down! It’s time for you to find your balance. Feel the nature around you. I’m sure that you will come back a lot more relaxed.

person skiing next to forest
credit: Tomas Kodydek

Now come up with your own ideas and create new, wonderful holiday memories! One more thing; there’s no need to feel depressed. There’s no one definition for the holidays either way.