13bA popular Christmas song attests “there’s no place like home for the holidays.” For many people, a truer statement couldn’t be uttered. But sometimes life gets in the way of an old-fashioned holiday spent at home.
There are a number of reasons why individuals may not be able to spend the holidays at home. Active military service people may not be able to leave their posts to travel home. Some students studying abroad or even far away domestically may find that getting back to their homes can be time- and cost-prohibitive. Some people may not be home for the holidays because work obligations keep them out of town, or because they have planned vacations to serve as nontraditional holiday celebrations.

Being away from some familiar sights and sounds of the holidays doesn’t mean celebrations should be any less special. Here are tips for celebrating away from home.

Find people in similar situations. Chances are you will not be the only person away from home, particularly if you are a student or someone on a business venture. Connect with others who are away from their families and do something together for the holidays.

Partake of local traditional activities. You may be used to baking sugar cookies for the holidays, but in a foreign country, the locals may make another type of dessert. Figure out how the locals celebrate the holidays and then take part in any way you can.

Volunteer your time. If you will be away or alone for the holidays, volunteer your time to help the less fortunate. Deliver meals to those who are not able to leave home, like seniors, or volunteer at a soup kitchen. Visit a children’s hospital and deliver small gifts.

Engage in virtual fun. Connect with people at home through the power of digital technology. Video conferencing services connect people who can’t be together in person. Utilize these apps and services to remote into a holiday dinner or when loved ones open gifts.

Cook up your favorites. Evoke traditional holiday celebrations by cooking the foods you would normally enjoy at home. Those tastes and smells can transport you back to grandma's kitchen or dad's living room.

Stay off of social media. Being away from home during the holidays can be challenging, and that challenge can be even greater if you see photo after photo on social media of people you know spending time with their friends and loved ones. Tune out of your social feeds for a few days.

Invite others to you. Maybe you don’t have the means of getting home, but you can bring those at home to you. Find out if anyone can plan a road trip, train ride or flight to where you are and then enjoy the holidays together.

Being away from home during the holidays may not be ideal. However, there are plenty of ways to maintain your holiday spirit when celebrating in unfamiliar surroundings.

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