How to have a great Christmas when living out of home

Angelique Carr gives the low down on how to avoid having a Grinchy Christmas when you’ve moved out of home. 

My first Christmas away from home sucked.

My family, who are big on holidays, were a state away and I couldn’t get the time off work to visit them. The only decoration in my sharehouse was a single, ironic Festivus pole. Dinner was ham sandwiches. I couldn’t have planned a sadder Christmas.

With the holidays upon us, I wanted to share a few tips so you can avoid my mistakes and have a great Christmas, even if you’re far from home.

(*While this article is centered around Christmas these ideas can be altered to fit with whichever holiday you choose to celebrate). 

Honour Old Traditions

In my family, the tree goes up on December first. Mum whips out the Bublé CD and we decorate biscuits shaped like little trees and giant snowflakes. Even something simple, done every year, can take on significant meaning. If you can’t be with family, it can be nice knowing that at least you are celebrating the holidays the same way they are.

Establish New Traditions

After my disappointing Christmas, I spent Boxing Day buying as many discount decorations as I could lay my hands on. This year I added to my collection with a little Nutcracker to hang on my tree. Buying a new decoration every year is not unheard of, but it is new to me and I like to think that I’ll pass the tradition down to my kids someday. If you’re living out of home, then you’re starting a new stage of your life. One where you’re now responsible for making all the decisions that affect you. It’s daunting, but it also means you can do things your way now.

Connect with Family

Christmas, in the end, is about family, whether it’s the one you’re born with or the one you choose. Trying to organise everyone together can be difficult at the best of times, but during the holidays it’s a nightmare (especially if, like many students, you work in retail). If you can’t physically be with family or friends, then skype them, call them, text them. I’m sure they’d even appreciate a seasonal postcard. Connecting with those you love is a reward in and of itself.

Give Back

Charity should be practised all year round, but Christmas time can be especially tough on those who don’t have even their basic needs met. If you don’t have any money to give, then maybe give some free time to those who need it most. You can volunteer time with The Smith Family,  The Samaritans, or have a look around the Hunter Volunteer Centre website. Or you might even think of donating to these Australian charities.

However you spend the holidays we hope you have a great break.

Feature Image: Annie Spratt, Unsplash.