How to Plan a Holiday Away From Your Family

With the price of travel increasing, and the amount of money in American pockets decreasing, many families won’t be spending the holidays together this year. But there are options.

Alicia on “Non-peak Visiting”:

One of the easiest ways to get through a holiday without everyone together is to plan to get together in January or February when travel prices are cheaper and terminals are less crowded. Try to schedule the trips around President’s Day or MLK day when children have time off from school.

If you ask your bosses for the time off now, you’ll be certain to get it and may even get brownie points for working when many others in your office plan to be away. It might not seem ideal, being one of the few still working in late December. But trust me: In January, they will be the ones with the winter blues when you are on vacation visiting your loved ones.

Sarah on “Holiday Creativity”:

Here’s a grand idea that will make your family laugh and smile even when you can’t be there in person. If, for example, one-half of the family will be celebrating in Atlanta, and the other in New Orleans, have each side make a lighthearted video for the other to watch over the holidays. It can be something silly like acting out the quirky things each family member does that you will miss (like how Grandpa unwraps his gifts at snail speed) or the kids putting on a living room Christmas play.

Family members can then send the Atlanta video to New Orleans and vice versa and watch it on the holiday or post the videos on YouTube and watch them together online. You’ll have new memories and a keepsake, too.

Here are three more ways to stay close to loved ones even though all of you may be miles apart this holiday season.

#1. Technology
We are so lucky to have amazing technologies like cell phones and instant messaging services. They are solutions that connect you to the people you love in real time, so even though you’re miles apart, you can feel like you’re in the same room. If you don’t have one already, we recommend investing in a webcam. These video devices have gone down significantly in price. Today you can get a decent one for less than $20. A visual connection, even if you can’t hug the person on the other end, makes the distance between you and loved ones seem less vast.

#2. Send Along a Memory
Shrink the distance between you and a loved one this holiday by sending along a little bit of you. Whether it’s an old, favorite teddy bear for your daughter, an envelope of funny pictures of you and your best friend during your high-school years or your famous peanut-butter cookies, something that sparks a happy, shared memory can make both receiver and giver feel closer.

#3. Start New Traditions
As much as you love your family, if you have to be away from members, try to make a new tradition so you don’t spend the whole holiday season pining away. For example, go caroling with new friends in the neighborhood or volunteer at a homeless shelter to make another person’s holiday brighter.