Thursday, December 13, 2018

How to Survive the Holiday without your Family



This year I am getting my first taste of what it's like when you aren't with your family for the Holidays. It Sucks. Like Majorly. I keep thinking to myself "Please say my dad secretly won the jackpot and bought the family plane tickets to come surprise me on Christmas" - but, I know that is not the case. Maybe next year...

When I was 6, I spent Christmas in the hospital following my 4th Open Heart Surgery. We had an early Christmas that year but we were still all together. Year after Year, We were together. Last Year, Devon, My Parents, and I flew to Idaho to spend Christmas with my sister and brother-in-law. It was their first Christmas in Idaho and my nephew was 6-7 months at the time. But, we were all together for a white Christmas. 

This year is different. My Parents now live in Idaho like my sister; and I am here, without them. Thanksgiving without my family was difficult but Christmas is OUR Holiday. My Favorite Holiday. Full of tradition and new traditions now that we have my nephew, B, keeping us young and magical during this time of year. But, I won't be there to witness the magic in my nephew's eyes when he wakes up and sees all the presents under the tree. My Heart is shattered. Nobody tells you about missing holidays with family as you grow up. I wouldn't have signed up for adulthood if I knew this is what happens. But, here we are and I'm doing my best. And by my best I mean, there were a solid 3 days where I didn't leave my house because my anxiety and depression set in. I'm on the upside now. 



1. Stick to Tradition while creating your own. 
One of the difficult things for me to wrap my head around is there is no tradition for me to enjoy with my family this year. But, I wanted to keep our traditions alive while also creating ones with Devon. Setting up our tree on Thanksgiving, or the day after,  Listening to Christmas music and drinking hot cocoa (except Devon and I decided to change it to mulled wine). And of course, kicking December off with a Christmas Movie. We watched "The Santa Claus," - Devon's favorite. 

2. Make a Family Recipe. (or two, or six).
I am horrible in the kitchen, we've talked about this. But at the beginning of the year, I had set the intention to learn 5 new recipes for the holidays. I have pulled just about every soup recipe from my mom that I have to make on these chilly nights. Not only am I learning to like cooking better, but I'm making a recipe from my Mom that makes me feel at home when I taste it. If I can't have moms home cooked meals for Christmas, well, I will try to make them myself.

3. Facetime. 
Thank the Good Lord for technology. Ever since my parents moved, I have made it a mission to face time with them every. single. day. We make our morning coffees and then facetime with each other for about 30 minutes every morning. At night once my sister and brother in law are home, I facetime again. Or on the weekends because sometimes that is better. But I am able to see my nephew and talked to him as he says "Titi, Hi" - Melts my heart. But facetiming with my family often helps ease my anxiety since I am able to see their faces. 

4. Don't Stay Inside.
Go look at Christmas lights, Go to a holiday party, Go drive around or walk around the mall. Do Something. My anxiety isn't so bad when I can get out of the house for a few hours. Take your mind off things and stay busy because you can be damn sure your family isn't sitting around where they are. It's the holidays, go enjoy it!! 

5. Be Grateful.
I'm selfish around the holidays. I want my family with me. But, I am grateful they get to celebrate together. I am also grateful for things like facetime, family recipes, and traditions that I can look forward to. I am grateful for the holidays we have spent together and for the holidays we will spend together for years to come. There is always something to be grateful for - especially this time of year.

This list isn't to say that waking up on Christmas morning without your family will be easy. But hopefully, you can ease your anxiety or sadness by cooking a family recipe or facetiming as you open each other's presents (my goal). This time of year is stressful for everyone, it can bring out the worst in people or the best. It can bring out sadness but it can also bring joy - we just have to look for that joy in what we have. I'm thankful we live close to my Husbands Family and that we will be with family on Christmas and during this holiday season. I'm Thankful for our friends and my clients. I'm Thankful for my Husband, our 9th Christmas together, and our 2 dogs, who I can't wait to give all their new doggy toys to Christmas morning. And I'm Thankful for YOU, the person reading this. A beautiful soul who maybe came here because you read all my blogs, or maybe you came across this post in hopes your spirit can be lifted this holiday season. I am grateful. 

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays. Love Yourself & Love other People!


Instagram: @ash_felkner || Twitter: @ashleefelkner