What to Do When You Are Missing Family at Christmas?

Written by: Ankita Kathad – MA
(Clinical Psychology)

Last updated date : May 26, 2022

Christmas is synonymous with warmth, love and family time. Most of us look forward to Christmas breaks to spend time with our family. When we move out for college or work, we miss our family. This pandemic has made it even hard for people to spend time with their families during Christmas. The restrictions have limited our family time. This article explores what to do when you are missing family at Christmas and how to spend time when your family is far away on Christmas.

Chapter 1:
What Happens When Family Is Far Away?

When you are away from family and missing them, you are feeling homesick. It happens when we miss the comfort of home and the people we love. It is a common reaction when we leave home. We feel distressed at times when we miss our family members. Most people feel homesick when they go away from home, all experience it in varying intensities. Some are prone to feeling more homesick compared to others. This feeling increases during festivals and holidays. Holidays are mostly associated with family time. When we are away from family during holidays, we miss them a lot.

Homesickness is not a cause of concern usually. It is only a problem when we are not able to adapt to the new environment at all. When we can’t focus on anything else, it is a problem. It can speak about an underlying condition such as depression.

Missing family at Christmas is very normal. We miss everything that is connected to Christmas. The food, the drinks and the gifts. We miss the smiles on our family’s faces. We miss the fireplace and the family time.

When we walk on the lanes and see a house decorated for Christmas, we think of our own family. We miss the Christmas tree, the anticipation of opening presents and most of all we miss our loved ones.

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Chapter 2:
Missing Family at Christmas

We become upset when things we want are not with us. We get sad thinking about our loved ones at home. When we see other families celebrating, we can become jealous. Our heart longs for warmth, love and care. We miss those home-baked cookies and the decorations.

Feeling homesick at Christmas can lead to a lack of motivation at work. We will avoid all talks of holidays at work and get sad when others talk about their family. We may become irritable at work. Thinking of loneliness can make us feel sick.

We may feel isolated from others around us. We may not be able to connect with them at deeper levels. All conversations may appear empty. Homesickness also shows up as a physical symptom. This includes headaches, stomach aches, fever or low energy. We will often find ourselves looking at photo albums for hours together.

Having said this, every person experiences homesickness differently. Some of us will move on quickly or find ways of enjoying Christmas without the family. Some of us will end up missing family so badly at Christmas that it can make us anxious. Especially when there is little control over the move. For instance, when you are a teenager and have to move out for college. This time you don’t have enough money to travel. You don’t have any choice but to spend the holidays alone.

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Chapter 3:
What to Do When You Are Missing Family at Christmas?

When the family is far away at Christmas, there is very little that you can do. You do not have control over things. You know it is going to be a holiday without your family. Family is the most beautiful Christmas gift and you want only that gift when you are away. However, it’s Christmas! It’s called merry time for a reason. “this the season to be jolly!” Right? Here are some tips to manage Homesickness when you are missing family at Christmas.

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Chapter 4:
Practice Gratitude

Christmas is a season of joy and gratitude. Spend some time thinking about all that you are grateful for. It can be the health of your family, or the food on your plate. Be grateful for the little things in your life. Rather than getting sad about your family being away, cherish the good times.

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Chapter 5:
Your Feelings Are Genuine-Acknowledge Them!

Missing your family at Christmas? Well, we all do when we are away from home. Know that your feelings are normal and genuine. When we are homesick, we experience a range of emotions such as pain, hurt and despair. When we deny these feelings, we suffer more. It is therefore important to acknowledge these feelings to accept them. Tell yourself that it is completely normal to miss your family. It only proves that you love them.

Try to take some time out of the day and listen to what your feelings are trying to tell you. If you feel like venting, acknowledge it. If you are missing your family, accept it.

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Chapter 6:
Find Ways to Vent Out Feelings in a Positive Manner

Now that you have accepted your feelings, you can find ways of letting them out. Talk to your friends. Some people find peace in creative pursuits. They write, paint or sing when they miss their families. You may want to go out and meet up with new people. You can engage in team sports or individual sports like running. When you met new people, you will realise that you can create new bonds here.

Hold on to the events that make you feel good. For instance, if walking in a park makes you feel good, go there when you are homesick. It is normal to feel demotivated when you are homesick, try to spend some time daily, doing things that make you feel positive.

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Chapter 7:
Keep up the Christmas Spirit High!

Explore your neighbourhood and find out if there are any holiday events in the city. You can go to a popular restaurant or even a public park. You can see if any Christmas themed events are happening. Missing family at Christmas can be overcome by spending time with new friends and getting to know them. Don’t avoid that office Christmas party! Get to know the city better. Bring a small Christmas tree and decorate it Try to look for your favourite comfort food. If all this seems too costly, then you can pull up that favourite Christmas movie and watch it with some friends at home. Don’t let the Christmas spirit die.

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Chapter 8:
Keep Old Memories Alive but Don’t Fear Creating New Ones!

While you can look at those photo albums for as long as you desire but don’t get fixated on them. Form new bonds. Go out and explore new places in the city. Talk to new people. When you miss your family, call them to ask about them but don’t keep overthinking. Life is about moving on and real progress is when we can effectively get over the past and hope for a healthy future.

Stay connected with your friends and family. Keep them updated about the progress in your life. Send them pictures of the Christmas away from family. You can ask for their pictures. Find means of staying connected.

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Chapter 9:
What to Avoid during Christmas Away from Family

When you are away from home, it is natural to feel lonely. However, loneliness can make us do harmful things to ourselves. Do avoid these coping methods when you are missing family at Christmas:
  1. Consuming too much alcohol or doing drugs to escape loneliness.
  2. Avoid family calls or office meetups.
  3. Engaging in excessive shopping or eating to cope with feelings of loneliness.
  4. Neglecting self-care.
  5. Disconnecting from friends or colleagues.
  6. Giving up on physical health.
While it is not easy to spend time alone without family during Christmas, it is a part of life. When we grow up, moving away becomes necessary at times. This COVID has separated many families. Coping most healthily is the need of the hour. At Epsychonline, the articles help you deal with various feelings such as homesickness. Do check them out.