How to get through the holidays when your family is miles away

Every holiday season, I don’t know about you, but I love to remember what life was like growing up. No responsibilities, free food, and family traditions that just happened every year like magic. Now that I’m a few years older and have a family of my own, it’s up to my husband and I to create those precious memories for our kids, but I can’t help but miss the smell of the home I grew up in, being around my family who just gets me, and tasting the food that no ones makes better than my own two parents. If you’re feeling homesick this holiday season, you are not alone! And there are so many ways to feel close to loved ones, even while they’re miles away. Take a look at some of these tips that have helped me feel closer to home during the holidays when traveling just wasn’t possible.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Dunkin’ Donuts®. The opinions and text are all mine.

How to get through the holidays when your family is miles away

Every holiday season, I don’t know about you, but I love to remember what life was like growing up. No responsibilities, free food, and family traditions that just happened every year like magic. Now that I’m a few years older and have a family of my own, it’s up to my husband and I to create those precious memories for our kids, but I can’t help but miss the smell of the home I grew up in, being around my family who just gets me, and tasting the food that no one makes better than my own two parents.

If you’re feeling homesick this holiday season, you are not alone! And there are so many ways to feel close to loved ones, even while they’re miles away. Take a look at some of these tips that have helped me feel closer to home during the holidays when traveling just wasn’t possible.  

Stick with your holiday traditions, even if you do them with others

Every holiday season, I don’t know about you, but I love to remember what life was like growing up. No responsibilities, free food, and family traditions that just happened every year like magic. Now that I’m a few years older and have a family of my own, it’s up to my husband and I to create those precious memories for our kids, but I can’t help but miss the smell of the home I grew up in, being around my family who just gets me, and tasting the food that no ones makes better than my own two parents. If you’re feeling homesick this holiday season, you are not alone! And there are so many ways to feel close to loved ones, even while they’re miles away. Take a look at some of these tips that have helped me feel closer to home during the holidays when traveling just wasn’t possible.

Stick with your holiday traditions, even if you do them with others

A couple years ago, Josh and I and several of our friends were going to have to be away from home for Thanksgiving. So instead of ordering a pizza and being sad at home, we decided to celebrate our first FRIENDSgiving! It was so much fun! Everyone in the group tried their best to replicate their favorite Thanksgiving dish, and one person was in charge of the turkey. After dinner we watched football together while eating my delicious pumpkin pie 🙂 It doesn’t replace the feeling you get of being with family for the holidays, but it was the best substitute you could ask for. I’d say the whole experience- friends, food, and football- was a win.

Here’s another tradition we love to keep alive whether with family or on our own:

My family has Swedish origins so every Christmas day, my dad makes a few hundred (yes, you read that right) Swedish pancakes. Most people think of crepe-looking pancakes when they hear Swedish Pancakes but he likes to use a traditional plett pan in order to make them in the uniform, dollar-sized shape. Here’s an awesome recipe I found if you’re interested in checking them out for yourself. The picture above was taken by my sister last Christmas. A plate like that lasts only a couple minutes when you’re feeding a family of 7 on Christmas morning. Pair those with Lingonberries and you’re in Swedish heaven for the morning.

Make it smell like home

Every holiday season, I don’t know about you, but I love to remember what life was like growing up. No responsibilities, free food, and family traditions that just happened every year like magic. Now that I’m a few years older and have a family of my own, it’s up to my husband and I to create those precious memories for our kids, but I can’t help but miss the smell of the home I grew up in, being around my family who just gets me, and tasting the food that no ones makes better than my own two parents. If you’re feeling homesick this holiday season, you are not alone! And there are so many ways to feel close to loved ones, even while they’re miles away. Take a look at some of these tips that have helped me feel closer to home during the holidays when traveling just wasn’t possible.

When I return home, the defining smells are almost always a balsam candle, the delicious smell of fresh brewed Dunkin’ Donuts coffee (my family lives in the north, Dunkin’ Donuts is the only coffee they will drink- I don’t blame them 🙂 ) and the fresh air that only a house surrounded by country can achieve. I might not be able to capture that same quality of fresh air here in our central Virginia town of over 260,000 people, but I can totally go out and get a balsam candle and make some of my favorite blends that I grew up knowing and loving! There’s nothing better than a good dark roast (or a hazelnut brew if flavored coffee is your thing) on a cold, early morning when the frost hasn’t melted off the windows yet. Pair that with some Christmas socks and you’ll be good to go. Best of all, you don’t even need to live near a Dunkin’ Donuts in order to get some in your home. Just a trip to the Walmart coffee aisle will do the trick 🙂 OR check out this Ibotta offer!

Have your family send some of your favorite Christmas decorations

Every holiday season, I don’t know about you, but I love to remember what life was like growing up. No responsibilities, free food, and family traditions that just happened every year like magic. Now that I’m a few years older and have a family of my own, it’s up to my husband and I to create those precious memories for our kids, but I can’t help but miss the smell of the home I grew up in, being around my family who just gets me, and tasting the food that no ones makes better than my own two parents. If you’re feeling homesick this holiday season, you are not alone! And there are so many ways to feel close to loved ones, even while they’re miles away. Take a look at some of these tips that have helped me feel closer to home during the holidays when traveling just wasn’t possible.

One of the things my mom did for me the first year I couldn’t come home for Christmas was send me several of the dinky ornaments I had made as a kid that my family hung on the tree every year (they still kept some of the good ones for themselves). They also sent some traditional Swedish Christmas decorations and holiday decorating essentials like lights and stockings. Being able to decorate my own place like home made my Christmas away from family feel not so weird as I was still able to see many of the same decorations I saw around our house growing up.

Every holiday season, I don’t know about you, but I love to remember what life was like growing up. No responsibilities, free food, and family traditions that just happened every year like magic. Now that I’m a few years older and have a family of my own, it’s up to my husband and I to create those precious memories for our kids, but I can’t help but miss the smell of the home I grew up in, being around my family who just gets me, and tasting the food that no ones makes better than my own two parents. If you’re feeling homesick this holiday season, you are not alone! And there are so many ways to feel close to loved ones, even while they’re miles away. Take a look at some of these tips that have helped me feel closer to home during the holidays when traveling just wasn’t possible.

Send packages and open them over Skype

One way to feel close to distanced family and friends over the holiday is to enjoy time shopping for and preparing gifts for them! Going shopping for a friend or family member can trick your mind into thinking that they are closer than they actually are. Besides the fun of getting to plan and shop for gifts for your friends, the anticipation of getting to see them open it will almost be as good as if they were sitting in your own living room with you.

Make your favorite holiday foods

Every holiday season, I don’t know about you, but I love to remember what life was like growing up. No responsibilities, free food, and family traditions that just happened every year like magic. Now that I’m a few years older and have a family of my own, it’s up to my husband and I to create those precious memories for our kids, but I can’t help but miss the smell of the home I grew up in, being around my family who just gets me, and tasting the food that no ones makes better than my own two parents. If you’re feeling homesick this holiday season, you are not alone! And there are so many ways to feel close to loved ones, even while they’re miles away. Take a look at some of these tips that have helped me feel closer to home during the holidays when traveling just wasn’t possible.

So you can’t have your mom’s famous pumpkin pie this holiday season? Well, that actually doesn’t have to be the case. Why not call her up, get her recipe and tips, and take a swing at it yourself?! You’ll give yourself the chance to finally prove that your mom really does have the best recipe! Or, if baking cookies together was your thing, have your mom or grandma send some of your favorite cookie cutters your way so your cookies can look just like you remember them to when you were a kid. There’s nothing better than eating an embarrassingly large amount of sugar cookies while watching your favorite Christmas movies all snuggled on the couch.

There you have it, my friends. If none of these things sound good to you, then sitting in a box by yourself this holiday season is good too, I guess. Seriously though, the holidays will be what you make them, so make the most of them!! Include your family any way you can, remember them anyway you can, be warm, and drink coffee!

script sig

Every holiday season, I don’t know about you, but I love to remember what life was like growing up. No responsibilities, free food, and family traditions that just happened every year like magic. Now that I’m a few years older and have a family of my own, it’s up to my husband and I to create those precious memories for our kids, but I can’t help but miss the smell of the home I grew up in, being around my family who just gets me, and tasting the food that no ones makes better than my own two parents. If you’re feeling homesick this holiday season, you are not alone! And there are so many ways to feel close to loved ones, even while they’re miles away. Take a look at some of these tips that have helped me feel closer to home during the holidays when traveling just wasn’t possible.

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32 thoughts on “How to get through the holidays when your family is miles away

  1. Laura

    Such great tips about how to get through the holidays when your family is miles away! I’m a Marine wife, so my family is 1/2 across the country and this is all so true! You have to keep your traditions alive!

    Reply
  2. Kristin

    LOVED this!!!! Such fun ideas :-). I’m from NJ too (transplanted in SW VA!), and won’t be with my side of the family this year, which I’ll miss. Starting to think about how I can incorporate some of your ideas into our own holiday here. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  3. Angela Tolsma

    this is our second Christmas away from family. Skype is so important for us. It makes the day still feel special. We do friendsgiving too and have anyone over for Christmas Board Games that also can’t see family.

    Reply
  4. karen

    You’re totally right about keeping those traditions going even if its not the exact same place or people involved. I want to make sure that the house smells like the holidays and the vibe continues no matter what!

    Reply
  5. Reesa

    I can’t imagine not being with my family for the holidays. My husband was deployed for 1 Christmas and it was the worst!

    Reply
  6. Debra

    It can be hard to live away from family, we have learned over the years to make new kinds of memories like Christmas stories over face time!

    Reply
  7. Ana

    I have always wanted to try Dunkin Donuts! I usually spend my festive season with friends and do traditions to keep me through the holidays like you.

    Reply
  8. Jeanine

    This is great. I ALWAYS find the holidays hard since most of my family is no longer with us so these types of posts always call to me. I will for sure be making my favourite holiday foods!

    Reply
  9. Ilka

    Sticking with your family’s favorite holiday traditions is probably the best way to get through the holiday season when you’re far away from your loved ones.

    Reply
  10. Taylor Mobley

    I haven’t been home for the holidays in three years and it is finally my first year back! SO excited!!! I loved doing our traditions even when I was away. Its a great way to keep the spirit of christmas.

    Reply
  11. Stephanie

    Love this! I live on a different continent than my parents, so I definitely try to close the distance any way I can. Opening presents together over FaceTime is one of the best ways!

    Reply
  12. Roxanne

    It was always rough spending time away from family during the holidays. Now that I have kids its just hard to travel for Christmas and make it fun for the kids.

    Reply
  13. Adaleta

    This is a great post, as a lot of people don’t have the opportunity to actually spend it with their families. Many of us don’t realize how lucky we are, and this post definitely gives some perspective when it comes to that! xx Adaleta Avdic

    Reply
  14. Krista Dial

    Love these suggestions! I’ve been fortunate to be fairly close to my family throughout the year during the holidays, but I think your tips would do the trick if I had to be many miles away! I’m sharing this with a few friends whom I think would benefit! 🙂

    Reply
  15. Angela

    Thank you so much for these tips! I don’t live near a lot of my family members so it’s nice to know others can relate and that you have suggestions for how to get thru it!

    Reply
  16. Taylor Mobley

    Thanks os much for these tips! I haven’t been home for the holidays since high school. It will be our first year back with my parents for the holiday. Thanks for such a great post, I totally resonate with it!

    Reply
  17. Christina Aliperti

    Being away from loved ones during the holidays can be really hard. It’s important to do things that remind you of your time with them.

    Reply

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