A Very Different, Merry Christmas

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Things are looking a little different this year for the holiday season. I think I can safely say that everyone is feeling the same, some way or another. Most people will be spending the holidays alone, with members of their immediate household, or possibly one other household depending on restrictions. This year it will only be my husband and I as we moved abroad to Scotland. Before the pandemic, we might have had some company, but travel restrictions are still in place.

We are definitely no strangers to spending time alone, but somehow it feels a little bit different this year for Christmas. We cannot just hop in our vehicle and make the drive home; flying is even difficult in these times. As a kid of divorce, I am used to splitting up my time during the holidays. Going from one household to the next, planning which family got which day, and eating so much turkey, I thought I would start gobbling. It got hard when I moved away from home and only had a few days to try to fit in time with all my loved ones. It was a hectic few days, but there was nothing better than being surrounded by my family and friends.

This year abroad, there will not be any family turkey dinners, presents to unwrap, decorations, Christmas tree decorating, or three feet of snow. We might be missing out on all of these things, but we also have so much more to be grateful for. Our families are in good health; we get to celebrate new traditions, experience the holidays in a different place, and spend the holidays as a team. Instead of exchanging expensive gifts this year to help put money towards traveling, we have challenged each other to fill a stocking with a limit of 20 pounds. Something that is going to require a little more creativity. Scottish traditions for Christmas are roughly the same as Western traditions. Lots of lights are going up in the city center, and Christmas pop-ups are happening everywhere.

It has taken me a bit to get into the holiday spirit; I have started a new job, we have moved to a new apartment, and we are trying to get some issues resolved in our current rental. However, it is times like this that make someone appreciate how the holiday spirit is not just something that comes from doing the same thing every year; it comes from how you choose to spend it and making the best out of any situation. If you are still on lockdown for Christmas, I sympathize with how different it will feel for you. There are going to be feelings of emptiness and loss. Lost of all the traditions you once held dear.

I do encourage you to take this time to create new traditions, while honoring old ones. Maybe Christmas will be back to normal next year, but this year can be just as great. You could do video chats with your family and also send thoughtful handwritten notes. Create new at-home experiences of creating a Christmas basket filled with movies, pajamas, snacks, and whatever else brings you joy. Get out and partake in some socially distanced friendly festivals, and view some Christmas lights. Just do a quick internet search of events happening near you. You can still have a Christmas dinner; by cooking a turkey meal, ordering in, or even making appetizers. Be thankful for what you do have, instead of being sad for what you do not have. I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday! Let me know how you are spending Christmas this year!

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