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Coping without family this holiday season

Celebrating without your nearest and dearest doesn’t mean you can’t still feel the holiday cheer.


Text: Lyndsay Jensen

The first year of this new decade has been full of anxiety, stress, frustration, confusion, fear, and disappointments. For many people, it’s meant losing a job—or a loved one. For others, it’s forced them to make difficult decisions about significant life events, like cancelling their wedding or for some internationals not being able to fly home. But, regardless of how the pandemic has shaped and changed your life. It’s safe to say that everyone has had a lack of celebrations this year – so why should Christmas be any different?

As we inch closer to a much-anticipated holiday season, many people may feel emotional. After all, what will the holidays be like if we can’t see our family face-to-face? Or if we can’t meet our friends for our annual holiday get together? With the latest discovery of the Omikron variant and flights cancelled, this was NOT what we were counting on in our Christmas stocking.

So, what would be the best advice for feeling connected and remaining positive during this holiday season?

Time for a cook-off

Traditions are a big part of what makes the holiday season memorable, so why not organise (if you have a partner in Denmark) a virtual cook-along with your family at home? You may look forward to hanging handmade ornaments on your tree, hearing the same stories from your grandmother, or having seconds of your aunt’s one-of-a-kind recipes. Every family has their own unique way of approaching these moments, but consider a modern approach this year. I know, we’re all pretty sick of Zoom calls, but how incredible is it that we have this technology? Don’t give up on it – find a way to connect digitally.

Presents don’t always come gift-wrapped

If you’ve been smart (which I haven’t) and have mailed cards and presents already, that’s great! Small meaningful gifts and handwritten cards will go a long way in helping you and your family feel loved and valued. But, if budget is an issue, or you haven’t mailed your gifts – creativity is your BFF! So, schedule a virtual call to sing songs, discuss funny stories from the past, and stay in touch. Sometimes, a small gesture goes further than an expensive gift, creating new positive holiday memories to treasure forever.

"May this Christmas burn away all your sadness and bury the tears so that your life is perpetually filled with happiness and joy. wishing you and your loved ones a merry Christmas and a new year filled with fun and frolic!"

In remembrance

The holidays may be extremely tough for some people because they lost someone special to them recently. Consider creating a memory box that contains reminders of the person who has died. You can include photos, quotes you associate with them, any mementoes you may have. If you can’t do this project in person, pick up the phone to share stories, talk about how much you miss them, and acknowledge your grief.

Skål and cheers

If you have family who isn’t so keen on technology, a Zoom dinner might be too complicated for them. Consider instead having an off-screen toast with wine, coffee, tea, or hot chocolate if you can figure out zoom – great! If not, encourage everyone to send a selfie with a beverage of choice in a group chat. The photos will make you grin and hopefully get you through the day.

Take care of your health from the inside out

Every part of our bodies is connected, and if we spend the next month loading up on mince pies, a never-ending supply of Danish Christmas cookies, our mental state will be cloudy at best. So try and be a little kinder with your body, and make a conscious effort to get enough sleep, exercise, laugh and get emotional support from your loved ones.

Be present with the ones you’re with

If you have a Danish partner, remember it’s tough for them to see you going through the turmoil of being away from your other family. Some of you might be lucky to have your Danish family with you at Christmas, who are delighted to be able to share their Jul traditions with you. Try to be as present as possible with your Danish family – how great will it be when you see your family again to share your experiences of a traditional Danish Jul.

God Jul!

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