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A Christmas apart: How to cope

There are many reasons you may not be able to be with all your loved ones during the holidays. Perhaps your partner is working overseas or your sibling is newly married and spending the holiday with his or her in-laws. Whatever the reason, a change in the usual traditions can be hard. But there are some ways you can make the most of it even if things will be a little different this year.

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Plan a Skype date

We are very blessed today to have the tools to connect with our loved ones even if we are miles apart. Between phone, email and Skype, there are many ways you can feel close to friends and family who are far away. So see if you can set up a phone or video session on Dec. 25 with the people you’re missing.

Create your own day

So maybe you can’t be together on Dec. 25. It isn’t the date that makes it a special occasion. If you know there’s another time in the year when you will all be together, consider making your Christmas then. You may not be able to do all the same things you would usually do, but you’ll still get to spend time together and maybe exchange gifts and enjoy your favourite holiday foods.

Buy online

Although it’s the emotional disappointment of being apart that hurts most, there can be financial implications as well that are best avoided. The most notable is trying to get presents to your loved ones who are far away. Fortunately, thanks to the internet, you have the option of ordering gifts online and having them sent directly to their destination rather than paying to ship them yourself. And many websites (such as amazon.ca) offer free shipping in the majority of cases. Some websites even offer gift wrapping. Many of the independent shop owners on Etsy are more than happy to wrap a gift and include a small note as well if you ask. That way your loved ones can still open beautifully wrapped presents; you just won’t have paid a fortune to get your gifts to them.

Stay in the moment

There will likely be plenty of traditions over the holidays that will remind you of loved ones who aren’t with you, and it’s OK to feel a little sad when, say, a particular food is served you know they love or you receive a present you want so badly to show them. The best thing you can do at such a moment is to admit your sadness to yourself and maybe share it with others if you feel that will help. But once you’ve acknowledged it, let it go, and refocus on the holiday that’s happening in the here and now. It may not be the same, but it’s still a special occasion worth giving your full attention to.

More on Christmas

Newly separated parents: Helping your kids cope at Christmas
How to keep your cool this holiday season
Holiday-themed parties on a budget

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