Can’t Travel Home for the Holidays? Here’s How You Can Soften the Blow

With holiday marketing, holiday movies and holiday music bombarding you at every turn, you might start to think that Christmas is all about going home and spending time with family. And for many, it is!

But what if, for whatever reason, you can’t or choose not to? Here’s how to break the news to your folks gently and make the best of the season anyways. It’s possible  promise!

First things first, let go of the guilt.

If you have loved ones who are used to having you around and you feel guilty about leaving them over the holidays, remember this: the holidays are potentially the least lonely time of year.

People are more likely to be generous with their time and offer companionship, there’s always something to do and your visit will likely be even more appreciated during a time of year that’s less busy. Seriously!

Second, plan the conversation.

If going home for the holidays has always been a no-brainer until now, you might want to process your words a little bit ahead of time. First, consider how your family members might feel. Will they be let down? Will they celebrate your choice? Might they land somewhere in the middle?

Next, choose what you’ll say to help smooth any hurt feelings and explain your point of view. Maybe you just need a year to yourself. Maybe you can’t afford the trip. Whatever the reason, know that it’s valid. Let them know that you care and they’ll come to understand.

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Third, tell them sooner rather than later.

Even though you might be dreading telling your family that you won’t be coming home for the holidays, delaying the inevitable will only make things worse.

Rather than springing your absence on them the week before, let them down gently early on. They’ll appreciate the heads-up and it’ll keep anyone from making plans based on your arrival.

Fourth, make your time at home worthwhile.

This is your time off. Use it in whatever way will make you most happy! If that’s curling up with takeout and a movie, go for it. If that’s getting out for a solo hike while the trails are people-free, do that!

If staying home will be a recurring thing, now might be a nice time to start creating your own traditions. Think about it: that thing that feels like a “since the beginning of time” tradition to you…yeah, that was a spontaneous idea the year it originated. Don’t wait for cool traditions to show up on their own. Make them. The sky’s the limit!

Fifth, celebrate with those who are nearby.

You may not be around your grandparents, siblings, cousins, but you most certainly have fantastic people around you. Look around! Do you have an aunt close by who could use some company too? What about friends who are staying local? Connect.

Don’t have family or friends sticking around? Consider volunteering your time with an organization you believe in…maybe a soup kitchen or non-profit who supports your area’s most vulnerable. You’ll be glad you did.



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Past Member 2 days ago

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Ingrid A
Isabel A1 months ago

Thank you for posting

Martin H
Martin H2 months ago

Dear Folks,
Sorry I can't make it home for NASCAR Day. Vroom your car engines in my table place.

Melisa B
Past Member 2 months ago

Thank you

Daniel N
Daniel N2 months ago


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Mia P2 months ago


Peggy B
Peggy B2 months ago


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Peggy B2 months ago


Paulo R
Paulo R3 months ago


Hannah A
Hannah A3 months ago

thanks for posting