Not Coming Home for Thanksgiving: Keep it Special

By this time, we all recognize that 2020 has been a year of changed plans, so it’s no surprise that we have to approach the holidays a little differently this year. Holiday gatherings and traditions may need to be adjusted, or even canceled.

It’s hard for your family not to have you around for the key holidays, especially in a year when it feels like a lot of things have changed. They feel like they might miss out on hearing the exciting updates of what’s going on in your life and making memories with you around the holiday meal.

There are many reasons why you might choose not to go home for the holidays. You may want to protect older family members from possible exposure to COVID-19, and you may not want to risk exposing yourself while traveling or gathering in groups.

Also, colleges want to limit the exposure of students to the virus. To help with this some colleges may recommend that students stay on campus for thanksgiving or limit travel.

Whatever your reasons, your family will probably understand and respect your decision not to travel this year, though they will still miss spending time with you.

It’s never easy having to tell loved ones that you can’t make it for the holidays, but here are a few tips to make it a little easier.

Be Clear

If your pretty certain that you won’t be able to make it home for Thanksgiving, don’t give your family false hope. Rather than saying you will try to make it, or that you “might” be able to come home, just explain the circumstances clearly. Even if they’re disappointed, your family will appreciate your honesty in letting them know up front.

One way that you could still make Thanksgiving a special time is to invite your family to a virtual thanksgiving dinner with you. You could even prepare a small thanksgiving meal just for you, and dine together with your family. They will appreciate the opportunity to see and talk to you, and that you thought enough of them to send a special invitation.

Don’t forget your needs

Even if you have plans for thanksgiving doing something that you’ll enjoy, it can still be difficult to be away from family. Also, if your family is not so understanding, there may be some tension surrounding your decision not to come home.

You may even choose not to spend the holiday with your family simply because you would rather be with others, and that’s OK too.

Rather than burying your feelings in other activities, take some time to acknowledge how you feel, and recognize that you’ve made the best decision for you. That’s the most important thing.

Also, if you feel that it would be appropriate, you could send a heartfelt customized note using an online card maker to tell each one of your family how much you miss them and that you wish you could be home, but can’t because of other factors.

Create a Unique Thanksgiving Experience

Depending on your family situation, you may be able to participate in all of the festivities through an online gathering or just a phone call to talk with everyone, but don’t let the day just pass without reaching out. Planning ahead will let everyone know what to expect, so try to fit one or more of these ideas into your Thanksgiving plans.

Virtual gathering: You can always use your smartphone to be present by video. If there is a tradition you don’t want to miss or your family doesn’t want you to miss, you can still be a part of it using Zoom of FaceTime.

Phone call: For older relatives, the holidays can sometimes be a difficult and lonely time if they don’t have family to gather with. Sometimes, a simple phone call to let them know that you are thinking of them can be just the thing they need to make their holiday special.

A note: A note can be sent anytime, and it’s something that can be kept as a memory. Using an online design platform, you can choose a beautiful card design and fill it with a heartfelt note and send it off. It’s perfect because it gets there instantly! No need for postage or long delivery times.

Whatever this holiday season brings, you have options that can make the season memorable for you and your loved ones. Even if you can’t be present physically, taking the time to include family in your day will make everyone feel special.

It doesn’t take much to create a special Thanksgiving. With a small group of friends or a significant other, some good things to eat and drink, and some time set aside to care for yourself and your family, this Thanksgiving could be one of the best holidays ever!

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