Far From Home for the Holidays

A Christmas market in Europe. pixabay.com CC0

Written by  December 17, 2016

Three ways to beat the holiday blues.

The trees are trimmed and the gingerbread lattes have arrived. Christmas in Ireland is in full swing—the streets are decorated with wreaths and ornaments, and storefronts shine brightly with thousands of lights as Irish mothers rush about gathering Christmas gifts, as well as supplies for dinner. Frosty mornings call for evening Irish coffees and hot whiskeys among friends, as the pub music hums in the background and Bing Crosby croons "I’ll be home for Christmas."

But only in my dreams, right, Bing?

Spending the holidays alone while abroad is never an ideal situation to be in, and watching families and friends prepare for the upcoming holidays stirs within you a very lonely feeling when you aren’t going to be waking up in your childhood bedroom to the smell of whatever cinnamon-infused delight your mom is preparing in the kitchen. 

Allow yourself to feel sad. Allow yourself to feel that bit of homesickness, and then you have got to find yourself a bit of holiday happiness to make it through. It is not going to be the same, but that doesn’t mean your end goal is just to survive the holidays—it is possible to enjoy a solitary holiday celebration.

My biggest advice: do not stay home. Go somewhere. Get out of your apartment because it will only be a blatant reminder that you are alone. It doesn’t have to be anything that breaks the bank, but it’s the holidays, so treat yourself a little. Inner European travel, for one, is inexpensive and there are multiple Christmas markets hosted in countries across Europe. A lot of them are open even on Christmas Eve and Day. So pack a carry-on with a few days worth of essentials and head to one of the best markets Europe has to offer. Or, take a holiday tour with a solo traveller-friendly tour company so you can meet new people and enjoy an unforgettable holiday. 

It is possible to enjoy a solitary holiday celebration.

Volunteering is another way to spend the holiday and a great way to spread that holiday cheer. There should be plenty of opportunities available in your area that would welcome an extra pair of hands during the holiday season. Check out local message boards or maybe there is already a charity you are passionate about.

Lastly, while establishments usually close down, nature never takes a holiday. Get yourself a B&B (or an Airbnb) and cozy up in the mountains of Switzerland, or head further south and relax for a few days on the beaches of Spain.

Remember that while you will be on your own, you don’t have to be lonely during this holiday season. Happy holidays!

Add this article to your reading list
Published in Study Abroad Blogs
Ahnika White

Ahnika White is an aspiring travel writer from the midwestern United States living in Ireland, where she's pursuing her goal of earning a master's degree in English Literature at the University of Limerick.

Website: www.mywanderouslife.com

Join the Verge Community

china traveller opt sm

Join our community of savvy travellers and put nearly two decades of inspiring articles, authoritative information and expert advice to work for you.

Planning a gap year or your first international volunteer placement? Looking ahead to studying abroad? Wondering how to turn your passion for travel into an international career? This is the place to start!

Show me more > Login >



Verge believes in travel for change. International experience creates global citizens, who can change our planet for the better. This belief is at the core of everything we do.

For more than a decade, Verge has produced quality resources and events to help people experience the world in a meaningful way, through opportunities to study, work and volunteer abroad.