How to Survive Being Away During the Holidays

Maria Moratto

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If during this week you go to food stores which cater to an international clientele, you will find many people looking for food that reminds them of their growing up, their traditions, and their celebrations. I was at such a store yesterday and became tear-eyed to see how many “international” people like me, were almost frantically looking for a spark of recognition in those aisles.

There was a particular woman who started a conversation about some special food that she was looking for: “They remind me of my country, ” she said. And then she found some and was very proudly showing them to my son and me. She was ecstatic and told us that although she is an American citizen, she truly misses her beloved Scotland, especially at this time of the year.

Scotland, New Zealand, El Salvador, Switzerland, Brazil… it matters not where the person is from. Holidays are very hard times for those of us who are foreign-born and who have family ties and connections in another country. We miss our family members, we miss our customs, we miss our friends and, very important, we miss our own cuisine.

Christmas and New Year’s celebrations are sorely missed, especially because many times, we can’t go back to our countries and meet those we love the most to spend such special time. This can be a sad time.

And it is not only from our side. Our people living somewhere else also put a little pressure: “Are you coming for Christmas?” they asked filled with hope. See? They miss us too. We feel guilty, we feel, lonely, we feel abandoned, we feel sorry, we feel divided.

So what must we do to make the season something special, even though we don’t feel too good about it? Here are some suggestions:

1. Keep in touch with your loved ones, by phone, Skype (free!), email, etc. This is crucial.

2. Try to emulate your own traditions. Set up a Christmas tree or put up decorations that are meaningful to you and that remind you of your own culture.

3. Prepare something special that you used to eat. Make it from scratch if you can’t buy it. I used to bake my own Pannetones before I could find them in the stores. It is not the same, but it will do.

4. Pamper yourself. Give yourself some meaningful little presents that will make you feel good.

5. Find like-minded people to share special moments, so that you don’t feel lonely.

6. Eat and drink to your heart’s content but stop before you feel bad about it.

7. Separate some time for the sacredness of the season. Pray, chant, dance in honor of Spirit and as a jubilation for the clean slate that is given to us every 365 days.

Happy Holly Days and a Blessed New Year to you!

© Maria Moratto 2005

About the author

Dr. Maria Moratto holds 5 degrees and is a life and spiritual coach/educator. She promotes coaching, seminars and courses in developing the perfect life’s blueprint, which includes attracting abundance and loving relationships, time management, stress management, diversity, goal setting, career search and change, values clarification, leisure, self-improvement, college life, communication and learning styles, spirituality, natural health and lifestyle.

She is also writing two books: one on successful relationships and the other on attracting the perfect lifestyle; both coming soon. Visit her website at and sign up for a no-cost e-zine that is short, informative, and fun. Go to her blog at: for great discussions on these topics. Visit to participate in a great prosperity game.

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