Last week, I shared tips and trainings on how to be together. But I know that some of you won’t get that opportunity this year, so I thought I would give those of you who can’t be where you want to be some tips on how to be apart.

If this is your first time (or first year) in a situation like this, maybe it will help you realize what your international missionary friends go through over the holidays – especially your single friends. It can be hard to be away from family, friends, familiarity, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the holiday.

1. Bring an old tradition

Even if you can’t eat your chili and cinnamon rolls with the family, you can still eat the chili and cinnamon rolls. Take pics and share with the family. It does help.

2. Make a new tradition

Have you ever seen This is Us? Their Thanksgiving tradition is crazy because of the one year that they weren’t able to make it to their extended family’s house. It was on the edge of becoming the worst, but their dad didn’t let that happen. He started new traditions that lasted well into the children’s adulthood. You don’t have to go crazy, but you can start a new tradition that is special to you. Pick a new movie to watch on this holiday. Cook a new staple food. Do a craft. Go on a long walk. The possibilities are endless. Just pick something special to you.

3. Rejoice

This is the first time you get to do whatever the heck you want. That’s a reason to celebrate. You don’t want brussels sprouts? Don’t cook brussels sprouts. (Unless the tradition you want to keep is refusing to eat the brussels sprouts.) You want to sleep in? Sleep in! You want to wake up early and start cooking? Wake up early! This is your year. Your holiday. Your time. Rejoice and be glad in it. Yes, it can be sad to be away from people, but you can have a defiant joy. Don’t let the Enemy take that away from you.

4. Call them

You can’t be physically with them on the day, but you can call them. I had a sister who lived across the ocean for 6 years. I have family all over the U.S. I recently moved to another state. We’ve had several holidays, several celebrations, several events where we weren’t together. And you know what we did and loved? We called each other. We video called and we talked. It’s never a nuisance. It’s never unwanted. It’s never annoying. Your family loves you and they miss you just as much as you miss them. So, call them.

5. invite Jesus

He’s the best party guest. He always shows up. He always brings a good time. He never disappoints.

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