Why You Don't Need To Go Home For The Holidays

home for the holidays

I decided four years ago that I would never fly home for Thanksgiving again. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and holidays with them are extremely special but after moving 3000 miles away, I was forced to re-prioritize.

A couple days home for Thanksgiving or Christmas (in my case) meant 13+ hours of travel and at least $700 in plane tickets. My job didn’t give me the fancy two weeks off in December that everyone else in the industry relied on. Thanksgiving offered one measly day. It was a difficult choice but it had to be made: I’d spend holidays with friends.

At first it was daunting and I feared feeling lonely (and hungry) but my first Friendsgiving put all of those anxieties to rest. I quickly realized that spending the holidays away from home could genuinely be fun. Here’s why you don’t need to go home for the holidays this year.

By Christianna Wiggins

1. You aren’t alone

Nine times out of ten, you aren’t the only person who can’t make it home for the holidays. Even for larger holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years, there are several people who can’t go home due to money, work, illness, or something else. Find those people and plan to spend the holidays together to avoid loneliness.

2. Friends ARE Family

If you’re spending the holidays with close friends, consider yourself lucky. Great friends are the family that you choose. They are by your side for the highs and lows in life. Caring for you through sickness and heartache, and celebrating with you in successes and new adventures. The holiday season is all about being surrounded by love and good friends provide that in abundance.

3. Friends can actually cook

Hard to believe it but a lot of your friends can cook. Especially, when they’re phoning in help from tried and true family chefs for a holiday. People tend to put more effort into making food for the holidays than they would for a typical evening. It may not be your dad’s famous turkey, but a friend may use their parents recipe that you end up loving. If not, Chinese takeout is a popular option.

4. No Travel Time

The best part about a local holiday? You don’t have to deal with overcrowded airports, transportation delays, or cranky travelers. Why spend hours packed like sardines at the airport or a bus station, when you could be on the couch wrapped in a blanket with some hot cocoa?

5. No Family Drama

Family gatherings often come with family drama. Relatives who don’t get along are forced to be in the same room. There’s always one aunt who is far too loud and interrogating everyone or an uncle with radical political beliefs. And let’s not forget the cousin who brings a new significant other to every holiday. While the drama can be entertaining, it can also be very draining. Skip it all by staying away from home for the holidays.

6. On-Brand Activities

An underrated part of spending the holidays away from home is getting to do whatever you want. If there are family traditions you don’t care for, skip them. If you’re with friends and everyone loves Catan, play it! Whether you’re alone or with friends, there are no rules to follow for the holidays. During Friendsgiving, my friends and I ended the evening watching 10 Things I Hate About You because we all love that movie.

7. Saving Money

Family is priceless. However, skipping a holiday saves a lot of money. Flights around Thanksgiving are the most expensive of the entire year, as nearly every American family is celebrating the national holiday. Quality time with family is valuable beyond words but if money is tight, don’t feel badly for saving it during the holidays and visiting family a few weeks later.