Why I Don’t Spend Christmas With My Family

Why I Don't Spend Christmas With My Family

It’s Christmas Eve, and I’m celebrating it in a snow-covered little city in the middle of Norway with my boyfriend, his family, and their dogs. I often get asked why I don’t travel back to Belgium to celebrate Christmas with my own family. I thought today was a perfect time to address these questions and list my reasons for not spending Christmas with my family in Belgium.

I’m living in another country

I was born and raised in Belgium, but have been living in Norway since 2014. So visiting my family for the holidays isn’t only expensive, it’s also very stressful. And my parents have the opportunity to visit both sides of the family in one day, because they also live in the same city. But for me, visiting my family for Christmas also means I won’t get to see my boyfriend or friends during the holidays.

Christmas in Norway is more beautiful

Two nights ago, I watched the northern lights during dinner, and yesterday I woke up to a nice layer of snow. Winter in Norway is just magical, and it’s the perfect environment to celebrate Christmas in.

Snow

I want to create my own traditions

After moving away from home, I felt like it was time to create my own traditions. Christmas is not that special to me and never has been, so I don’t feel like making a big deal out of it, just because society expects me to. Instead of going through all the stress of traveling back to Belgium, I’d rather spend the holidays at my own apartment or with my boyfriend. After all, Norway feels more like home than Belgium ever did.

It’s still possible to communicate with them

Living this far away from my family doesn’t mean I don’t have contact with them. I call my granddad once a week and FaceTime him on a regular basis. I can also talk to my parents that way, or use WhatsApp to chat with them. And a couple of weeks back I visited my family over the weekend. So I have enough other opportunities than Christmas to communicate and spend time with them.

Beautiful Norway: Why I Don't Spend Christmas With My Family

I have to think of my own mental health

Belgium is filled with triggers for my anxiety, and I usually feel worthless for a couple of weeks after visiting my family there. I’ve never had a good relationship with my parents, and they are the ones that caused my anxiety in the first place (but that’s for another post). And my dad’s side of the family is religious, homophobic, sexist, and doesn’t respect any boundaries. Needless to say, it’s not a place where I want to spend my well-earned holidays.

Who will you celebrate Christmas with?

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17 Comments

  1. As someone who’s never spent a Christmas away from my parents, this is a really interesting read. I particularly like the idea of creating your own traditions, something I’d definitely look forward to in the future!

  2. I totally respect you for wanting to stay at home for Christmas. I understand completely, also Norway at Christmas does look amazingly beautiful. Hope you have a fantastic Christmas xx

  3. Merry christmas. So long as you enjoy christmas the way you do that is the main thing. It’s nice to spend it with family, but you are under no obligation to. And if you find it better to stay in Norway, i would just stay there x

  4. These all sound like perfectly good reasons to me, you’ve got to do what’s best for you! I love the idea of creating your own traditions, and Christmas in Norway does sound beautiful. Hope you had a lovely day with your boyfriend and his family <3

  5. Great read! I know lots of people who slam others for not spending Christmas with their families, but they don’t take into consideration the reasons. I think Norway looks beautiful from what I’ve seen. So long as you are happy, that’s all that matters 🙂

  6. This is a really good post and I found it really interesting. I have celebrated Christmas with my family but have also many times celebrated Christmas away from home and I think you just need to do what feels right for you. I have done a fair amount of travel and really enjoyed celebrating Christmas in another country with friends and plus with FaceTime it’s always really easy to communicate anyway

    Laura x

  7. Did you take this pictures?! They’re INSAAAANELY beautiful. I totally understand your reasons for not spending it at home, if I could have snow on Christmas and wake up to the northern lights then I would, what a beautiful country! Hopefully I can visit one day.

    I feel like as I get older Christmas is less of a novelty than it used to be but being at university means I don’t get to see my family a lot, the main reason why I love to be with them at Christmas. Maybe it will be different one year when I can see them as I please all year round! Totally agree with putting your mental health first. Nobody in their right mind would choose to be annoyed or unhappy over happiness. Lovely post x

    Sarah x | http://www.scarletstate.co.uk