Homesick during the Holidays

christmas hot chocolate

Being homesick during the holidays is a common occurrence for many of us. It was something I’ve dreaded for many years.

I remember for the longest time telling myself that I just had to get through the holidays and then the days would get longer and warmer.

The fact that it took another twelve weeks before it got to a temperature that I would even consider warm,

was always a huge disappointment and often lead to what they call here ‘winter depression’. (which was never an issue for me when growing up in Australia)

I remember

as a little girl watching my mother struggle with homesickness during the holiday period. I remember her crying and yelling that this was not the holidays and how much she missed her family back in Europe (she was born here in the Netherlands).

To be honest it ruined the holidays for me back then. That was not to say that it was always that way. It was worse when technology was not up to the standards that it is today. She could not just call home without a huge phone bill to follow.

Looking back,

I now understand how she was feeling. That deep sadness finds its way to the surface. That complete sense of separation and isolation, the fact that even though you do your best, it will never feel like it did when you were living back home.

Okay, that went to a raw and vulnerable place for me very quickly.

Homesick during the holidays

To be honest this is the time of year where I would love to burry my head under the covers and not emerge until spring.

But, I am a parent and I have traditions that I would love to pass on to my children.


The one thing that I do is to promise myself that I would not behave as my mother did in those early days. Nobody was happy and it didn’t help my mother deal with her emotions when we kids were also sad.


I throw myself into the holiday spirit, to keep me distracted. We have a new tradition of a super deluxe hot chocolate bar, Quality streets chocolates hang in the tree, I even went so far as to get an elf on the shelf.


I always am kinder to myself at this time of year. I need to be, in order to not go into a depression. When I was harder on myself and told myself to just get over it, I would almost certainly end up in a bad head space.

elf on the shelf

I now allow myself to feel sad and if I need a good cry, I will go and hide from everyone, have my cry and then join my family again.

I also remind myself that it is okay to be homesick during the holidays.

Oh, and I walk the crap out of my dog, because getting out of the situation helps…a lot.

Lastly, I practice being mindful. Meaning being in the here and now. Watching the joy on my kids faces. Enjoying the fairy lights, candles, and the holiday smells.

Christmas candles

Yes I miss my family, especially now when my daughter is in Australia. I miss the fact that we celebrate the holidays in the summer, with all its glorious summer food and that voice in my head telling me that all I want to do is go home doesn’t make it any easier.

The fact is, that the holidays, or any day of significance, will always be presented with its challenges, just know that you are strong enough to deal with any and all emotions that may present themselves and try to remember that it is a phase and it will pass, life will once again take over and you will be okay.

Here are two YouTube videos explaining the difference between the two cultures: Enjoy

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One thought on “Homesick during the Holidays

  1. Francis N says:

    Hi Rachelle.
    I finely had time to read to your Expat life coaching. I loved the two videos. about Christmas. So true about the Aussie one. Hit, smoke, fire’s, warm weather, carols, Barbie and food, etc. Made me homesick for Australia. Everything what you describe in this coaching traject is spot on, and so true. Your Mum and I went true the same feelings and the same things.
    If we had face time, watts app, e.mails things would have been a lot easier.

    I have immigrated wand remigrated back to Holland. And you know it’s always 50 / 50.
    But staying positive is important. And if I feel my dips coming I just start doing something. Readings writhing, singing, gardening or go for a walk, or start cooking. And within a few moments I seam to be fine again,
    Wish I would have know then,

    I have subscribed to your block anyway.
    You will be a great help to many who are going true the same experience as your Mum, Me and yourself have gone true.
    That’s the best guidance and coaching there is.
    Take care.

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