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Celebrating the holidays away from home as a travel nurse

The holiday season tends to be very family-oriented. From shopping for loved ones to spending Christmas Eve together, it's understandable for people in travel nursing jobs to feel a bit lonely when they have to spend the holidays in another state than the rest of their family. However, it's still possible to have a happy holiday when you can't be with the people you love. Here are some tips for spending your first holiday away from home:

Have a visitor
Spending the holidays away from home and spending it alone are two different things. If you've made a friend on your travel nursing assignment that will also be in town for the holiday, invite him or her over to have Christmas dinner and watch movies. You can even make arrangements for a friend who doesn't mind spending the holiday away from home to come visit and check out your new place, too. Not only is this a way for you to ensure you have someone to visit with when you're away from home, but it's something new to do this year! 

Spend time with locals
Chances are, there will be holiday-related activities happening in any city that you could be in for your travel nursing assignments. While there may not be holiday markets or ice sculpture festivals happening on Christmas Day, visiting these sorts of local attractions beforehand is a great way to get into the holiday spirit and learn more about the place you'll be living in for a while. If you live in a city that with diverse ethnic groups, embrace the opportunity to get to learn more about another culture and witness how they celebrate the holiday.

Embrace technology
If it hurts your heart that you won't be able to watch your nieces and nephews open presents on Christmas morning, consider using FaceTime or Skype to watch and hang out with your loved ones in another state. They'll be excited to have the opportunity to talk to you, and you'll get the chance to watch their faces light up as they open everything on their wish lists!

Don't forget traditions
Everyone's family has their own sets of holiday traditions, like decorating Christmas cookies or trimming the tree. In many cases, memories of doing those things with your family will be one of the biggest triggers of homesickness during the season. However, that doesn't mean you have to go the holiday without those rituals. Whether you Skype with your family while you decorate your own Christmas tree or cookies or just spend the evening enjoying your own company and partaking in these traditions, make sure you don't nix your favorite parts of the season just because you aren't home.

While there are certainly times in which you may feel lonely while you're travel nursing during the holidays, you'll surely find that there are plenty of benefits to working the holidays. What better way to spend the holidays than to help others?

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