5 Tips for Celebrating Holidays without Family

Easter Tablescape

At this time of year we usually would be making final plans and taking head counts for our Easter and Passover celebrations. We’d be making our grocery lists, testing new recipes, and eating the last of the Easter candy we smartly bought ahead of time. This year things will likely be much different. Instead of big communal celebrations with our friends and relatives, we will be spending the holidays at home with just our immediate family, or in some cases, alone. Here are a few ideas on getting through the spring holidays.

Be Grateful for Who Is There

Instead of focusing on missing out on spending time with your parents or siblings or favorite aunt, be grateful for the people who are there. Whether it’s a spouse, or kids, or pets, or roommates. Daniel and I spent several holidays with just the two of us when we lived in Seattle. Thanksgiving was the hardest but it didn’t make sense to fly back since we would be going home for Christmas. I missed my mom and the familiar traditions at home. But now some of my best Thanksgiving memories are from that small, one bedroom apartment. We watched movies and baked all day, and played Dr. Mario at night, a tradition that survives to this day.

Use Technology

In most circumstances, I hate FaceTime. When I get an incoming FaceTime call, it feels like an assault on everything I hold dear. I just can’t have a conversation while I stare at my big dumb face in the corner of the screen. But these are the times where even I find it useful. My mom will be able to see James in his Easter outfit. His grandfather will get to see him try matzo for the first time. We live in a wonderful time where we can still feel together even when we’re apart.

easter cake

Try out New Recipes

Being forced out of our normal routines and traditions can be a good thing. My family never really was a fan of cheesecake, so I never made it. But when Daniel and I were spending the holidays alone, we experimented with different recipes and now always make an amazing pumpkin cheesecake in the fall. If you are sick of mom’s green bean casserole or the boring mashed potatoes, try something new. If you can’t get all the ingredients you need, see it as a challenge to make the best of what you have in the pantry. This is a time to really let loose in the kitchen.

Start New Traditions

You could try to make your own dye for eggs (I’ve been wanting to try the method that uses Cool Whip to create a marbled effect). Or have your kids write their own four questions about your family, and use it as an opportunity to teach them their history. Unusual situations create the most lasting memories and traditions are a great way to keep those memories alive.

easter basket for kids

Get Creative

Take the pressure off to create the perfect and most instagrammable holiday. Just focus on having fun and spending time with whoever you can, in person or through technology. Try to come up with activities for kids, or games to play with relatives. Everyone could try to make the most unusual side dish with things they have in the pantry. Or you could organize a playlist for your sibling or parents to listen to while they cook. Remember, just because we can’t physically be together, doesn’t mean we can’t show love.

What are your plans for Easter or Passover? Have you thought of any creative ways to celebrate or new traditions?



16 thoughts on “5 Tips for Celebrating Holidays without Family

  1. Jane Elliott

    Easter will be different but thank you for reminding me of the Easter my husband and I had our first year together. I made a lovely dinner for the 2 of us and of course we went to church. Church is now in our house but what Easter means we can still celebrate!

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