If you’re struggling to create new traditions as a nomad, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Many people feel the same way when they’re away from home during the holidays.
The number one reason people say they can’t become a nomad is because of their desire to stay close to loved ones. Fear of being disconnected from traditions is part of the glue that keeps you stuck to one place.
Luckily, your connection to loved ones doesn’t have to be tossed away just because you become a nomad. You can have both your new experiences around the world and evolve your existing traditions.
Here are some of my favorite ways to develop new holiday traditions while on your worldwide nomadic adventure:
Host a Virtual Holiday Celebration
With the advancements in technology, it is easy to connect with family and friends no matter where you are in the world. Host a video call and share a meal together, exchange gifts, and play games.
Planning ahead is key for even a virtual celebration. Make sure to set a date and time that works for all attendees time zones. Give detailed instructions to less tech savvy loved ones so they can have accounts created or software downloaded well before the event.
You can make your virtual event special with a theme or props. Pre-send all the attendees a certain hat or lei or silly glasses so that everyone feels like you’re all in the same room. Specific dress code or themed attire is another way to feel the connection over the internet. An 80’s party, ugly Christmas sweater celebration, or local sports team attire can mesh your two locations together.
Create or find a recipe for a signature drink and make sure all guests have the ingredients ahead of time. If everyone is sipping on the same sparkly cocktail it will feel even more cohesive. Sharing a meal virtually is a lot more fun than you might expect. Talking about the differences in what ingredients are available and how you modified everything makes for great conversation.
If your normal holiday traditions involve watching a movie together or paying video games, technology makes it possible to continue those traditions. Even games can be play virtually if you have the right supplies. Battleship, Connect 4, chess, or even Guess Who could all be played over a video call.
Technology allows you to create new traditions while holding on to the existing traditions you hold so dear.
Create a Holiday Journal
As a nomad family, you are constantly experiencing new cultures and customs. Start a holiday journal to document your experiences and memories. Share the journal with family and friends to give them a glimpse into your travels.
Start with a blank journal that has a cover you love. Along the way you’ll want a glue stick, pair of scissors, and sparkly pens. Be creative, there is no right or wrong way to document your traditions.
Allow everyone in the family to contribute to the journal. Glue in photos, ticket stubs, or ribbon from presents opened. Make drawings, write poems, and share stories. Try to capture the feelings, people, places, and experiences that might get lost over time if they aren’t recorded.
Make it part of your tradition to document your day. When family visits or you go back home, this journal will be the jumping off point for countless conversations. You can even turn your holiday journal into a video journal to share from around the world.
Visit a New Place Each Time
Instead of staying in one place for Christmas, make it your tradition to travel. Our family has now spent three international Christmas’s. We have been in Santo Domingo Dominican Republic, Cairo Egypt, and Tokyo Japan.
Incorporating local customs into your holiday celebrations adds a new dimension to your experiences. Seek out destinations that have wildly different ways to celebrate the same holiday.
In Japan for instance, Christmas is considered a romantic day and couples go on dates as opposed to a large family gathering. Eating KFC and having Christmas cake are also part of the typical Japanese way of celebrating.
In Mexico you’ll kick off the holidays on December 12th with the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and keep celebrating until January 6th with the Feast of he Epiphany. Attending mass and Las Posadas are also central to the Mexican way of celebrating Christmas.
Head to Ethiopia and you’ll find yourself celebrating Christmas on January 7th. Attending a special church service followed by a feast of injera and doro wat. There is singing and dancing all rooted in religious customs.
If you go to Australia you’ll find yourself in the middle of their summer season even though it’s December. Christmas BBQ combined with outdoor activities is common. You might find yourself swimming, surfing, or playing on the beach to celebrate Christmas in Australia.
By embracing and experiencing these vastly different customs of celebrating Christmas, your nomad family can gain a deeper understanding of the cultural and historical traditions of the countries you visit. It also allows you to make new memories and create new traditions of you own.
Create a Family Recipe Book
Collect traditional family recipes and create a recipe book to share with family and friends. Cooking a traditional family recipe can bring a sense of familiarity and comfort no matter where you are in the world.
Ask family and friends individually for the specific recipe you will miss the most. Be sure to have a conversation about the details of the recipe they are likely leaving out. They might not say you are looking for the brownest banana or the yellowest apple because it’s obvious to them. Find out those little secrets they know in their head but you need to spell out in the recipe book.
Get a headshot and photos of the recipe to use in the decoration of the book. My favorite book creation website allows you to drag and drop photos, decorative stickers, and cohesive text into a printable gift. Head here >> Create Your Family Recipe Book << to start the designing process.
At the back of the book you can ask anyone who has the book to email you photos of themselves making or eating the recipes at family events. Each holiday you can write to all your recipe contributors and show off all the places in the world that their recipes are being made.
Create New Traditions, But Keep the Old
By following these tips, you can create new traditions and stay connected with your loved ones no matter where your nomadic journey takes you. Overall, it’s important to remember that while physical distance may separate you from your loved ones, it doesn’t have to impact your enjoyment and connection during the holidays. With a little creativity and planning you can make the holidays a memory you will hold dear forever.