Away for the Holidays

Dealing with being awat during the

I am an Oilfield wife, and my Hot Oil Man of a husband works on the North Slope in Alaska, therefore we live about 3,000 miles away from most of our friends and all of our family. Although we miss them like crazy, there are a few benefits to not being too close. For example, when we DO see them, it is for extended amounts of time (and in vacation mode, not busy life mode) so we get more quality time than we did when we saw them weekly but for short and rushed periods of time.

But, the holidays are definitely lonely when you live far away from family. I actually enjoy just staying home on Christmas day, it’s something I used to dream of doing –  staying in our PJ’s, opening up gifts at a leisurely pace, sipping hot cocoa, watching Christmas movies….overall enjoying a slow, relaxing day at home with just the 4 of us.  A “picture perfect” Christmas. We never had that before we moved to Alaska, we had busy Christmases with multiple houses to visit and several parties to attend.

Although I do enjoy our Christmas Days at home now, I miss all the other get-to-gethers during the holiday season and being surrounded by our families. I miss the  foods we’d eat and games we played at particular parties, but mostly I miss the people.  But to avoid  being too sad about being away during the Holidays, we have tried our best to make new traditions and find fun activities to do. We continue to get our tree up right after Thanksgiving – just like my family always did.  We also try to go to a local craft show at least once during the season. It’s fun to see all the homemade goods, we can also find great presents, and it helps us connect with and meet people from our community. (This is one thing we can do when my HOM is gone – he’s not really the “craft show” type. heehee). We also go to the Reindeer farm in a nearby town. Their activities include petting the reindeer, going on horse drawn sleigh rides, and seeing Santa. We also attend various programs at our church and Charter school. (I love Christmas pageants!  Seeing my kids on stage always blesses my heart.)

There are small things we try to incorporate, too, that remind us of our families during Christmas.  I make some of the same treats and cookies that our mothers and/or grandmothers make.  I guess if we don’t get to see grandma, at least we can enjoy her cookies!  I also have my kids help me pick out gifts for their cousins and grandparents. We put time and effort into each one, specifically thinking about and discussing what that person likes. That way they stay near and dear to us, even if we don’t see them in person.  We keep some traditions –  opening early gifts,  having German soup with butterballs on Christmas Eve, and singing songs around the tree – but we’ve added our own new traditions, too, including acting out the Christmas Nativity, watching all of our Christmas movies (starting the day after Thanksgiving), and making Cajun Boil on Christmas Day.

It’s not easy to be away at Christmas, but we find ways to make the most of it.

About jenna

Jenna has been an oilfield wife for over 12 years. Her Hot Oil Man husband started working in the oilfield a few months before they were married. The oilfield has lead them all the way from Northern CO to Alaska, where they've lived in the Matanuska Valley for 4 years. The family consists of their two children; a strong-willed daughter age 10, and a goofy son age 7. And of course what family would be complete without a couple of dogs and rabbits thrown in the mix. Jenna is a stay at home mom who doesn't “stay at home” much, and enjoys gardening, baking, reading, watching movies, four wheeling, hiking, fishing, and LOVES shopping. Since moving to the last frontier they have also started home schooling, which is another adventure all it’s own.

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