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Ballet Talk for Dancers

First Christmas away


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Hello all,

This year, we have a couple of firsts.  It will be the first time that I’ve missed seeing my daughter perform, and the first year that she won’t be home for Christmas (she gets home on the 30th).

I know that many parents eventually have to accept that there will be Christmases when their children aren’t home; it’s part of growing up...I just didn’t think we would be facing it when my child is 17.  Dd is disappointed, but seems okay with it, but I think it will be tough on everyone. 

My current plan is to send her Christmas Pajamas, and her main gift to unwrap.   I was thinking we could FaceTime on Christmas morning.   I believe she has plans to spend most of the day with other students who are in the same boat.   I’m wondering if anyone has other suggestions, or stories to share of how you’ve navigated special holidays over distance.  

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That first Christmas is the toughest I believe. I sometimes think it is harder on the parents than on their dancers when they don’t come home. From what we have experienced, the dancers have a Christmas meal together and some years they will do Secret Santa as a form of gift giving with each other or they just exchange gifts with their closest friends. This just brings them closer. My daughter always called these people her ballet family. I actually joined a group of dancers as the only parents do attended their Christmas get together one year. They looked pretty happy. Another year, I sent over Christmas ornaments and the kids decorated a tree. We would send her presents in the mail and skype with her on Christmas Day and eventually we would see her in January. We never saw this as a negative. Just that this is the ballet life and we were supportive of her decision to leave home and everything that goes with it. 

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My dd is 14 and will not be home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. We ultimately made the decision to bring the holidays to her. She will have an extended family member spend Thanksgiving with her and then our family is flying in to spend Christmas with her. We just weren't ready at 14 to let her be alone, however this plan is not sustainable year after year as traveling as a family at Christmas is not cheap. I know that my dd and her roommate asked for a small tree for their room and other small decorations. I think this will help make the month of December feel more festive and like home. Maybe for Christmas day you could arrange having a pre-made Christmas meal sent to her and some friends? Face time during gift opening seems like a great idea too. 


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Not because of dance, but at various times it's been difficult for one or more family member to travel at Christmas due to work or other constraints.  And once I got married, there were two families to contend with and coordinate.  It really helped me to let go of Christmas needing to happen on December 25th.  I haven't spent December 25th with my family of origin for more than 20 years, and I don't think my kids have ever done Christmas on the 25th with that side of the family--but we have done it before or after, and it doesn't diminish the holiday, it just spreads it out.  We look forward to our annual January celebrations with my mom!

This is not to minimize the difficulty of being separated at the holidays--far from it--but just to say that over the years it's helped me enjoy the holidays more when I can be more flexible about what happens when.  How wonderful for your daughter that she is working and doing what she loves!  But it's bittersweet for parents as we launch our kiddos off into the world.

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I agree that it may feel more difficult for the parents than for the kids.  My DD was a bit disappointed at not being home over Christmas day at 17, but she spent the day with ballet friends, and by the time Christmas rolled around, she was so exhausted from back to back Nut performances, that she was super excited at the prospect of sleeping in and no performances as her "true" gift on Christmas day... LOL.  Once Christmas day happened, she didn't seem to mind too much not being home, because she was super excited about the upcoming end to Nut performances and the LONG break she had coming up in January to spend with the family. 

It was the lead up (and anticipation/worry of what it "would" be like) that was hard for her.  We sent her a small, cardboard "advent calendar" (purchased from Amazon) that had messages of love and encouragement in each day/box for her to open during the month of December... small, little gifts that the whole family participated in putting together for her (over Thanksgiving), so she could think of us every day.  Inside the box for each day, we put personal notes, small mementos or a $5 or $10 to go out for hot chocolate or coffee with friends, some coins to leave as a "secret santa" present for a random person at the laundromat... things like that.  It has since turned into a beloved holiday tradition for her to have her "own" advent calendar, and my other kids have insisted that when THEY leave, they'll need the same.... 😁

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Thank you so much for the suggestions!  I'm going to take some of them.  I love the ornament, and advent calendar ideas. Those are brilliant!   

It is bittersweet, and yes, I think you are all corract - it's probably harder for the family at home, than it is for the kids who are away.  

Threegirlpileup - my dd is still in school, so not working yet, but we are very happy for her that she is doing what she loves.  

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This will also be our first Christmas and Thanksgiving without DD age 14. She was a bit sad and asked "Wait will you do Christmas without me?" I proudly announced, "no silly, Christmas got moved to 1/1/20 this year didn't you hear?" (she comes home 12/30/19 after nutcracker). So Christmas eve is 12/31/19 and Christmas Day is 1/1/20. I'm sure your calendar says the same as mine! :)

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they are all brave girls 🙂

my DD is 14 as well, and she is the only foreigner in her school SO double difficulty.

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Thank you.

She is struggling a lot, but we try to sooth her by telling that she is FREE to come back anytime she wants.

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