Have you ever had a Christmas without your spouse? If you have ever gone through a Christmas when they are deployed it can be very difficult and lonely.
We have done it twice. Once in 2005 (although not a deployment, he was in Germany and I was in the US waiting to join him) and once in 2008. In 2006 we got lucky since I had a baby and they sent him home on R&R over Christmas.
Here are some ideas to help make the holiday season a little less lonely during a Christmas when they are deployed:
1) Plan to visit family or have them come visit you. If you can’t be with your husband on Christmas morning, family might just be the next best thing. they can step in, keep you busy and allow you to have fun with others even if you are really missing your spouse.
2) If you can’t be with family or don’t want to be, make plans with friends. This is what we did in 2008. My parents were coming in January so it was just the boys and I for Christmas. We had our time opening gifts at home and then we got together with my friend and her kids. It made for a fun day. Lots of playtime for the kids and lots of emotional support for us moms.
3) Make a fun gift package to send to your husband. Check the dates to make sure he will get it in time. If for some reason you can’t send him something, make him something and save it for him. Even if he is going to get home in the Spring or Summer, he will still enjoy it. There are a lot of great ideas you can do for a cake package for Christmas when they are deployed.
4) Video tape the festivities. He may not be able to be there in person but at least he can see how the day went. Have the kids create a special video message for him too. Video tale opening the gifts. Being able to watch this can make your spouse feel closer to home during a Christmas when they are deployed.
5) Think about it. Think about the military life and how some years you will be apart for certain holidays but the next year you might not be. Think about the holidays you have spent together.
6) Create new traditions. Maybe you will save the stocking for later when he is home. Who cares if it is February? Have your Christmas a month early if he is leaving right before December. Don’t worry about celebrating on the actual day. As military family our lives are not normal, why do our holidays have to be?
7) Remember you are not alone. I know it is easy to think that you are the only one without your husband during Christmas but it just isn’t true. There are a lot of other spouses in your shoes. Some in the military, some are apart for other reasons. You aren’t the only one, even if it feels like it.