What You Can Do When Your Spouse is Not Home For the Holidays
Fall weather, pumpkins everywhere, sweaters, peppermint mochas and Christmas decorations appearing in the stores. Tis the season for the holidays. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, Hannukah and New Years will be here soon and with them come a lot of memory making moments. Time with family, time together and a lot of love.
However, if your spouse is deployed, the holidays take on a different tone, especially if they won’t be home until sometime in the new year. There is so much going on and when they are gone, you know they are going to be missing all of it. You know your kids will be missing their Dad a little bit more during this time of year and when you think about years past you can’t help but tear up thinking about what they will be missing this year.
In 2008 my husband deployed on Thanksgiving day. The worst time to start a deployment. We celebrated early which was smart but he still missed Christmas and everything that goes with that holiday season. He missed decorating, carols, the boys opening their gifts, the holiday meal and making memories with us at home. I took photos and videos but nothing could change the fact that he was in Iraq during that time, missing us and missing home.
What is the best way to handle your spouse being deployed for the holidays? You can’t change the fact that this will happen when you are a military family. The best thing to do is figure out ways to get through that time and to make the best of what you have anyway, no matter where in the world your spouse might be.
Here are some ideas to help you if your spouse is deployed during the holiday season:
- Perceptive- Sometimes we get so caught up in what our spouse is missing or how long they have been away that we forget that this deployment is only temporary. That the deployment has an end date and that this is just one year out of all the years we will spend together. Taking a step back and thinking about this can help you during this time of year. Thinking about what you do have is also very important. Know that you are loved, even if it has to be across the ocean for right now.
- Make a Plan- See what you can do to make some plans for the holiday. How will you spend Thanksgiving? What about Christmas day? Look for events in your community and stay busy! That will be a good way to get through the next few months and make memories even if your husband is away. Take the kids to see Santa, see if you can help with a Thanksgiving meal, plan a day trip to the snow or just invite people over for a New Year’s Eve party.
- Find Friends- See if there are others with a deployed spouse that you could get together with. If you are close with someone and feel comfortable doing so, make plans to spend the holiday together. I have done this with Thanksgiving and Christmas. Spending your day with others can help you enjoy all the fun memories without feeling as sad and lonely as you normally would.
- Plan a Trip Home- You can always plan a trip home. There is nothing wrong with doing this. The holidays are a great time to be with family so why not plan a trip if you can? If not, see if family or a good friend will come visit you. In some cases, you just have to tell them that you would otherwise be alone for the holidays and someone will want to come stay with you.
- Breathe- I know it is hard. I know it sucks. Holidays should be spent together, right? Sadly, this just isn’t a reality for a lot of military families. Remember to take it easy, don’t put pressure on yourself to have the perfect holiday and remember to breathe.
Have you had a deployed spouse during the holidays? How have you been able to get through those weeks? Any great ideas that helped you through?
Here are some more posts from other Milspouse Bloggers about getting through the holidays without your spouse…
How to Survive The Holidays When Your Spouse Is Deployed
The Holidays For 1: Tips to Survive the Holiday Season Alone & Far From Home