When the Holidays Don’t Feel Like the Holidays
The holidays are here, and with this season comes decorating for Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever holiday you celebrate. This season means parties, and gift wrapping and baking yummy holiday treats. This season means being together with family, and being thankful for everything in your life.
But what do you do when your spouse is deployed? When they are off in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, or some other part of the world too many miles from where you are? What do you do when you just don’t feel like doing Christmas? When you just don’t feel like setting anything up? When you just want the holidays to be over so you will be closer to homecoming and seeing your spouse again?
When your spouse is deployed during this time of year, the holidays don’t always feel like the holidays. You might want to skip them altogether, or just wish away time to the new year, when the holidays are over. You might not be feeling like you even have much to celebrate. But you do.
I think most military spouses will go through this at one time or another.
Here are some ideas to help if you are feeling like the holidays and not the holidays this year:
Don’t pressure yourself
One of the biggest issues with social media is comparing yourself to other families. And this seems to get worse during the holidays. The thing is, you don’t have to do things the way others do.
Is there something that overwhelms you at the thought of having to do it? Don’t. Or maybe there is something you normally do with help from your spouse, and you simply don’t have the energy to do so this year. That’s okay too.
Find what works for your family and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Take the pressure off yourself. Your holiday season will be much easier that way.
Add a new tradition
Why not try a new tradition this year. Something for you and your kids to get excited about. Are you stationed overseas? If so, why not adopt a tradition of the country you are stationed in? Adding something new can be just what you need to get excited about this holiday season, even if your spouse is deployed.
Plan for celebrating later
If your spouse is coming home early in the new year, you could always save the celebrating for then. If you have very small children or no children, this can work well. Older, school-age children might have trouble with this so you could have a small celebration with plans for a bigger one later. As military families, we have to be flexible and this is one way to do so during a deployment.
Fake it until you make it
Sometimes you simply have to fake it until you make it. Make a list of all the holiday things you normally do and try to work on a few a day, even if you don’t feel like it. Getting started with getting ready for the holidays can help you get in the mood. Involve your kids because you know they are going to be excited about the holidays no matter what.
Put on a Christmas movie, light a holiday candle, or take the kids to see Santa. Do something that can really put you in the holiday mood. This can help you get there, even if you are not sure if it will work.
Find others to celebrate with
If you can, find other military spouses who will be without their own spouse this season. Make plans together. Anything from baking Christmas cookies to spending Christmas day together will work. This will help you stay busy and hang out with people who get what being a part on the holidays is like for military families.
If you are feeling lonely, if you simply don’t feel like you want to celebrate the holidays this year, do what works for you to get back in the mood. Because your spouse is deployed, things will be different this year but they don’t have to be horrible. You can still make memories and have fun with friends and family.
What have you done to help during the holidays when you don’t feel like celebrating because they are deployed?