The holiday season is here and Christmas is around the corner. Are you ready? I am not, I still have so much to do. But as I am getting everything ready for this year, I am reminded of a Christmas quite a few years ago.
My husband had left for Iraq at the end of November, on Thanksgiving Day of all days. Thanks, Army!
He had been gone about a month before Christmas Day and there was no chance he would have R&R that early, back in the days of a regular old R&R in the middle of a deployment.
As the day got closer, I knew we would have to do something to help us enjoy this holiday. I couldn’t just spend it watching movies and hiding under the covers, my boys were only two and four years old.
That’s why I made plans with my friend and her kids. We decided we would have our own little Christmas morning and then get together for the Christmas meal. We split up the food, and sometime in the afternoon, we headed over to her house to celebrate.
I had such a good time that morning with my little boys. I filmed them opening their gifts to send to their dad, and enjoyed watching them enjoy the Christmas magic.
Then we got dressed and spent the rest of the day with friends and their kids. I still think back to that Christmas all these years later. It is one that will always stick with me. While my husband was away, I don’t remember being too sad that day.
I do remember the joy of my kids that morning. I do remember the fun times I had with my friend. I do remember the feeling of peace and knowing I could get through whatever this deployment was going to bring.
If you are getting ready for a Christmas with a deployed spouse, please remember these 5 things. And have a wonderful holiday season:
You can still have a good time
I know it might seem that you will be sad and gloomy all of Christmas Day but it doesn’t have to be that way. What makes you happy? What makes your kids happy? Think about what would make for a good Christmas Day and plan for that.
You don’t have to go home
When your spouse is deployed, your family is going to expect to have you home with them for the holidays. Why would you even think about staying where you are? Well, there are a lot of reasons to do so.
While being with family might be what you need, you don’t have to feel pressured to go if you don’t feel like going. Maybe the cost of the plane tickets is too much. Maybe the thought of flying across the country with two toddlers by yourself is too much. Maybe you just want to be in your own home.
You can make memories with friends
You can turn this Christmas into a time to spend with friends. If you are at a military duty station, most likely you know others with a deployed spouse over Christmas. Why not make plans to get together?
If you aren’t, reach out within your friend circle and see if anyone else might need the company over the holiday. There are other reasons why a spouse might not be home for Christmas.
You don’t have to spend the entire holiday together. That can be too much for some people, I know it probably would for me. But having Christmas dinner or even just dessert can make for a nice treat during the day. And there are always memories to be made.
You can celebrate again later
If your spouse missing out on Christmas is really bothering you, why not plan a mini-Christmas when they get home? This is your family, you can do what you want.
Maybe they won’t be home until April? Who cares? Have a mini Christmas once they get home, and enjoy the time together no matter what you decide to do.
You are not alone
Remember, you are not the only military spouse without their husband or wife by their side this Christmas. So many of us have been through this, even if we are not going through it this year.
We have figured out ways to make it through and you will too. We have found joy in the season, even when we are sad. We figure out ways to get through and have a wonderful Christmas anyway.
If your spouse is deployed over the holidays, what have you done to make things a little easier for yourself?
Don’t forget to check out The Newbie’s Guide to Military Life: Surviving a PCS and More by Soldier’s Wife, Crazy Life and Mrs Navy Mama. Your guide for learning about military life.