Celebrating The Holidays When Your Spouse Is Never Home
I don’t want to count up the amount of times I have been alone with my children during a holiday. It is not fun. It really takes some of the joy out of it. However, I have learned how to deal with it and how to make the best of it. One thing our family has done that has really helped is deciding to celebrate certain holidays on a different date.
Now for some holidays, when my husband is gone, there isn’t much I can do. Holidays like Halloween and the 4th of July are more community events so I can’t exactly plan to celebrate those on a different day. We just have to enjoy them without my husband, be a little sad about it and hope that next year we will be together. Last 4th of July my husband had his two-week National Guard drill and was gone. We missed him but we enjoyed a pretty cool fireworks show courtsey of my neighbors. We didn’t have as much fun as we would have if he had been home but we still made it work.
Other holidays that are more family centered are easier to change. The two main ones we have done this with for our family are Thanksgiving and Christmas. One year my husband was supposed to deploy on Thanksgiving. The nerve of the Army doing that to us! Well, the mission comes first and that mission said they must leave on Thanksgiving. We could have just decided to skip Thanksgiving that year but I knew my heart would be sad if we did. So we celebrated a week early.
I got up that morning just like it was Thanksgiving. I made most of the dinner, my husband helped with the rest. We were lazy, had fun together and it felt exactly like Thanksgiving even though it was a week before. So when actual Thanksgiving came, it felt like a regular Thursday. We dropped my husband off and we were sad but I didn’t feel like we were missing Thanksgiving together because we had celebrated the week before.
Last Christmas my husband had to be away for work. We didn’t know this until December 18th. So what did we do? We celebrated on December 19th. We told the boys that we would have to celebrate Christmas early, that we notified Santa and that everything would be okay. That night the boys went to bed very excited because it was their Christmas Eve. They woke up the next day to presents under the tree. We did everything we normally did on Christmas from watching the boys play with gifts, to making a nice meal, to just being together. It felt exactly like December 25th! It was great!
Now I know this method won’t work for everyone. And it won’t work for everyone every year. If your husband leaves for deployment in August and won’t be home until February you are probably not going to celebrate Christmas that early. In some cases you will just have to go about the holiday without them knowing that they might be home the next year.
However, if you can work with the dates and celebrate early, do it. It will make the actual day so much easier. You will feel like you already celebrated it. You won’t feel like you are missing as much. You can make your memories for the year and it really doesn’t matter if you celebrated on the actual day. All that matters is that you had your family time together and made a special day before your spouse had to leave.