How To Make Your Holidays Special When Your Heart Is An Ocean Away
He left in November of that year for his 2nd deployment. That meant he was going to miss Christmas that year. We also were not going to be going home as we were in Germany and the idea of traveling with a 2-year-old and 4-year-old over the holidays was a little too much. Plus, my parents were coming to visit around my birthday in January.
As I looked ahead to Christmas day I couldn’t help but be sad about my husband missing the holiday. Our boys were still so young. These Christmases are important. They are what we will look back years in the future, the Santa Christmases when everyone was young enough to believe and the toys were rather simple.
But there was nothing I could do. My husband would be in Iraq that Christmas and we would be home in Germany without him. The good thing was I was not alone. There were quite a few other spouses going through the same thing, being without their spouse for Christmas. This included one of my best friends, who also had small children.
We decided that being by ourselves this Christmas wasn’t going to work well for us. We also knew that we needed to plan something to help us get through the day. We made plans. We would spend Christmas morning with our own children, watch them open their gifts and then meet up to make Christmas dinner together while our kids played.
This was one of the best things we could have done. Were we still sad and missing our husbands? Yes, but we had something else to focus on and so did our kids. That Christmas didn’t turn out to be too horrible after all and all it took was a little planning to make the holiday special.
The key to getting through the holiday season without your spouse by your side is to make the holiday special anyway. Do what you can to bring in the Christmas joy, even if you don’t feel like doing so. Here are some great ideas on how to make your holidays special, even when your heart is an ocean away-
Plan Christmas Day
If you celebrate Christmas, plan that day out. What will it look like? Where will you eat? How will you spend that time? You can plan a date with friends or stay home. Whatever will work for you and your family. Just plan something. Even if your plan includes taking the kids to the movies and picking up fast food on the way home.
Save a few presents to open when Dad is back home, even if that will be June. You can have a mini-Christmas later. You don’t even have to let your kids know there are more presents. You can save presents for your deployed spouse as well. Make a fun day of your mini-Christmas after he is home from his deployment.
Your husband might miss Christmas but he can still see what you guys did that day. Take photos of everything you do. Make an album and send that in your next care package or save for when he gets home. Include Christmas memories from your children as well. Your deployed spouse will enjoy reading those too. Ask your deployed spouse for Christmas of their day as well. They might have been able to celebrate a little bit, even if they were overseas.
Decorate your house anyway, even if doing so seems hard. Sometimes people just don’t have the desire to do so but try to make yourself decorate anyway. You will be glad you did. Life can’t stop just because they are deployed. Life has to keep moving, that includes decorating for the season. You can always put your tree up early if your spouse deploys in the fall. Who cares if it is in October? Sometimes us military families do things on a slightly different schedule than everyone else. You can also leave the Christmas decor up longer than usual so your spouse can see everything when he gets home.
What have you done in the past to make Christmas or the holidays special even when your spouse has been away? What advice would you give to new spouses going through their first Christmas alone?
Last Updated on June 24, 2021 by Julie Provost