Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Fun Ideas When You're Spending the Holidays Apart

December is my favorite month of the year because it brings the holiday season with it. I love buying gifts for others and making my home glitter with Christmas lights. When you're one half of a military couple, the holidays can be difficult. Sometimes it's hard to get into the holiday spirit if you're spending the holidays away from the ones you love. We faced this last year and I'm looking forward to sharing a few fun things we did to make the holidays a bit more festive even while we were apart!

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Last year, the husband's boat left around December 1 and didn't return until Christmas Eve (then it went back out at the beginning of January - literally home for the holidays). This meant that most of the holiday season we were apart. It was our first married Christmas and I was determined to make the most of it so I planned a simple countdown for him to take with him on the boat.

I decorated 25 envelopes and included goodies like pictures, coupons to use later, and other small surprises to help brighten his day. I kept to paper items so that the envelopes would be flat and easy to fit into his small space on the boat. He loved opening an envelope each day and stored the goodies away for use later.

After I decorated and filled all of the envelopes, I decorated a simple brown gift bag and gave it to him before he left. Day 1 explained how the countdown worked and from there, he was in charge of making sure he opened them all.

When the husband is out to sea, our primary mode of conversation is email. I decided to have a little fun with the email last year. Before the husband left, I purchased a small elf ornament to use for a little photo fun (similar elf ornament here). I have an Elf on the Shelf that I've used in the classroom before but it is currently packed away in South Carolina, so I had to make do with a substitute. 

Prior to leaving for deployment, I planned a date night involving Elf the Movie. We enjoyed some treats and watched the movie together. Then, once he was on the boat, I emailed him a fun picture of the elf I had bought and asked him to name the elf. He ended up with the name Willfare, after the star of the movie.

I continued to send him fun pictures featuring Willfare and the silly things he was doing around the house - helping decorate, taking care of me when I hurt myself, and other odds and ends. It was a small way to make our emails a little more fun. I think I'm going to turn over elf duties to the husband this year since he's home from deployment!

How do you make the holidays more fun? 

Have you ever created a countdown or used an elf in your festivities?


  1. Awe...great ideas! I am sure it made him feel closer to you :)

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