Thursday, November 17, 2016

Holiday Tips for Military Families

The holidays can be stressful. There's gifts to buy, money to budget, halls to deck, people to feed, and the list goes on and on. It seems like the work and stress is never over when you're dealing with the holidays. That being said, I feel like there are a few added stresses for military families due to geographical location and work schedules. That being said, we thought we'd share a few of our tips for tackling these unique obstacles!

As a military family, there are often many decisions you have to make regarding the holidays. Then, there are the decisions that are out of your control and the decisions that you sometimes have to bend and twist because things are always changing last minute. Flexibility is an important virtue for anyone affiliated with the military and it's even more important around the holidays.

Work might get in the way.
Wouldn't it be great if the world just stopped for the holidays so that we could all enjoy our family? Sadly, that's not the case and some people end up working on the holidays - especially in jobs where there's security and safety involved. If you find out that your military member is going to have to work during a major holiday, it's better to find a work around plan than to complain about it. You could schedule your family celebrations and traditions to take place on another day. Or you could plan to bring goodies to the workplace if that's allowed. Anyway it goes, remember to put a smile on your face and not be selfish - I guarantee you it's harder for the one who has to work during the holiday.

It's deployment time.
This one is similar to the previous obstacle. There are times when our loved ones are deployed through the holidays. Remember that statement about the world not stopping? Unfortunately, it means the holidays aren't a reason for a deployment to stop. This doesn't mean you can't still celebrate though. Send your deployed service member a care package and fill it with his favorites from the season. Write him letters or create a fun countdown for him. Take lots of pictures that will make him smile. (P.S. We have more fun ideas in this post.)

Family is miles away.
If you're used to celebrating the holidays with your extended family, it can be hard when you're miles away from them. We've spent the holidays away from family for over two years now. As a result, we've found little things that we can do to feel like we're still a part of the big family Christmas as well. We send gifts via snail mail every year. We also skype or call all of our family members to wish them happy holidays. Then, we focus on building our own traditions for us and our future kids. (Soon I won't be saying future anymore!)

Reach out to others.
This one isn't an obstacle but more of a reminder. You may be facing your own obstacles for the holidays, but remember that there are many service members who face these same obstacles and are unmarried, which means they have even less of a support network. Be kind and reach out to these individuals during the holidays. Invite them to spend some time with you or take them an extra treat if they're the one working so that your spouse can be home with his family. Let's aim to spread cheer to others this year.

Do you know how you're going to be spending the holidays or do you still need to discuss your plans?

A few other bloggers shared their tips and stories with me and I thought they might inspire you as well!

"My husband's last deployment we were living quite far from family so when Christmas came we decided to go to Manhattan just because we could! It was the perfect distraction and I wrote a post on it that you can read here." - Kim of She is Fierce

"When we lived overseas, we sometimes travelled on Christmas. Waking up in a new city was an exciting adventure! Then we followed the local tradition of not opening presents until January 6 (Epiphany ). Now we live in the States, but equally far from family, so the Grandparents are flying out to spend Christmas with us." - Lizanne of Seasoned Spouse

"We were stationed in Japan. Hubby was out to sea, so we got together with a couple of other families and enjoyed one another's company. Not only did we build friendships, we learned others traditions and tried new recipes. Yummy food and good times."- Sybil of Preschool2Teen

A few other posts you might enjoy from fellow bloggers:



  1. Thanks for writing this and including my quote! It's important that military spouses realize they are not alone, and others in the same situation are happy to celebrate with them.

    1. Thanks for sharing something for the post. :) It really is important to know that we're not alone!