Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Making Holiday Decisions as a Military Family

The holidays are a hard time for most military families. Even if the military member is at home, there are still decisions that have to be made about the holidays. In many cases, these decisions need to actually be discussed in advance. That's why today, we're bringing you this list of decisions to make. Hopefully this post will help you get the conversation started!

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Thanksgiving and Christmas both present many topics of discussion regarding the holiday and how you're going to spend it. If your spouse is deployed or working for the holiday, you might find yourself making these decisions alone. However, if you're lucky enough to have your spouse around for the holidays, then you might want to discuss a few things ahead of time.

Where will you be spending the holidays?
Most military families do not live close to their extended family. (If you do, then count yourself among the lucky ones!) Therefore, it's important to decide ahead of time if you'll be making a trip home to see any of the extended family. Make sure you discuss the pros and cons of making a trip home for the holiday before you settle on your decision. We also recommend making this decision early to allow for the proper leave paperwork and plans to be made. (And of course, always be flexible as things can change last minute! Back up plans are a must at the holidays.) Remember, you don't have to go home for the holidays. Since getting married, we have yet to make a trip home for the holidays.

Who will you be spending the holidays with?
If you're going home, you'll likely be spending the holidays with your family. If you're staying put, then you might want to discuss how the holidays are going to go. Many military families like to get together and spend the holidays together. In many ways, our military friends are a part of our family after all. Last year, we went to Friendsgiving hosted by another couple. This year, we're inviting his station mates over to our house for the holidays. We'll be using our handy planning guide to stay organized this year. Christmas tends to just be the two of us, but we haven't thought that far ahead yet - one holiday at a time for us.

What will you be doing for the holidays?
This one may not require much discussion if you have a holiday tradition in your family. However, if you're like us and still establishing traditions, then it might be worth discussing what you'll be doing for the holidays. Will it be a movie marathon? Big dinner? Gift exchange? Don't forget that your activities will be influenced by the other decisions you've made regarding the holidays.

When will you celebrate?
This one goes along with the other questions mentioned above. It's important to decide on the details, especially if you're inviting others (friends or family) to join you for the holidays. We like to open gifts on Christmas Eve and make dinner with a movie marathon on Christmas Day. Every family is different. (If you're traveling home for the holidays, make sure you find out what the plans are as well - this will help curb your holiday stress.)

Make the holiday yours.
There's one thing you should always remember when you're making your holiday plans. There is no right or wrong way to celebrate a holiday. There's simply the traditions and memories that you choose to make together as a family.

Do you know what your plans are for the holidays? Do you have any fun traditions? We'd love to hear about them in the comments below!

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