The holiday season is a time for families to gather together and celebrate with loved ones. But for military families, that oftentimes is not the reality. While military life can be a challenge for children and spouses throughout the entire year, these challenges are even greater during the holiday season.
If you’re the military spouse who remains at home with the children, it can be difficult to carry on family traditions and keep spirits high. Children may be missing their parent during celebrations, and it can be hard to feel some of that Christmas joy.
Fighting holiday stress — for you and your children — can be a challenge for both parents. Here are ways to help make the holidays easier for the entire family.
For Deployed Parents
Being far away from the comforts of home and loved ones becomes even more difficult when children are involved. Here are some ways to stay involved in the holiday celebrations back home:
Write Letters Home
Your family can open a new letter from you each day of the holiday season. (Write and send several letters or cards at once.) They don’t have to be long, but describe something you love or appreciate about him or her. You can talk about what you look forward to doing together when you come home. These can give your child something to look forward to on a daily basis.
Make a Memento
Make and send your child a Christmas ornament with his or her name on it.
Use Technology to Stay in Touch
Skype, email, and social media are all ways to let you and your family enjoy more interaction. Keep up to date on how they’re celebrating the holidays, and use Skype for more personalized, interactive conversations.
For the Parent at Home
Taking care of yourself is important all year long but even more so during the holidays. Take time out to do things that give you a boost and make you feel better — like getting together with friends for dinner or drinks, exercising, or getting a massage. When you care for yourself, you’re better prepared to care for your children and other loved ones.
Here are some ways that you can help your children manage the stress of being separated from a military parent during the holidays:
Send a Surprise to Your Service Member
Plan a family project for your service member that everyone can participate in. Create a care package and have each family member hand-make a holiday gift. Include pictures and even small mementos from previous holiday celebrations that will make him or her feel more connected.
Remember to Celebrate the Season
Don’t get so caught up in what’s missing that you forget to enjoy all of the things you are grateful for. Attend holiday plays and pageants. Look at Christmas lights. Host a party for friends. Soak up the festive atmosphere of the season. If you don’t feel like being home for the holidays, then use this as a time to travel someplace you’ve always wanted to visit.
Volunteer Your Time
Helping someone else takes your mind off your own situation and lets you experience the joy of giving back. You can make yourself feel better while making others happier, too.
Making sure that your home feels like home is important, too. That’s where CORT Furniture Rental can help.