The holidays are a time for celebrating with family and friends, and those celebrations usually happen at home. For a military family stationed far from the place called home, the idea of “home for the holidays” takes on a different meaning.
Depending on where you’re stationed, your holiday might take place in a balmy desert rather than a winter wonderland. At the very least, you might be in a country that celebrates very differently — or not at all. Regardless of your individual situation, there are many different ways to make the holidays feel a little bit more like home. Put these ideas to good use to take holiday spirit and seasonal celebrations with you anywhere you go.
Keep to Tradition
Stick to your treasured traditions as much as possible. Holidays are built around tradition, and the more you add to your celebration, the more it will feel like home. No matter what your family traditions involve, whether it’s hanging holiday decorations together, writing greetings in Christmas cards, baking cookies, or something else entirely, keep those practices alive.
Keep in mind that one of the good things about your situation is you’re not alone. Other families are feeling the same way. Invite them to your home to join in your celebrations. This helps everyone feel more of the holiday spirit, and it gives you a chance to share your feelings with others who are likely feeling the same way.
Start a New Tradition
Traditions connect you to your past, but it’s also fun to start new traditions. Add something creative to your holiday celebration, whether that means Christmas caroling for friends and family members via Skype on Christmas Eve or buying matching Christmas pajamas for the whole family to wear while opening gifts.
When in Rome…
Learn how the local culture celebrates the holidays. It may give you some new ideas you could add to your annual celebration. You may also gain a new appreciation for your temporary homeland by learning more about its culture and holiday traditions.
Everyone has a beloved holiday dish, so try to make sure everyone in the family has at least one favorite included in the feast. This is also a good way to encourage reminiscing about past holidays over Grandma Marie’s famous snowball cookies, for example. Try not to dwell on what you miss about those gatherings, but instead look at how much you appreciate them and how much you look forward to celebrating with your loved ones again in the future.
Even though you may be many miles from home, you’re not alone. Don’t hesitate to let family and friends know how you’re feeling and what they can do to support you. Creating an environment that reminds you of home can also make you feel more comfortable and connected. With help from CORT, you can furnish your home away from home for the holidays and every day.