As a military family, you’re accustomed to moving and being away from family and friends. But during the holidays, dealing with that distance can become more challenging.
When you’re spending holidays far away, you might feel lonely and miss your friends and family more than usual. Thinking about past holidays surrounded by them all can make you feel even more alone. One of the first things to realize is that you’re not alone, and many other military families are going through the exact same thing. Recognize that what you’re feeling when spending holidays away from family is perfectly normal, and then think about what you can do to make this time of year feel more festive.
Make This Moment Matter
You can’t change where you are for the holidays, but attitude is everything when it comes to celebrations. Even if you’re far from home, keep loved ones near in spirit by including traditions you’ve built and shared over the years.
Implement your favorite holiday decorations and make it feel like home. Festive lights, garland, a decorated Christmas tree, and scented candles can help re-create those past holidays. Play your favorite holiday music and add a few new tracks. Surrounding yourself with familiar décor and ambiance can help you beat those holiday blues.
Share the Feeling
You’re not alone in missing the special people in your life, so why not share the holiday with others? Plan a holiday gathering or have other service members over for a traditional holiday feast instead of spending the day alone.
Keep it from being too big a task by turning it into a potluck event with each guest bringing a dish. It’s a great way to gather with other families and enjoy some holiday fun while deepening new friendships.
If you’re overseas, try incorporating some of the holiday traditions from that culture into your own American celebrations. The results can be fun and unexpected. You might even adopt some new traditions and recipes that you always want to include in your celebrations going forward.
Start Something New
In the movie “A Christmas Story,” the family ends up eating dinner at a Chinese restaurant after the neighbors’ unruly dogs steal their turkey dinner right off the table. So, who says you can’t try a new main dish for your holiday meal? This is a great opportunity to start a new tradition, whether it’s changing up a main course or doing something different, like delivering gifts to the less fortunate or making some other comforting gesture as part of your holiday celebration.
One of the most certain ways to feel better is to think of others. Studies show that volunteering can make you feel more connected, less depressed, and can even boost your self-esteem.
Look for ways you can contribute to the community you’re living in now. This can include serving or delivering meals to those in need or finding other needs specific to your community. Not only will this make you feel less isolated, you can enjoy what’s known as a joyful “helper’s high” from doing something for others.
Food banks, churches, and homeless shelters are all great places to find volunteer opportunities, and you may even make new friends among your fellow volunteers. You could also organize your own event, such as singing Christmas carols at a nursing home.
Of course, making sure that you’re happy with your home is an important part of enjoying your holidays. Make your house feel more like home — over the holidays and long after — by taking advantage of CORT Furniture Rental‘s military options. With a history of serving military families, CORT makes it easy to create the perfect home wherever you are.