Having a family member serving overseas during the holidays can be interesting and memorable. Having a family member serving in the Army and deployed, during the holidays, has made me realize how lucky I am to even be able to celebrate the holidays.
We try really hard to keep our traditions going. It is important to determine what holiday traditions you cannot do without. You know I was never a stickler for continuity until I had children but having the predictability of traditions is really great when your spouse is deployed. It is something the kids and you will look forward to. However there are some traditions that can wait, for me it is hanging outdoor Christmas lights. I really don’t like doing it, and I am afraid of falling off the ladder so that can wait to do next holiday. A few of our traditions for Christmas is we usually get Chinese takeout on Christmas Eve and watch “White Christmas”, make cookies for Santa, read The Night Before Christmas and go to Midnight Mass. I am thinking of starting a new one, staying home on Christmas Day and visiting family the day after Christmas.
Our very first holiday as a married couple we got to spend together but the second one he was deployed. Even if your loved one is thousands of miles away, you can still celebrate it together, it will take some creativity. It is amazing what technology can do these days. You can get video skype on a tablet or even your phone. This year we are going to have daddy on the iphone when we open presents. While you can’t physically touch them, they are there with you and can see the reactions towards the gifts and semi participates in the experience. Also when we visit our extended family my husband usually tries to call us there and my other relatives love to talk to him and wish him well, but this year I have a treat they will actually be able to see my husband and I can’t wait for them to marvel at how technology has advanced. I grew up in a house that had a rotary dial phone (To dial a number, the user puts a finger in the corresponding finger hole and rotates the dial clockwise until it reaches the finger stop), so as you can see technology with a cordless phone didn’t get to me until I was in high school and yes I am in my early 30s I lived with my grandparents.
The very last thing I try to do around the holidays and basically throughout the year, I like to give back to the community. I like to participate in a food and blanket drive for homeless veterans. When I was a Girl Scout leader we had always held a holiday food and clothing drive that we donated to the homeless shelters and food banks here in Fayetteville.