So it’s your first holiday away from home and the holidays tend to be the hardest. We’re used to baking a casserole with a cousin for Thanksgiving or watching our parents open a gift from us on Christmas. My first holiday season away from home, I got use to shedding some tears. In the 3 years I have been a military spouse, I learned a few things that help me enjoy the season.
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This is a great way to keep the holiday cheer in the home. When you are in a new place, it is too easy to forget that this season is a time to be happy. Decorations don’t have to be fancy. One year I picked up some colored tissue paper and created fall themed flowers for a centerpiece. Last year, I used white tissue paper to make large hanging puffballs for a winter wonderland. Pinterest is full of low-cost DIY holiday décor. Let’s turn on some music and dance around the house while we decorate!
Schedule a video chat with family and friends. It’s a given that you can call your family. Scheduling a time to video chat with family and friends creates something to be excited about. You are building the expectation to receive a video call from you, so you don’t have to worry about being disappointed if they don’t answer. People are busy during the holidays and often forget there might be a time difference. Schedule a time and let everyone know they will have a virtual visitor!
Get some recipes. Holidays are often spent around the dinner table. Spending Thanksgiving sitting on the couch eating leftovers is likely going to make you feel more alone. Ask your grandma for her stuffing recipe, ask your parents how to glaze a ham. This is your chance to show your spouse and your new friends the skills you were raised with. Show off!
Reach out to service members in the barracks and other spouses. Could you imagine going through this without your spouse, a place to cook on Thanksgiving, or waking up on Christmas without a tree? It’s not always what we want to hear, but someone else has it harder! You may even know a spouse or two whose soldier is deployed, make sure they have a place to spend the holiday! Inviting someone over could be what gets him or her through the holidays, and it gives you a chance to fill your dinner table like you’re use to.
Start a new tradition. Make this the year of traditions. My husband and I started a tradition of wearing onesies every year on Christmas Eve. We stay in them while we video chat and it always brings a smile. I also started sending out Postcards to family and friends to let them know I miss them. This gives me something to look forward to for holidays in the future.
The first holiday season away from family will always be the hardest, but that’s all the more reason to amp up your holiday cheer and bring the traditions into your new home. Military life is a challenge but this time of year, we’re ready!