Any deployment or longterm separation is difficult, but deployments during the holiday season are especially hard. At least that’s what I’m finding out right now. I don’t think I technically miss my husband any more than I do during any other separation, but this go around is different and I think it has everything to do with the holidays. So how do you make it through holidays during deployment and still be excited about the season?
Short answer: sometimes you don’t.
Long answer: holidays during deployment are tricky and you could easily spend the days wallowing and being sad about not having your loved one present. But I personally don’t want to do that. For starters, there are a lot of holidays and special occasions this time of year and wallowing would get old after a while. Plus, who wants to be the holiday Scrooge in your group of friends and family?
So what’s a girl to do when her husband is gone and she’s faced with four long months of holidays?
Don’t celebrate solo.
I know that’s the title of this post, but I think NOT celebrating solo is the key to surviving holidays during deployment. As tempting as it may be to pour a glass (or 10) of eggnog and curl up with the Hallmark Channel all season long, you’re doing yourself (and your deployed loved one) a disservice. Go to that Christmas party, join a Friendsgiving, invite people over for dinner. Celebrate the season with the many other people who are important to you.
And this goes for special occasions beyond the traditional holidays, too! During this deployment, I’ve also celebrated my birthday and our wedding anniversary. Key word there: celebrated. They weren’t the same as they would have been if A was home, but they were still good days.
Stick to traditions, but feel free to adjust them.
Every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, A and I go off in search of our locally grown Christmas tree. Leading up to last Saturday, I wasn’t really sure I wanted to go without him. But I chose to take some of my own advice and went anyway, bringing my parents along with me. I tromped through the tree farm for a good 45 minutes trying to find the one we would have picked together and I am so glad I did because I found just the right one. I kept our tradition alive and even though it was different and hard, it was so worth it.
For holidays during deployment, I highly suggest sticking to traditions, but being open to adjusting them slightly. Invite someone else or maybe reduce the number of lights you hang outside. Make your traditions fit your current circumstances.
Plan to re-celebrate after homecoming.
Now I’m not requiring you to convince random children to ask for candy at your door, re-cook Thanksgiving dinner or even keep your tree up months after Christmas. I’m also not requiring you to NOT do any of that. You decide which holidays are most important to you and re-create as much (or as little) as you need to celebrate after homecoming. It helps your loved one feel like they haven’t missed as much and you get to celebrate a holiday twice!
A and I definitely plan to celebrate our anniversary and Christmas once he gets home because those are the two most important days to both of us.
How do you celebrate holidays during deployments? Any tips?
P.S. tomorrow is the big day: the Countdowns and Cupcakes shop opens and the monthly military spouse link-up goes live! Please join me for a lot of fun!