The December holiday season can be very stressful for some people. Military families, with the possibility of loved ones being deployed during the holidays, can find it hard to keep spirits bright. Here are five ways for military families to connect over the holidays while a loved one is deployed:
- Give Back: This time of year is called "The Season of Giving" for a reason. You will be surprised by how filled your heart will be by helping others who are in need. Seek out those opportunities to volunteer your time. Don't let the holiday blues stop you from enjoying the kindness of others.
- Say Yes: There may be times when you may want to avoid some of the festivities because they are so out of sync with how you're feeling. If you accept a holiday invitation to someone's home, give yourself some leeway. Be up front when you accept the invitation. Let them know that you will try to participate but that you may well excuse yourself at some point. You may even carry a prewritten letter in your pocket explaining why you are leaving and thanking the host. Even if you never use the letter, it may give you peace of mind while attending social events because you have a polite "out."
- Make an Ornament: Creating an ornament for your tree is a fun family tradition. For those creativity-challenged among us, you can buy an ornament, go to an ornament-making class at a local craft store, or paint premade ornaments. The hunt for the perfect ornament each year can become a yearly family tradition.
- Opening Gifts over Video Chat: If it is possible, try to open gifts over video chat. This is a great way to feel connected. If you have kids, this would make their holidays a special one.
- Send Some Love: Receiving a care package while deployed can be a real morale-booster. Picking out items, sending photos, creating homemade art and packing them can help your family feel closer to your loved one. They will appreciate anything you send as well.