Halloween to New Years.
Can you say S-T-R-E-S-S?
The holidays get me down anyway, and doing them alone is no fun at all. If it were just me, I would forego the whole winter season completely.
I do it for the kids.
October to January. It feels like so many expectations to make everything perfect, all by myself.
The kids are older now and they have a say. They like to stay home, mostly.
We don’t want potlucks with strangers. We don’t participate in events on base. We don’t know the people Dad works with at all.
We stopped going to church because it was so fake. I don’t want pity or questions. I’m healing in my solitude.
How We Celebrate the Holidays During Deployment:
For many families and certainly for young kids, maintaining tradition is important. It offers continuity and comfort. We have certain expectations every year. Some things can be omitted or mixed up, but other things are just necessary for the holiday to feel special.
I’m an only child, so we really never did much on holidays, except with my grandmothers and they passed when I was a teenager.
My husband’s parents passed the first year we married. We’ve never celebrated holidays with family.
It was a blank slate.
We could create our own traditions!
We like to keep things simple. It keeps my stress levels down, knowing I don’t have to make everything perfect and Pinterest-worthy. We don’t do Santa. We do St. Nicholas, but they know it’s me.
For our family of six, we have several traditions.
We make and eat latkes the first night of Hanukkah, even though we’re not Jewish. We learned about Judaism in depth for homeschool church and world history and we’ve just always continued with some of the Jewish traditions.
We like to drive around, looking at Christmas lights. This is the first year in ages that we didn’t do that. I just couldn’t fit it in with the weather, kids’ schedules, and my parents visiting.
We try new recipes for cookies, muffins, cakes.
We watch certain movies during the holiday season.
Shopmas, er, Thanksgiving, is kind of a worthless holiday for us. We practice gratitude year-round.
My eldest doesn’t even like turkey. Only one child likes dressing/stuffing. There’s hardly a point making a lot of food for Thanksgiving that no one likes. We don’t care about or watch football. We can have pizza on Thanksgiving if we want to. I can make a mini buffet of lots of little snacks or appetizers and we can all eat what we like. We can do what we want. We can go to the movies. It doesn’t matter. No one dictates to us! Maybe it will even become a new tradition.
My son just announced that he can’t wait for Thanksgiving! He loves turkey and my homemade pie. Well, then. Guess there will be no deviating from that tradition at this time.
We don’t do Black Friday or Cyber Monday. I’ve been finished with holiday shopping for weeks. We want a debt-free holiday.
We eat an awful lot of ham year-round so it’s just not special. I’m not making a prime rib without my husband here to enjoy it. We can have Chinese food, Italian, or anything we want for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners! There’s a scary freedom to that.
There are some things only Dad can do or do well. So without him here, I have to mix things up.
We normally make chicken wings on New Year’s Eve, but I’m kinda scared of the deep fryer. We may have a living room picnic with a movie or even go out. Update: I did great frying chicken wings!
We can go to a movie on New Year’s Day. We usually have the traditional Southern pork, greens, and black-eyed peas for dinner.
We really like Chinese New Year and often make Asian food or go out for a special meal.
We used to travel over holidays.
We’ve been saving money and I don’t know if I want to venture out too far in snow or ice. I’m from Georgia.
My parents are 12 hours away by car.
My eldest works more when school is out.
I know lots of families move in with family or visit extensively to stave off the loneliness.
We are always trying to be frugal and debt-free, but I’m doing presents this year.
Yes, there is a bit of guilt that Dad’s not here and I probably spent more than I would have if he were home.
We may open some gifts during the nights of Hanukkah. We may open them all on Christmas Eve. I’m letting the kids decide but they can’t complain later.
Presents aren’t the most important part of the holidays, but they’re fun. The anticipation is exciting.
There’s only me, so I feel obligated to do all the things.
We spent the cold dreary days and nights together playing board games, Wii, reading, puzzles, baking.
Sometimes the togetherness gets to be a bit much and we separate to draw, read, cook, watch Netflix, or sit with the cats.
I want to rest in the presence of Jesus during Advent.
I want to model calm presence throughout the holidays in spite of the chaos and loneliness.
How do you celebrate holidays when your spouse is deployed?
You might also like:
- 10 Gifts for a Military Family
- How Deployment Affects Marriage
- How Deployment Affects Kids
- Navigating Motherhood During Deployment
- Homeschooling During Deployment
- Surviving Deployment as an Introvert Spouse