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How to deal with the holidays when your spouse is deployed

Not being near your loved ones during the holidays is a hard pill to swallow for anyone. Being a military family and living far away from your relatives while also coping with having a deployed spouse can make it easy to fall into a holiday slump.

Mom and daughter decorating Christmas tree

When your spouse is deployed, it’s important to keep your spirits up and find ways to make the holidays a fun time. This is even more important if you have children because they tend to take their emotional cues from you. Your emotional outlook will determine the environment of your household during the holiday season.

Here are five ways to deal with the holiday blues when your spouse is deployed.

Get together

Along with you, many other military spouses are dealing with deployed loved ones too. Reach out to your surrounding group of friends and plan one huge dinner. Everybody can pitch in and bring a dish while gathering for a day of laughs, good conversation and good food.

Go home

I’ve had many military spouses tell me they don’t go home during the holidays when their loved one is deployed out of guilt. My husband always told me that it’s bad enough he has to be away and without family but that doesn’t mean I should be too. While I can’t speak to everyone’s personal situation, I would hope your spouse would encourage you to be with other relatives if funds and time permit.

Help others

One of the best Thanksgivings I ever had was volunteering at a soup kitchen. It was an amazing feeling to be able to bring a smile to other faces even if only for a few hours. One great thing about deployments is getting the time and chance to do things you may otherwise not think about. If you find yourself home alone during the holidays, go and try to do good for others. It may sound a bit kumbaya-like, but it really does something for the soul. Other ways to give are adopting a soldier for the holidays through organizations like Soldiers’ Angels and making it a great holiday for them.

Take advantage of no crowds

I have always enjoyed going to the movies on Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are literally no crowds and a flick is always fun to do, especially if it means getting your mind off of something. Another great thing to do is eat out. Invite a friend or fellow mil-spouse (and their children) to enjoy the outing with you.

Keep busy

There are so many fun holiday activities you can do to not only prep your home for the holiday season but make your loved one’s holidays overseas memorable. Pinterest has great Thanksgiving and Christmas care package ideas. For Christmas invite fellow military spouses and their families over to create holiday crafts and hold a secret Santa. Military bases are known to have tree-lighting ceremonies and visits from Santa. Be sure to enjoy the festivities.

More about military families

Military homecomings: It’s not always like what you see on TV
6 Ways to keep the fire burning during deployments
How being married to the military is different than civilian marriage

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