While it’s not always easy, adults can understand deployments and manage all the challenges that come with them. For kids, however, it can be harder to process why Mommy or Daddy isn’t home on Christmas morning.
Not spending Christmas together as a family is tough, but keeping kids busy doing holiday activities (especially those that involve the military) can make the season a little brighter.
Here are five ways a child with a deployed parent can embrace the holidays.
The great thing about living on a military base is that most of the time everything is right at your fingertips. During the month of December, most military bases offer special holiday programs, Christmas movies at the theaters, holiday kids’ parties and — best of all — Santa. Let your children interact with other military kids whose parents are also deployed.
Interior designer in the making
Arts and crafts are great, but craft projects that can hang in a deployed parent’s room overseas are even better. Tell your little one(s) that you are all going to decorate Mom or Dad’s room for Christmas and that they are responsible for making sure that their parent’s room looks festive.
I’ll be home for Christmas… if only through webcam
Although there is no guarantee that your spouse will be able to log online on Christmas morning, set a time to meet up that day. Save a present or two for you and the kids to open so your loved one can join in and watch. Additionally, send a special present that your service member cannot open until you get to see each other on webcam. The kids will love still being able to share time opening Christmas presents all together.
Special military-themed decorations
One of our yearly traditions (whether Daddy is home or not) is a military-themed Christmas decoration. Let your kids choose and hang a special ornament on the tree in honor of their parent. There are so many great military-themed decorations out these days that selecting one will be fun.
Mini holiday photographer
My son loves my camera and is always taking pictures of random things. Consider giving your child a disposable camera that they can use to document all the holiday activities they attend with you. Encourage them to take pictures of the family decorating, baking, building a gingerbread house, etc., and let them know you will mail the pictures overseas to their parent. This not only encourages creativity but also makes them feel as if their loved one is still part of your family’s yearly holiday traditions.