My first Christmas as a military spouse, I was an emotional wreck. John and I were celebrating the season away from home, and while it wasn’t the first time for him, it was the first time for me.
It probably goes without saying that the season was a roller coaster. There were highs and lows and in-betweens. I was totally psyched to have the chance to start our own traditions and choose which traditions we were going to bring from each one of our families. But I was missing my family terribly.
It didn’t help that John was working a ridiculously crazy shift that kept us sleep-deprived and made sure that we had no more than a few minutes together every day. There wasn’t a lot of time to talk about everything that was happening and how we felt about it. And that resulted in some pretty comical fights that we can laugh at looking back on now. (Seriously, who fights about which version to use of the same cookie recipe? I’m definitely chalking that one up to sleep deprivation. And trying to figure out how to do our first Christmas as a married couple.)
Every year, I’ve written a little bit about how to survive the holidays. After all, it’s one of those times that can bring out the absolute best (and absolute worst) in us. I’ve found that the more you can plan for and think about ahead of time, the smoother the difficult parts of the holiday season will be.
I’ve collected some of my most important and helpful pieces about navigating Christmas and the holidays and have put it here, all in one place so that you can find exactly what you need when you need it.
It’s okay if you’re having a hard time being away from your family. It’s a normal response to difficult circumstances, especially if this is the first time you’ll be celebrating the holidays without family members close by. Here are some ways to cope.
Dealing with uncertainty
Worried about an impending deployment? Maybe it’s a PCS. Or perhaps something else feels uncertain in your military journey. When everything feels up in the air (as it often can in military life), these tips might help you find some balance and stability.
Highly charged holidays can present difficult times with a lot of frustration. There are so many things to think about when it comes to the holidays, especially during deployment or when you’re far away from family. These tips can help you navigate the holidays using communication techniques that work, whether your family is a mile away or 5,000.
The holidays can be joyful… and they can also be insanely isolating. If you’re feeling incredibly lonely this year, you’re not alone.
Not feeling so jolly?
If you haven’t found the Christmas spirit this year, take a deep breath. It’s okay not to be in the Christmas spirit. It’s okay to feel out of sorts and lonely. You’re not a weirdo.
Just dealing. Period.
Perhaps you’re so overwhelmed you don’t know exactly where to start. Dealing with regular life and military life can be exhausting and tough sometimes. (That’s an understatement!) This advice from real life military spouses can help you center yourself.
When it all comes down to it…
Give yourself the grace and understanding that this year– for whatever reason– is different. And that’s okay. You are going to be okay. Your family is going to be okay. The holidays will come and they will go and your memories of this year will be special and unique.