Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on the Military Spouse Advocacy Network website.
The holidays for me have always meant:
This is exactly how my holidays were spent for the first 27 years of my life, but this was before my first year as a military spouse. Everything changed last year as we prepped for our first year living over 1000 miles from where I grew up. There were many things I did differently to adapt to our new lifestyle, but there were a number of things I was able to keep the same. Here are a few tips I utilized to make my first year as a military spouse a successful one:
1. Decorate- Even if you just went through a PCS(permanent change of station) and have tons of boxes everywhere, and your to-do list is a million miles long, there is something very homey and calming about having the appropriate decor up in your new home. I know this from personal experience. We literally had just moved last year, but I immediately put up some holiday decor in our new home and not only did it help me adjust, but I think it helped the cats too.
2. Explore- Get out and do all the fun holiday things! Make crafts, get lost in a corn maze, attend the parades. Be sure to connect with other military spouses who have been around for awhile so you don’t miss out on all the fun events available in your area! Your family support program most likely will be hosting family-friendly events as well!
3. Celebrate with FOOD- If you love to cook, prepare an amazing meal for you and your spouse! Have children? Let them eat too! If you’re feeling extra generous, invite over friends and/or neighbors to enjoy a meal together. You will end up with more than just a full tummy, and many wonderful memories as well.
4. New Traditions- New home. New state. Why not start a new tradition? We did. I decided we would begin our celebration on Christmas Eve so we could spend Christmas Day relaxing. So, Christmas Eve, we went to brunch, and then came home to cook and enjoy our ultra feast. Besides eating, we also binge-watched Star Wars. Christmas day was all about relaxation, taking advantage of the beautiful weather outside, and catching up with family. We had intentions of going to the movies (I heard that’s a thing), but the relaxation took too much out of us.
5. Communicate with Home- Technology is awesome! Even from over 1000 miles away from friends and family, we still got to say hello and see their faces. We were able to FaceTime with my best friend’s family, my family, and the husband’s family on Christmas Day. Was it the same as being there? No, but it was still super amazing!
The Holidays may never be the same again, but I’m a firm believer that life is what you make it. And we made it pretty darn good!
The Military Spouse Advocacy Network’s (MSAN) mission is to create stronger military families through education, empowerment, and support. MilHousing Network is proud to work in partnership with MSAN to help military families PCS better. To learn how MSAN can support you visit https://www.militaryspouseadvocacynetwork.org/.