The music is in the air, people are stringing lights, the world is full of smiles and laughter; Christmastime is here. But, for military families the holidays can be a bit different. Not worse, not better, just different. Coast Guard, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, National Guard, and Army spouses weighed in on the topic.
25 Things Only a Military Spouse Would Understand about Christmas…
25 | An artificial tree is a must for some families!
There is no shame in pulling a tree out of a box rather than chopping one down from the woods. A fake tree helps keep the Christmas spirit alive in some cases. Deployments, duty, and other obligations can keep your spouse away from home on Christmas morning. Having an artificial tree means you can celebrate in November, December, or January!
24| Cook extra!
If your spouse is home this holiday season, you can count on him or her to invite stray Marines to Christmas dinner. But as the saying goes, the more the merrier! And that certainly held true for a Marine Corps spouse stationed overseas with her husband. He said he invited “a couple” guys over; thirty showed up! That’s ok, just more hands to help with dishes.
23 | Mac ‘n Cheese is OK.
If you’re spending Christmas alone or with a couple of kids…it’s okay to go light on the meal. No one will judge you if your holiday meal consists of a box of macaroni. If it keeps the kids happy, make it.
22 | Christmas songs take on a whole new meaning.
Mariah Carey was speaking directly to military spouses when she recorded ‘All I Want for Christmas is You,’ right? And as far as ‘I’ll be Home for Christmas,’ goes…it’s okay if you burst into tears while shopping for gifts and the song comes over the loudspeakers.
21 | Your “family” is right here!
You may not be “home” for the holidays, but you’re still with your family.
No matter what branch your loved one serves under, we’re all family. Whether you’re an Army spouse surrounded by soldiers and their families or a Navy spouse drowning in sailors, we’re all in this together. We are the Military Spouse Community. Oftentimes, our “military family” provides better support and empathy than our blood relatives. It’s all about experiencing the ups and downs together…and celebrating the holidays as one.
20 | Thanksgiving dinner can be cooked any day of the week, any month of the year.
“In 2012 we had several friends who were deployed for Thanksgiving, so since Thanksgiving was a favorite holiday for a few of them, we had Thanksgiving again when they got back…in July,” Marine Corps Spouse Kyle Skinner said. Calendars have taken on little meaning for many military families (except when counting down the days to a homecoming!) we have to celebrate holidays our own way…on our own time.
19 | Savvy shopping is the way to go!
It isn’t uncommon for military families to survive on a single income. But that doesn’t mean spouses have to sacrifice great products and gifts. Military spouses have perfected the art of bargain and consignment shopping and coupon clipping to create fabulously decorated homes and sneak some amazing gifts under the tree. Here’s some last minute Christmas gifts on a budget!
18 | Skype and FaceTime are as good as gold.
Three deployments in four and a half years for one couple turned into a lot of time chatting over the Internet and sending care packages. Signing into Skype, or catching one another for a moment on FaceTime, often marks important moments; they’re not forgotten.
17 | Good intentions can backfire.
In-laws like to help, right? But sometimes their “help” can harm a situation. One military spouse said that the decision to allow her in-laws to visit over the holidays while her husband was away turned out to be the worst Christmas ever. “They constantly proclaimed that this holiday is so hard for them because their son is gone,” she said. What about the spouse missing the other half and kids missing a parent? Sometimes you have to be a military spouse to understand which phrase can send us off our rockers!