The holidays have arrived, and military families know the drill. The deployed spouse or parent doesn’t get to spend every holiday at home with the family. The holidays can feel lonely and sad without the whole family around. But cheer up! There are creative ways to spice up your holidays and still feel like a connected family.
You can make military deployment a little bit cozier during the holidays! From holiday activities for families to a homemade military gift box, there are many creative ways to connect with your deployed spouse during the holidays. Stay connected with your deployed spouse or parent this holiday season!
Holiday Activities for Families
Become Pen Pals!
For the military wife or husband who loves to write, send letters to your loved one! Share family members with your deployed spouse. Letters are heartfelt and will likely make your spouse shed a tear and smile wide.
Being a pen pal is a great idea for the kids. (This will give them some extra writing practice!) More importantly, your spouse will love receiving scribbles and letters from the kids. And your kids will appreciate a way to feel more connected with their mom or dad. Make sure you send these letters early if you want them to arrive before the holidays!
Continue Family Traditions
Do your best to project a sense of normalcy into your holidays. Military families know that abnormal is the new normal, but hey, you can try! For the military wife who loves organizing and decorating, translate those skills into a project for the deployed spouse! If it’s tradition for your family to put up Christmas lights together, send your spouse some Christmas lights they can hang, too! For the families with little kids, make sure Santa visits deployed Mom or Dad, too!
Have a Holiday-Themed FaceTime Date
FaceTime dates are custom for military families these days. Spice up your FaceTime this time of year with festive activities! No seriously, you can add literal spice to your FaceTime. Make spiced nuts or drink spiced tea as a family. You can send tea bags or Christmas snacks to your loved one prior to the call! Then, you can all enjoy your snack together.
Other FaceTime holiday activities can include making a gingerbread house with the kids, leaving out cookies for Santa, or opening Christmas presents.
Photoshop Your Deployed Family Member into your Holiday Card
Military deployment doesn’t have to stop your family from carrying out Christmas traditions! Not even the holiday card! This can easily make all of your friends and family laugh. Find a clever and funny way to photoshop your spouse’s face into your family’s Christmas card. Together from Afar!
Video or Journal of Family Memories
For the sentimental, photographer, or writer military wife, collect your family's memories during deployment in a journal or video. Then, just before the holidays, send the journal or video full of memories your spouse has missed over to them! They’ll cry with happiness as they get to experience everything from your point of view.
Watch a Christmas Movie
Everyone loves Christmas movies! Laugh at Jim Carey in How the Grinch Stole Christmas or at Will Ferrell in Elf. Other great Christmas classics include Jingle All the Way with Arnold, Home Alone, A Christmas Story, The Polar Express, and A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Have your spouse start the movie at the same time as you and the kids while you FaceTime or talk on a call. You’ll be able to hear each other laugh at the funny parts!
Play Games with the Kids
If your kids are big gamers, have Dad or Mom join in on the fun! If your deployed spouse has access to an Xbox or PlayStation, this could be one of the most fun ways for your kids to connect with their Dad or Mom!
You can also play board games with your deployed spouse over a FaceTime call. Assign one of your family members to move your spouse’s player across the board. Other fun games to play include holiday-themed Pictionary, Gestures, or Trivia!
Military Gift Box
Check out our list of awesome gifts for military veterans. Toss any of these military-themed gifts into a military gift box for your spouse! Holiday care packages could include non-perishable, holiday-themed snacks, cozy socks, delicious-smelling soaps, Christmas lights, family photos, letters, and even an ugly Christmas sweater!
Military families, we hope some of these holiday activities for families help make your holidays special.