girl sitting alone by the Christmas tree

Oftentimes military life takes us far away from our extended families. This can make celebrating the holidays lonely and melancholy.

This is our second year in a row away from home due to my spouse’s assignment to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. What makes it tough is having a child and coming to the realization about all of the traditions and time he is missing with our extended family each year. It definitely makes my heart sad for him, but I can’t allow myself to stay in that place for too long. It’s my job, as a mother, to create special memories for my child whether we are near family or far from them.

Creating traditions for your family

Instead of sitting in that state of loneliness, I decided to look around me and figure out how I could make the holidays special for all of us and rich with our family’s blend of southern, northern, and Sicilian traditions. How did I do this? I started with food and planning a menu. I incorporated some staples in my family’s traditions as well as my husband’s.

With all the food I planned to cook, I decided that we needed more than just us at the table. So, I looked around and found others in my immediate network who might be alone at the holidays. Then, I invited them to share a meal with my family.

Inviting others to be a part

Instead of sulking in a state of loneliness, it’s important to find a way to have joy, despite being away from family. Humans are social creatures and whether we admit it or not, being around others is therapeutic in many ways. Look around you and find others who might be far from family, like you. Are they going to be alone at the holidays too? Be the one to open your heart and home to others in your network. All it takes it one invite to change both their holidays and yours in a positive way. It’s a win-win for everyone.

After food activities

After eating a heavy meal, it is important to move. Going outside for some fresh air is a great way to get some movement in. This is also another great way to create a memorable time for your family. After the fun of your own backyard wears off, create a back-up plan. Find a local place to go for some additional outdoor time.

In our case, we drove to a local wildlife refuge and visited a place called The Holy City, which was both beautiful and serene. It gave us all a refresh after such a large meal together.

You Can Still Make the Holidays Special

The reality of spending the holidays away from family can be a tough pill to swallow. It can make you feel more lonely than you might already be feeling. It doesn’t have to be that way though. It is possible for you to make your holidays special, even far from family. Plan a nice meal, invite others to join, and make time for some fresh air-all of which can be therapeutic to you and your family’s soul while spending the holidays without your extended family.

© Strength 4 Spouses LLC, 2021.