It’s sometimes hard to celebrate the holiday season.
We live far from family. Most of the year we can keep our homesickness easily at bay, but around the holidays the homesickness is at its worst.
Since my husband is in the Air Force, we’ve never lived near family, and it’s been difficult for our large family to travel to visit them – finances, schedules, and the distance just make it nearly impossible.
My kids have never had a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving or a huge Christmas celebration, complete with cousins galore.
I realize they don’t know what they’re missing. It’s all my perception and guilt.
I avoid Pinterest from fall to New Year’s so I am not inundated with all the crafts, recipes, gift ideas, and family imagery.
My smile does not reach my eyes, and my LOLs are lies when social media statuses regale the family celebrations – and the accompanying complaints and woes of families crammed close during a stressful season.
Some of us just find it less joyful and struggle to reach that level of gratefulness.
Aaron’s parents are gone already and there will be no more visits. Sisters become estranged with so little communication. We feel all but forgotten. My children don’t even know my parents because they’re not a part of our lives.
The traditions we develop at each duty station are fun, but often can’t be continued as we move to new locations. My daughters asked me the other day if we’re having the annual holiday dinner at church. Are we doing the ornament exchange? I was so saddened to explain that those events were at our last church in Utah, and the church we’re attending now in Germany doesn’t have any events like that.
Sometimes Christmas is Bittersweet.
Our memories shape our perception, and when our reality doesn’t permit our holidays to meet our expectations, it can be disappointing.
Do remember those who might be isolated this holiday season.
Certainly single military have it hard. Invite them for celebrations with your family so they don’t have to spend it alone. Military families love being welcomed into your home to share new traditions and meals too. If you’re already crowded, have a cookie exchange or dessert party or take them your favorite pie. They’ll love the thought, trust me.
Those Who Have Lost Loved Ones
I am so thankful I urged my husband to drive from Texas to Illinois for our second Christmas. His dad had passed in April, and his mom would be spending her first Christmas without him. We couldn’t have know it would be her last Christmas. So glad we have those memories with her. Take extra care with those who have recently lost loved ones. Holidays are surely sad without having them around to share it with anymore.
Families with Illness
Families with someone experiencing a chronic illness might not have time, finances, or interest in traditional holiday events. Take them a meal, a useful gift, a pretty card – or even a phone call or short visit to show you care. Ask what you can do to help during this difficult time of year that is more stressful for their family. Caring for a sick family member takes all precedence.
Don’t feel guilty that there are families out there who are struggling during the holidays. Just be aware and try to ease their burden.
Do you have ideas for helping those have a difficult time during the holidays? Please share in the comments!