1. Spend Time on Memory Lane
We often resist letting ourselves remember how great it is when our partner is home because it can bring up pain to do this. However, I firmly believe that when done intentionally, enjoying memories can mostly bring joy and warmth and connection (even if it comes with a little bit of pain).
Try making a fun photo and video slideshow from holidays past. Share it with your partner and watch it frequently. Don’t be afraid if some days it brings some tears. Hopefully most days it brings lots of joy and love. Be open to everyone’s experience and the conversations that come up from this activity.
2. Be Flexible
Find a balance between hanging on to the way your celebrations usually go and abandoning your traditions completely. Be flexible and open minded in order to come up with creative alternatives that stay true to what you’re used while adjusting for reality and to find ways to include your partner. When your are focused on solutions instead of problems then solutions will feel prevalent. When you are in this frame of mind you will do things like brainstorm with your loved ones for good ideas, ask people for help, google ideas, be willing to try new things.
Some fun ideas along these lines are things like make fun care packages, dress up for face time calls, digital caroling, celebrate second Christmas when they are back even if it’s summer, make fun treats and crafts that can be enjoyed and mailed, explore virtual options like online gaming, virtual potlucks, holiday game night, have a holiday movie night, open presents together, involve neighbors/friends/extended family when appropriate, find charities to support or service to provide, wear matching clothes on special days even if you’re a world apart, create holiday themed Open When cards.
3. Let it be Bitter Sweet
You will be surprised how the sweet can get sweeter when it comes to holiday celebrations when you make room for the parts that will be extra hard this year because he’s away. So often when we resist something because we’re focused on how it might be hard we miss out on the sweet parts. Make room for the hard parts, let them be hard, and soak in all of the amaing sweet that typically comes with it.
It can be a game changer for each party to communicate their expectations, their feelings, their experiences, and their preferences around these important celebrations. This helps us not need to play the guessing game when it comes to expectations. Another important thing to keep in mind is that we need to make sure we are not solely relying on our partner to take care of all of our celebration expectations and visa versa. If this is something you or your partner struggles with, there is a higher chance you will expereince extra disappointment and frustration.
The most important way to feel connected and include your partner during your holiday celebrations is to be kind to yourself, kind to others, and open to the way things are going. When we are harsh on ourselves and resist our current reality we add lots of extra suffering and disconnect ourselves from others. Keep things simple, stay in the moment, make yourself and your partner a priority, and remember that all of this is temporary.
Wanna add a little JOY to the next month of deployment
Check out this FREE printable deployment countdown chain!