Deployment Holiday Traditions


We promise- there are other military spouses & significant others longing for added connection and joy during their deployment countdown too.  If you’ve struggled to connect with fellow military spouses in your area, Christmas day can be the perfect moment to extend an invitation and make new friends.

If you’re connected with your spouse’s Family Readiness Group, reach out to extend an invite to those who will be spending the holiday alone.  To keep things simple, make it a pot-luck gathering and enlist a few friends to help with decorations and setup.

You’ll be surprised how many milso’s are also looking for connection on Christmas Day, and you may even find your new deployment bestie!

During the writing of this blog, safety measure related to the COVID-19 Pandemic make in-person gatherings less feasible.  So!  We suggest considering a spouse’s zoom chat on Christmas Day to share Christmas Memories and traditions!

Fireside Chats

What if you got to have TWO Christmas mornings?  With your partner deployed, your family is likely to be experiencing “Christmas Morning” at two very different times in a 24 hour period.   If you’ve ever dreamed of a Christmas Day that never ends, this is your chance!

Plan ahead with your spouse to set up a video or phone chat on Christmas Morning YOUR time and THEIR time, even if the hour is past your typical bedtimes back at home.

To make it extra special for little ones, set aside one or two “surprise gifts” that you’ll open during the call that happens on your partner’s Christmas Morning time.  This is a great way for your deployed partner to have a bit of Christmas Cheer on their actual celebration day too (and will become a tradition your family looks forward to during deployment holidays). 


Skip It & Flip It

Who says Christmas only comes once a year? 

If celebrating without your service member feels like more of a chore than a cheer, think about postponing your celebrations and having a full-out Christmas Party after homecoming.   This is a great opportunity to cuddle up, order takeout and enjoy a serious Netflix-Binge with the whole family on the actual holiday. 

If some level of celebration is a must-do, consider downsizing your plans just a bit and using most of the day with your kiddos to craft decorations, plan snacks and food, and create a fun playlist for the delayed-Christmas that will be coming later in the year.

Service First

There’s nothing that inspires Holiday Spirit quite like helping others.  If community service on Christmas Day doesn’t typically fit in with your family’s schedule, consider adding this tradition to your December 25th plans specifically during deployments.

Whether you’re serving meals, sending cards to nursing homes, or creating care packages for other deployed service members, knowing that you’re spreading joy will lift your family’s spirits on what can often be a lonely day for those on the homefront.

Deployment Cards

From matching PJ’s to coordinated cardigans, Christmas is often a time for family photos- and deployment doesn’t have to change that!

You can still include your partner in Holiday photos- whether you’re looking for silly or sweet, you can use photo editors like Canva to remove backgrounds and add your spouse to the photo!  Check out pinterest inspiration board here for ideas!


Even more tips from Brave Crate Members: 

“Take more pictures than usual so he feels like he is here with us!! I sent him a small tree and a present as well as an advent calendar so we’re all counting down to Christmas together and have presents to open”
            – Amanda 

We are opening some gifts before Christmas morning so we are able to work around both of our schedules without the craziness of family around. And planning on doing our matching pajamas and a mini Christmas when he comes home. Our daughter will only be a year old so we’ll just wrap toys she already has so he gets to experience her opening gifts too”
            – Clare

We’re doing something small via Face time on the day and then will be opening more gifts and really celebrating once he’s home 🙂
            – Jaimee

“We will probably be opening gifts over a video call and will be taking a lot of pictures. We will be sending him a holiday care package so the kids will color pictures, write notes and maybe pick out a little present.”
            – Stephanie