By Nelma Lumme
SpouseLink Guest Blogger

Christmas is for family. But sometimes family members live far away, and we don’t see them at Christmastime. And sometimes a Military Spouse is deployed in a foreign country and cannot be home for the holiday. Not that it gets any easier, but if this is the first time you are without your spouse at Christmas, it can be a tough time.

You may not really feel like celebrating. You may not feel like getting out those decorations or doing any baking. Shopping doesn’t bring any excitement. It’s easy to let the “doldrums” take over, but you can fight them and turn your holiday into a special time for yourself and your kids if you have them. Here are 7 things you can do.

1. Visit family, or invite family to visit you

This is not always possible, but if it is, do it. Having others who cares close by really will raise your spirits and keep your mind occupied. Plan outings with those family members while you are together.

2. Plan Christmas Day with other Military Spouses who are alone

Chances are, they are having a tough time, too. If you plan Christmas day and dinner with a few of them, none of you will feel alone on this holiday.

Have a big potluck meal and plan for the day to last into the evening. And take turns having FaceTime with other Military Spouses while you’re at it.

3. Volunteer

Nothing makes a person feel better than giving back in some way. There are a number of organizations who can use your help during the holiday season, even on Christmas Day. Your local USO or Salvation Army is a good place to start, but there are many church-related groups that serve others on Christmas Day, too. There are children in the hospital during Christmas – how about setting up a group of other Military Spouses, purchasing some gifts, and bringing some cheer to those children. And when you do something like this, you will discover that you have much to be thankful for this holiday season.

4. Write a blog post

Once you have realized all of the blessing you do have, consider writing a blog post with suggestions for others who may be spending Christmas alone. Submit it to a MilSpouse blog or writing service, such as Rewarded Essays, where it might just be read by foreign students who may be spending Christmas far away from their families, too.

5. Do something special, but plan a second Christmas, too

Most Military Spouses have a good idea of when their “other halves” will be home, if only for a short leave. Plan a Christmas, complete with a tree, decorations, and gifts, no matter what time of year it is.

Spend some time during the holiday season planning for this special Christmas, though it may be months away.

6. Permit yourself to feel a little sad

It’s okay to let your emotions out once in a while, and being sad because of a missing souse during Christmas is normal. You may get a bit tearful; you may be quieter than normal thinking about your Military Spouse. So, let those feeling flow, so long as they do not consume you. Have a good cry, pick yourself up, and plan a busy activity of some sort.

7. Have a plan

Don’t let Christmas just creep up on you all of a sudden and then let the “blues” take over. Plan in advance to do something special for several days before Christmas, of course on Christmas Day, and for a few days afterward. One outing a day will do wonders for your attitude, even if it is just visiting a friend.

Yes, it’s tough. But my grandmother used to say this to me often: There are so many others in this world who have permanent hard times. Don’t let the temporary ones take over and ruin your attitude. Get yourself busy, do for others, enjoy the family and friends that are around, and let yourself be just a little sad.

About Nelma Lumme

Nelma is freelance content writer. Originally from Finland, she now lives in Chicago, IL. Nelma studied sociology at the University of Tampere, and after her graduation, she worked as HR manager at the textile company. Now she helps people with career questions, providing useful tips for recruiters and employees through her articles. Her topics of interest cover mostly psychology, career development, self-improvement and relationships. You can follow Nelma on Twitter and Facebook.

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