For most, the holiday season is a time to come together with family to share, entertain and celebrate traditions. For families with one or more deployed service members, the holiday season can feel less than perfect, lonely and stressful. If your service member will be deployed this holiday season, here are a few ways to stay positive and make the most of the situation.

Try to keep your service member involved

If your service member is able to video message you during Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, share a happy message with them, let them share your kids’ joy when opening Santa’s presents or have a drink together via cyberspace. Don’t let the holiday season turn into a pity party, which is surprisingly easy. Chin up, try to send some positive vibes their way, whether they are able to video chat or not.

If they can’t be a part of the live festivities, film them and send them to your service member to enjoy when their schedule permits.

Focus on the positive

Keeping busy is a great way to stay positive. Bake cookies, make sure the kids are excited about seasonal activities, do something positive for others in your community and just let that Christmas cheer fill you up. The deployment is out of your control and it’s out of your service member’s control, so don’t let it ruin your holiday season. Find something you enjoy that makes you feel festive, and go for it!

Spend time with family

Family is healing. There’s no reason to spend Christmas alone. If it’s just you, this is a fantastic opportunity to fly to your family and spend some quality time together. If it’s you and the kids, invite family to come to you. Entertain some guests with fun games and tasty treats!

Be patient

The absence of your loved one is tough, there’s no denying it. But, you can focus on their return. Create a countdown craft, start working on your homecoming poster, and plan your romantic getaway for when they’re finally home. Even if their return is months into the future, getting ready during the holidays will distract you from their absence.

You could even plan a festive holiday dinner when they return, complete with presents, decorations and the whole shebang. Christmas in July! Why not?!

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