As the holiday season approaches, the air becomes filled with an undeniable sense of magic and anticipation. Beyond the twinkling lights and festive decorations lies a deeper aspect that enriches this time of year: holiday traditions. These cherished customs, passed down through generations, hold profound importance in our lives, offering a sense of continuity, connection, and comfort.
It is a time of joy, togetherness, and cherished traditions. For most families, it’s a time to gather, celebrate, and create lasting memories. However, for military families, the holidays can be bittersweet as their loved ones may be deployed or stationed far from home. This separation can take a toll on both parents and children, making the festive season a challenging period. In this blog, we’ll explore how hosting celebrations for the holidays can play a vital role in supporting the children of military families, offering them a sense of stability, connection, and hope.
embrace traditions, old and new
Traditions hold a special place in our hearts, offering a sense of continuity and belonging. Military families can carry forward cherished traditions from home to home, no matter where they are stationed. Additionally, consider adopting new traditions that reflect the unique experiences of military life, such as decorating a “family tree” with photos of absent loved ones;, sending care packages to deployed family members; or hosting active duty members who did not have the chance to go back home for the holidays. These can be meaningful ways to create new traditions that celebrate unity and love.
creating a sense of normalcy
Children thrive on routine and familiarity, and the holidays are a significant part of that routine. When their parents serve in the military, the constant changes and uncertainties can disrupt this stability. Hosting a holiday gathering can provide a much-needed sense of normalcy for these children, allowing them to engage in familiar traditions, celebrate with loved ones, and temporarily forget the challenges that military life may bring.
fostering a strong support system
The support system around a military family extends beyond just the immediate family members. Friends, neighbors, and fellow military families often form a tight-knit community that offers comfort and understanding. Hosting for the holidays allows these networks to come together, reinforcing the sense of belonging for the children. Surrounding them with people who share similar experiences can make them feel understood and less alone, promoting emotional well-being. Moreover, creating, and participating in community events is a great way of building bonds with your fellow community members.
keeping connections alive
In the digital age, staying connected has become easier, even for those separated by great distances. The recent COVID-19 pandemic taught many of us how to embrace the virtual world that keeps us limitlessly connected with our loved ones. Hosting an online holiday celebration allows children to reconnect with their parent who might be deployed or stationed away from home. Things like FaceTime, Zoom, Teams, Whatsapp and Skype all help facilitate continued communication. This face-to-face interaction provides a tangible reminder of the love and commitment that binds the family together.
providing joy and excitement
The holiday season is synonymous with joy, excitement, and magic, especially for children. For children of military families, it can be challenging to feel the same level of enthusiasm when their parents are absent. Hosting a holiday celebration brings the festive spirit to their lives, helping them experience the joy of the season and creating fond memories that they can cherish throughout their lives.
create memory-filled crafts
Crafting is a wonderful way to bond and create lasting memories. Engage children in holiday-themed crafts that they can look back on fondly in the years to come. Handmade ornaments, personalized stockings, and DIY decorations add a personal touch to the festivities and become cherished keepsakes.
Growing up in a military family requires a level of resilience beyond what most non-military children experience. The constant adjustments, relocations, and separations can shape these children into strong, adaptable individuals. Hosting for the holidays reinforces this resilience by showing them that despite the challenges, they can find ways to come together, celebrate, and support one another.
document the moments
Capture the magic of the season by taking plenty of photos and videos. Encourage children to document their experiences, whether it’s decorating the house, baking cookies, or spending time with friends and family. These memories can be compiled into a scrapbook or digital album, serving as a beautiful reminder of the joy and togetherness they experienced during the holidays.
a beacon of hope
The holidays are often associated with hope and optimism for the future. For children of military families, this hope can be essential in maintaining a positive outlook, especially during challenging times. Hosting for the holidays emphasizes that even in the face of adversity, there is still a space for happiness, love, and anticipation for better days ahead.
Hosting for the holidays plays a significant role in supporting the children of military families. By providing a sense of normalcy, fostering a strong support system, keeping connections alive, and creating moments of joy and excitement, these gatherings offer children a respite from the challenges of military life. Moreover, they cultivate resilience and instill a sense of hope that resonates far beyond the holiday season. As we celebrate with our own families during this time, let’s not forget the meaningful impact that our gatherings can have on those who sacrifice so much to serve our country.