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Military OneSource Tip of the Week - Holiday Stress and Deployment

Source: Military Community and Family Policy (MC&FP) Weekly eNewsletter

The winter holidays can be stressful for anyone, but when your loved one is deployed, they can be especially difficult. You may experience a range of emotions, from worry to loneliness -- even anger and disappointment. The holidays may magnify those feelings, but they can also be a time to strengthen your emotional commitment to your service member and your family.

Plan ahead for the Holidays

If possible, sit down with your deployed service member before your separation to talk about how you will mark the holidays. If you are already apart, discuss your plans through letters, e-mail, or telephone calls.

  • Get an early start with gifts and cards. Depending on where your loved one is stationed, it can take a week or more for a package to arrive from the United States. Give yourself plenty of time to make or purchase and send your gift so your service member will receive it in time for the holiday. If you have children, ask them to write their gift lists early to avoid last-minute purchases that may put you over your budget.
  • Record a holiday message. Borrow a video camera or tape recorder if you don't have one, and record yourself and other family members wishing the service member a happy holiday season. Do this far enough in advance so your loved one receives it in time for the holiday. Include a "Do not open until…" note on the package asking your service member to wait until the day of the holiday to view or listen to the recording.
  • Take lots of pictures. Take pictures of you and your family decorating for the holidays, celebrating, and on the holiday itself, opening gifts. Send these to your service member so he or she will feel included in the festivities.
  • Be flexible with phone calls. Calls home are unpredictable, so it's best not to count on a phone call from your service member on the holiday itself. You might want to aim for a call during the week of the holiday instead.


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