If you were asked to describe with one word how the holiday season feels, you’d probably come up with words like joy, peace and magical. After all, that’s what we want it feel like; that’s what is on display on social media and our favorite Christmas movies. If we really sit down and think on it, days leading up to Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa probably feel the exact opposite of peaceful. With the shopping, the decorating, the parties and programs, it actually ends up being one of the busiest, most chaotic times of year -- rivaling only the end of your kids' school year and moving to a new duty station. Let’s not even get into when the holiday season coincides with PCSing!
Our community is known for being a family. Phrases such as “my military family” are a natural occurrence and we can pull together and support like no other.
During this season, it’s easy to get wrapped up in our own busy. In fact, I think it’s quite natural to be so worn out from trying to create the magic of Christmas, that we miss opportunities to bring joy and peace to our extended military family that could use it most. Our families that are missing a piece of their heart -- Gold Star families, and families with deployed service members could use a little extra joy and peace this season, don’t you think?
Small, simple acts this month could make all the difference in changing the trajectory of our military family’s days. Who do you know with a deployed spouse? Is there a Gold Star spouse that you can remind that you’re there for them? Here are a few ideas to bring a little peace and joy to them this Christmas.
Cozy Socks and Chamomile TeaCan’t you just picture them curled up on their favorite spot on their couch, watching This Is Us (because who ISN’T watching that show and crying) after putting the kids down?
Diffuser and Essential OilsEssential oils are increasingly popular. While oils are said to have many benefits, for gifting purposes they’re a great safe alternative to candles (especially with young children in the home) and smell great, which adds to creating a relaxing environment.
Scented Candle and BookChoosing the perfect scent and book speaks to the old saying “It’s the thought that counts." It’s not so much the gift, as the thought that went in to picking out a scent that you know they’ll like and a book that can help her ‘escape’ for just a bit. It shows that you know her OR you went out of your way to get to know what she likes.
Adult Coloring Book and Markers/Color PencilsI know we’re doing arts and crafts a lot this time of year, but there’s something about sitting down by yourself and coloring that is therapeutic. Adult coloring books are super trendy now! There are so many different themes; from great patterns to some with more “colorful” language (pun intended).
Bath Bomb and Spa PillowAllow her to soak all her stress away! Bath bombs are usually loaded with fragrant essential oils (told you it was trendy) and can encourage relaxation and rejuvenation.
Let’s not forget our military spouses that are guys. Male military spouses may have the same experiences as women, but we don’t talk about them as often. They may not enjoy the bath bombs as much, but there are definitely ways that we can give them a bit of peace this holiday season as well. I’d love to hear some ideas on what to gift the male military spouse, whose wife is deployed or gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
The key in gifting the Solo Military Spouse is simply to add some calm to their life…to give them that peace and joy if only for a few moments. Of course, there are bigger things you can do. Take the children out to give Mom/Dad a few hours of alone time. Invite the entire family over for an ornament or cookie exchange, or even a movie night. There are so many ways that we can really personify being a real, true military family this season.
It’s time to look around and take care of each other in small ways that make big impacts.