Sadly, someone has to be deployed for Christmas. If it’s your sailor, you’re not alone in this, but that also doesn’t always make it feel better.
In most submariner’s years of service they’re likely to miss a holiday, anniversary, birthday, etc. Many submarine families choose to pick a new date when the sailor is home to celebrate. Preparation is key! The number of days heads up you are provided regarding their departure can certainly make this plan more or less difficult. Most importantly, communication between you and your sailor is paramount. Everyone has very different feelings about the holidays and what means the most to them- what they want to participate in and what they can skip. The first decision to make is: do you celebrate before or after they are at sea.
Here is a list of ways to celebrate early or late:
- Exchange gifts- Be sure to pick a time early enough for shipping and shipping delays to occur.
- Write a special letter to Santa to have Santa come on the designated Christmas day for your family.
- Buy and/or save holiday candy and treats.
- Send a holiday box to sea- Not too dissimilar to a halfway box just holiday themed: include cards from family and friends, maybe small gifts like a picture collage mug, magnetics, small games, candy.
- Have your sailor leave something for you to open in return- card, video, gift, send an edible arrangement, etc.
- Complete holiday activities early or late depending on timing- light displays may still be running, buy a Gingerbread House kit and save it for their return, bake cookies, holiday movies are always available to watch, etc.
- Find other couples or families who are literally in the same boat to celebrate with.
- An option is to ignore it all together depending on your preferences.
How do you cope with missing holidays or important days? Any advice you can pass on to someone who is navigating this for the first time?