Monthly Archives: December 2012

Bah-Humbug: The Christmas I felt like Ebenezer Scrooge

Tips for dealing with being separated from loved ones during the holidaysThe holiday season can be challenging for military families stationed far from family and friends. It is difficult to maintain holiday traditions if you can’t travel home or celebrate with your loved ones. Add a deployment to the mix, and you may feel less than festive.

My husband was deployed not one, or two, but three holiday seasons in a row. Bah-humbug was my motto. I avoided the mall, holiday gatherings, and didn’t want to decorate our home. Not only did I feel alone, but I also felt guilty about celebrating while my husband was serving in harm’s way.

I tried to be strong for my husband and when he called told him I was alright and finding new ways to experience the holiday. I sent him “Christmas in a box” packages and included items we could use to celebrate together: a CD of our favorite holiday music, DVDs of our favorite holiday movies, homemade holiday snacks, and festive treats. As I thought of ways for us to celebrate “together,” my heart soften and I began to don the holiday spirit.

Here are some tips that helped me through the holidays while my husband was away:

  • Accept that this holiday season will be different: Acknowledge your feelings. The holidays without your spouse will not be the same.
  • Find ways to celebrate together: Even miles apart, there must be something you can do “together.” You can read a holiday book, listen to the same holiday music, or eat the same holiday treats.
  • Create new traditions: I decided to spend quality one-on-one time with family and cherished friends. I invited a spouse who also had a deployed husband to my home. We spent a day exchanging holiday recipes and baking. We each learned new holiday traditions and had tasty treats to share.

What advice would you share with other military families who are celebrating the holidays apart?

katiePosted by Katie Savant, Government Relations Information
Manager at the 
National Military Family Association

Military spouse scholarship: apply now!

Have you finally found the time (or energy) to head back to school, but aren’t sure how you will pay for it? Apply for a scholarship! Our Joanne Patton Holbrook Spouse Scholarship program application period is open now through January 31st. Spouses of all Uniformed Service members, including active duty, National Guard and Reserve, retirees, wounded, and survivors, are eligible to apply. Scholarships can be used for many types of programs, be it finishing your GED, or completing those last few requirements for your master’s degree. Don’t let money be the thing that holds you back from pursuing your dream career!

Apply for a military spouse scholarship at www.militaryfamily.orgAstin Laferriere, the spouse of an Army National Guardsman stationed in North Carolina, was a recipient of our scholarship in 2012. Astin is a graduate of Tennessee State University and she recently obtained her Physical Therapy license. Way to go Astin!

Licensing scholarships were a focus of our program in 2012 because we recognize the challenges that military spouses face in obtaining and maintaining licensing or certification. Read about how we’re speaking out on this topic in Congress here.

In last year’s scholarship program, we were able to assist more than 60 spouses like Astin. Applications for the 2013 Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship program are available now!

Military spouses: what obstacles have you run in to while pursuing your education? What are your educational or employment goals?

maranathaPosted by Maranatha Bivens, Communications Editor at the
National Military Family Association