The Holiday Split

The holiday split - how do military families decide where to spend the holidays?It is that time of year again.  The time when you look back on the past 12 months and wonder where the days have gone. The time when the weather gets cooler, the kids are back in school and we are suddenly in the midst of the hectic holiday season! There are many things to think about regarding the holidays but probably the main question brought up before they start is: “Where are we going to spend them?”

This question can easily become an argument in many households. One spouse might feel like they don’t see their family enough and that should justify spending one holiday there. Another spouse might feel like their family holds more traditions and cannot see being away for the year. When you are a military family, this decision seems to get even harder.

It is a rarity that we live near our families. Maybe one tour during our military careers will put us near our loved ones, but let’s face it, we go where the job is.  That being said, visits are hard to come by and the holiday season might be the only time to see extended family during the year. Now, don’t go putting too much pressure on the situation or on your spouse. It is important to remember that holidays are supposed to be fun. We need to enjoy the time with those that we love.

If you and your spouse have this argument every year, it is time for a change. Make it easy and say we will do Thanksgiving at one house and Christmas at another. Then, the next year, you can switch! If it seems like other family members are putting pressure on you, then be honest with them about what you can and cannot do. Family is important, but they are also supposed to be understanding.

In the military, there are many men and women who cannot come home for the holidays at all. We always need to remember that and not feel so bad when choosing where to go because at least you have the choice!

How do you decide where to spend the holidays?

Posted by Rebecca Brinkley, a Volunteer with the National Military Family Association

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