After 28 years as a military spouse, I can honestly say, no two Christmases have ever been the same. The obvious difference is 18 different addresses over the 28 years, which means large artificial tree purchased for the large bay window in one house will not fit anywhere in the small transitional aparment. Also, with operating temps what they are, at least 1/3 of the holiday seasons I’ve been separated from my husband.
All military families are faced with extra challenges during the holiday season. Sometimes it’s geographically difficult or financially impossible to make our way home to join in traditional celebrations. There are times the ship is deployed so the family at home has to celebrate alone. Even when the ship is in port, some unlucky sailors pull Christmas “Duty”, meaning they have to spend a 24 hour period aboard that great big ball of steel and can’t be at home with the family. So in true military spouse fashion we find a way to make the best of the situation, be it opening presents via SKYPE with our loved one an IA or finding ways to distract the children until our duty sailor can get off the ship that morning, or sharing the holiday meal in ship’s galley with the duty sailors (one of whom we’re married to).
But we’re Navy Spouses, and hence have the ability to adapt to any situation. Here are a few “stories from the trenches” on how some Navy Spouses have handled the challenges faced during holidays over the years.