Wendy Poling
Frequent Contributor

Last month we focused on giving thanks and how living in gratitude can actually make us happier.


This holiday season there will be thousands of military spouses who will spend the holidays without their loved one. This can be one of the hardest seasons to live in gratitude knowing you will be separated from your loved one, but I challenge you to take a moment to think of someone else whose situation is just a little tougher than yours. When that happens we can start to feel grateful for what we have, versus upset for what we don't have.


If your spouse is deployed this Christmas, I'm sending you love and thanks for your sacrifice this holiday season. What you do on the homefront is important and does not go unnoticed.


When my husband was deployed over Christmas and all my civilian friends were out shopping and filling up their cars with their favorite things for family and friends, all I wanted for Christmas was my Sailor home. Since I knew that wasn't going to happen I had to find a way to pass the time and still make it enjoyable for my family.


What did I do?


Well, I went along the business of preparing for Christmas and you can too.


I brought down all the boxes from the walk-in attic. I put up every single Christmas decoration we had, including his collection of Santa's that I would have rather kept in their box since every time I looked at them they only reminded me how much I missed him. I put up Christmas lights outside of our home. I chose to put them on the bushes only after a failed attempt to put them on our roof. My ladder and I are not friends. It was okay though; the lights still looked great and greeted me when I came home in the dark. I baked cookies and shipped them to family. Even though I wasn't smiling through most of the activities after I was done I actually felt better. I felt better knowing I was keeping our family traditions going while he was away. Plus, he was also happy knowing I was trying to enjoy my favorite time of the year.


In a time when perhaps the only thing on your Christmas wish list is your loved one home, how are you doing this holiday season?


How are you staying positive? Have you put up your holiday decorations? Are you volunteering with your local command spouse readiness group or local church? We want to hear how you are staying connected, building friendships and enjoying the season.


Related video:
The 12 Stages of Deployment Holiday Style