The holidays can be emotionally trying if you’re spending them alone.  It’s supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year,” yet it can be hard when you’re away from family and friends. 


If I had to define a good thing that came about due to deployment, it would be the “chosen” family that we created. Each time the family looked different, but every time they were created completely by choice. Those are the best kind of families - think less dysfunction (wink). In Georgia during our second deployment, we had such great neighbors. Almost every one of us was missing a loved one. We came together for so many things – babysitting, carpooling, sick call, grocery runs, dinners, but especially holidays. Even though we were “alone” we were never lonely. Your unit/squadron can serve as your “chosen” family.


The following additional suggestions may help make this season a bit merrier and full of good cheer:


Crash a party. Speaking of families, there are many families all around you. Speak up and let them know you’ll be alone this holiday. Many wish to help, but they can’t if they don’t know your situation.  If that subtle hint doesn’t work, you could always choose a family that “needs” your personality and charm, so adopt them!


Throw a party. Another option is to be the host or the organizer of an event. Invite others you know who will be alone to join you in some holiday fun. My children and I hosted many holiday parties and get-togethers simply because we wanted the joy of being around others. Most people just need someone to get the ball rolling.


Give back. There are always opportunities for good will during the holidays, too. Maybe take the challenge of being alone and turn it into an opportunity to serve. You could serve dinner at the military dining facility, visit with Veterans at a nursing home, spend the evening volunteering at a local shelter, or go to church. All are ideas to serve, but also put you around people.


Pay it forward. I had a friend who spent so many holidays alone that he made being alone his tradition. During the holidays, he volunteered to work extra shifts so that those who had a family (children) could be home to be together and celebrate. That was the ultimate gift he felt he could give.


If you find yourself alone this holiday, as a result of any circumstance, consider these ideas. I hope there are some ingredients you can choose to make your own happy holiday.  


Have something to add to this story? Share your thoughts below!