NAVIGATING A MILITARY CHRISTMAS FOR SERVICE MEMBERS AND CIVILIANS
By Buddy Blouin
A military Christmas is often different than the traditional holidays experienced by civilians. Everyone deals with work schedules and life events that can potentially displace their family for the holidays; however, things can often be more stressful for the military community. Not only are you dealing with being separated in many cases, but those separated because of deployment to war zones face a different type of anxiety altogether. Even as the wars in the Middle East wind down, there are still many service members protecting America all around the world. No matter what holiday you celebrate, if you’re facing such issues, we’re here to help you get through this season with helpful tips, and for civilians, learn more on how you can support our heroes.
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Demystifying the Military Christmas: Does the Military Get a Christmas Bonus?Determining whether or not military Christmas workers receive a bonus can be a bit blurry; however, while it doesn’t appear a bonus during the holidays is the norm, there's always a possibility. Furthermore, for many serving, it will include a paid day off of work. But Christmas in the military still doesn’t mean that everyone is off. Troops still need to be available to man critical areas of national and regional defenses across the globe. This can range from standing guard at a base to watching for potential nuclear strikes and everything in between. Some military members, such as those on undetectable subs or on special operations, may not even be in contact at all due to logistics or safety. There’s also the elephant in the room. Bonus or no bonus, and even with the time off, deployed military personnel aren’t able to be with loved ones. Some may not even be able to contact them, again, due to security or logistics. Finding ways to celebrate can be as easy as finding the right gift, connecting online whenever you can, and planning around a hectic schedule to create your own memories.
What To Get a Military Man for ChristmasMan or not, who doesn’t love the tradition of gift-giving during the holidays? For those deployed, this can be an especially great option to spread holiday cheer with those who aren’t able to make it home. Here are some helpful tips when celebrating a military Christmas:
- Anything you get follows the same rule: It needs to come from the heart. Whether they're serving stateside or around the world, the thought you put into your gift matters.
- A great gift idea for someone deployed is anything that can remind them of home. You’ll want to be sure to follow the military and USPS regulations for shipping to military bases; however, any comfort provided that reminds them of home is a great place to start.
- Grooming kits, toiletries, and gear such as sunglasses or flip-flops may not be flashy, but they go a long way. When they’re deployed, these luxuries and necessities aren’t always available.
- Plan an experience for when they return. This can be difficult depending on your circumstances, but ultimately, quality time together is too often lost while serving. This is a great way to ensure family time and can bring joy even beyond the holidays.
Need more advice? Check out our holiday military gift list here!
Sacrifices Hit Harder During the HolidaysA military Christmas is going to bring different emotions for different families, and families dealing with a deployed Christmas face even more unique feelings. Christmas military service amplifies pain for some, but it should also remind us all of what it takes to keep the U.S. free. The American Armed Forces are well known for their bravery, skill, and toughness on the battlefield, but these are still humans dealing with personal lives. The holidays can be a source of jubilation or misery for everyone. To those of us enjoying our time with loved ones, it’s important to remember to support those around us who may be dealing with more than one battle this holiday season.
How To Adopt a Military Family for ChristmasIf you’re looking to support our military community this holiday season, you won’t have to look far to do so. Thankfully, there are many ways to spread cheer and say “Merry Christmas military” to those serving and their families. Here are some great options:
- Soldiers’ Angels Adopt-A-Family is a great charity that helps provide money for food and delivers gifts for military families.
- Operation Christmas Spirit is a great way to fulfill the wishlists of children in military families throughout the holiday season.
- Adopt a Wounded Warrior/Gold Star Family through Operation Ward 57 this year and give gifts and gift cards to help create a holiday to remember.
Suggested read:Celebrating Military Dogs on National Best Friends Day
The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement. Photo by Cpl. Amber Stephens 982nd Signal Company (Combat Camera) (Airborne)
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