Guest – Lisa Bell
How do military families cope during the holidays when one/both parents are gone?
Everyone loves the holidays. You get to enjoy family traditions and pass them along to the next generation … but they take time and we don’t have an endless supply of time. By adding extra activities to our busy schedule, it often means trying to do too much. It’s easy to end up so exhausted that we don’t enjoy ourselves. That’s why we’re hosting experts to share 24 holiday tips. We want to help you find ways to enjoy military holidays without too much stress, especially when one/both parents are deployed.
Favorite Holiday Activity
Lisa's favorite holiday activity is viewing holiday lights displayed around where she lives. She's found great light shows at charity events, working farms and most recently discovered a park in North Carolina (she moved recently) that you can drive through to see all the lights.
3 Tips: Military Holidays When Someone's Missing
Military holidays can be especially challenging for families when their family traditions … are missing an important family member. With children, Lisa stressed that it's important to keep the kids active in holiday activities they'll enjoy. You can find activities through your base directory or command rep, local churches and the newspaper will list Christmas related things to do like parades and field trips.
Here are Lisa Bell's tips from a lifetime (her husband recently retired from the military) of moving and celebrating the holidays without her husband, or family nearby. One way that Lisa found to fill her time was to become an entrepreneur and start a business, www.SolarProducts.me.
- Don't try to overcompensate for a missing spouse. It's best to be open with your children and share your feelings, which in turn will let them share their feelings too.
- Join activities with other military families who understand the challenges of military holidays. You'll have adults to relate to and your children will have other kids to interact with who are dealing with similar issues.
- Create new family traditions for your family, ones that don't depend on the missing spouse. These will be more effective giving if they're done away from home, to get away from reminders of your missing family member. Consider outdoor activities, crafts at a community center, a trip to a museum or the mountains, or even shopping can all provide new memories.
If you’d like to listen to Lisa and I talking about her holiday tips for military families, click to listen to the recording …
Most Important Holiday Goal
Lisa looks forward to the holidays where she reconnects with family and friends, some that she hasn't seen for a while. Having moved frequently, she also makes new friends wherever she goes, building a network of friends wherever she lives. She calls this trait one of her military survival skills.