How to Celebrate Thanksgiving When a Family Member is Deployed


Celebrating any holiday alone or without a family member can be hard. Thanksgiving is hard because of how family-oriented it is. It may be a time to remember our blessings, but it's hard to be thankful when someone is missing from our family.

Even though you may not feel like celebrating Thanksgiving this year, it's still good to get up out of your rut and do something special. Here are five ways to celebrate Thanksgiving when a family member is deployed.

5 Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving

1. Make a Thanksgiving Care Package.
I know this one may be a given, but there are so many ways to make a great Thanksgiving care package! You can make one for your deployed family member or you can make one for a military family who is far from home and needing a little cheer.

If you have kids, get them involved in the fun too! Use this time to teach them how to give to others and what the true meaning of Thanksgiving really is. You can send them baked goods in mason jars, turkey jerky and many other things that remind them of the holiday! If you search for themed care packages I’m sure you’ll find some great ideas!

2. Make a "Thankful for..." List.
While this Thanksgiving may be harder than others to come up with things to be thankful for, it's still good to find those little things that you know you are blessed with. Make a "Thankful for..." list with as many things you can think of that you are thankful for.

If you get a chance ask your deployed member to help you come up with the list of what you are both thankful for too. You may be surprised at how many things you find even during this tough season!

3. Adopt a Family.
This Thanksgiving stay busy by doing something for someone else! Find a family you can "adopt" and give back to them by having them over for Thanksgiving dinner. Enjoy giving to a family in need or a family who also has a family member who is deployed. You will be surprised at how much thanksgiving you will have in your heart when you do something for someone else!

4. Let a Family Adopt YOU.
When my husband was deployed during Thanksgiving back in 2011, a family from our church "adopted" my son and I and had us over for Thanksgiving. We had a wonderful day and spending time with that family kept my mind off the sadness of missing my husband.

If someone invites you over, don't stay home! Go out; enjoy a good dinner, and some good company. You may be surprised at how much fun you have and how much you and your family really needed this time.

5. Have a Special Military Spouse Thanksgiving Dinner.
If your deployed member is part of a unit that deployed together, plan a Thanksgiving event where all of those families can get together. You can do a potluck dinner or have each person bring a side, and have a Thanksgiving feast with the "family" that always has your back. It will be a Thanksgiving everyone is sure to remember!

Kathryn Sneed is a Christian military wife and mother to two special needs kids. She blogs about marriage, motherhood, and military life at and loves spending time with friends and going on date nights with her husband!


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