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OIT Four Creative Ways to Connect to Your Deployed Spouse During the Holidays article

Four Creative Ways to Connect to Your Deployed Spouse During the Holidays

Deployment during the holidays is not a new concept for military families. Instead of wallowing in sorrow at the thought of being alone, however, military families have found creative ways to stay connected to their loved ones. Handwritten letters, emails, virtual face-to-face calls, and care packages filled with reminders – and tastes – of home keep deployed service members connected to their loved ones, despite the great distance between them.

If your family is experiencing a deployment this holiday season,  check out these unique takes on traditional (and not-so-traditional) ways to stay connected to your deployed loved one this holiday season.

1: Send them a ‘holly jolly’ care package.

Care packages are a staple when it comes to connecting deployed families. Families send their service members letters, drawings, pictures, toiletries, and even their favorite foods to show their love and appreciation for them. If you’re looking for a way to make your care package more holiday-themed, check out these merry care packages ideas:

‘12 Days of Christmas’: Send your loved one a care package with small gifts to open each day leading up to Christmas. Make it more personal by adding messages associated with each gift.

Holiday Decor: Christmas trees don’t tend to be in abundance when a service member is deployed, so sending them a care package full of holiday decor is one way to spread a little more cheer. You can include a small Christmas tree, ornaments, garland, etc. You can even send homemade decorations. Feel free to get creative with this one.

Baked goods: If your loved one is missing their favorite Christmas cookies this season, you can send them in a care package! You can also send other baked goods – brownies, small cakes, etc. Just make sure to package them well so they last!

2: Make your next FaceTime call a festive one.

Technology has certainly made it easier for military families to stay connected during deployment. This holiday season, try scheduling your FaceTime calls during Christmas morning, when the kids are opening presents, or for when the family gets together for dinner, so that you can all eat together.

3: Create precious holiday memories with a video and/or picture journal.

Not every deployed service member will be able to call home and check messages every day. However, you can still keep them involved in the holiday celebration by creating videos of Christmas morning, Christmas dinner, and sharing pictures along with special messages for the member. Some popular ways to do this is to send them to an email, or save them to a Google folder that can be accessed by both the member and the family.

4: Game Streams with the kids.

For service members who are parents to older children, one great way to connect over the holidays is to play the brand new games the kids got for Christmas with them. This is made possible with the “Live” technologies on Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and Playstation, as well as clients such as Steam and Origin on personal computer. The member can also “stream” what they are playing so that the family can watch, especially if they are playing a game with an interesting story.

We know holiday deployments can be a strain on military families, but we hope these ideas help you and your loved ones feel more connected over the holiday season! We wish all of you a happy and healthy holiday, no matter how you celebrate.