How To Cope When the Most Wonderful Time of The Year Is Anything But

Deployment (619x640)
The holidays can be rough on military families.

“Happy Hanukkah!”

“Merry Christmas!”

“Happy Kwanzaa!”

We offer these warmest of wishes during “the most wonderful time of the year” with a smiling face and the expectation that the person we are saying them to will return them with the same excitement and sparkle in their eye, right?

Sometimes “the most wonderful time of the year” for some is the least wonderful time of the year for others.

Right after my husband and I lost our first born, we were hit with the one-two punch of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every time someone said “Happy (insert holiday of choice)” it was like a knife to my heart. I would return the sentiment just to be courteous then walk away trying not to cry in the middle of a department store.

As military families, holidays can be especially hard on us, our families, and those in our community. Between deployments, being away from home, and the loss of a loved one, holidays bring a whole whirl wind of emotion that we may not know how to deal with.

If you or someone you know is facing a “blue” holiday season, here are some things that may make the holiday season a little more manageable.

Tips to Help You Manage A “Blue Christmas”

Tell Your Holiday Truth As It Is
If you aren’t in the holiday spirit, that’s ok! Just tell those around you that you are having a difficult time and what kind of support you need from them.

Not the direct type? No problem.  Just make sure at least one person you trust knows that what you’re feeling doesn’t match your cheerful appearance. This can help make you feel less isolated.


Make A Quick Getaway
If you are at a party or family gathering, make sure you have a way to get out.  One of the easiest ways to make sure you can  make a quick getaway at a holiday party or event is to simply drive  your own car.  Carpools leave you powerless to escape if you need one.

Start a New Tradition
Spending a portion of the holiday, no matter how much or little time, honoring the person you are missing is a great way to remember and talk about your loved one comfortably with others.

Make Your Own Holiday
Milfams are pros at this. Holidays are just days on a calendar and can be celebrated whenever you decide and the family can be together. It wouldn’t be the first time that families have had Thanksgiving in June and Christmas in July.

How To Help A Friend  Or Loved One Manage the Holiday Blues

If you are the go-to person for someone suffering through the holidays, be sure to:

Be supportive and LISTEN
Often times someone just needs an open ear to hear what they have to say about their feelings – not a conversation.

Offer to help with any holiday preparations
IF they are celebrating of course. Ask what they need help with and let them know that you are there for them when to do need assistance.

Donate or Dedicate a Gift
Honoring someone’s loved one by making a donation is an excellent way to show that someone is never forgotten.

NEVER say anything about being “over it.”
I can’t even express how hurtful and cold that is. Just support the person and let them know that with time they will find happiness in the holidays again.

How do you deal with the holiday blues?  What are your best tips for managing during “the  most wonderful time of the year”?


  1. This is going to be our first most wonderful time of the year without our beloved sons. The Lord called them to be with Him last April. They were our first ones after twelve years of marriage. They were supposed to be born on June the 26th. Thanks for this blog. We haven’t thought yet about that part when people just greets you with a happy “any holiday of your choice here” but this is really helpful. Thanks again!


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