While the holidays are often a joyous time of celebration; for military families who have a loved one deployed, the season can bring its own set of challenges.
Below are some tips on offering assistance to those facing the challenges of deployment during the holiday season and all year long.
- Assist with life’s daily struggles. Flat tires, lawn and garden needs, leaking pipes, cold and flu season – things that are minor inconveniences for most households can seem overwhelming when one spouse is deployed. Not only is it difficult for the spouse dealing with the inconveniences; it’s difficult for the deployed spouse as they often feel frustrated at not being able to help. Lend an extra set of hands whenever you can.
- Help whether it’s asked for or not. If you have a close friend or neighbor that is struggling; step in to help whether it’s asked for or not. Bring over a meal, help with household chores like snow shoveling, or find out what errands are on their list and do them. Know that your efforts are felt far and wide; for the spouse that is deployed, there is tremendous comfort in knowing that their family has a support system back at home.
- Check in frequently. As we slog through the chaos of our own daily life, it’s easy to put off connecting with those we care about. Take a few moments and check in. Put a card in the mail every occasionally, as a sweet surprise. Leave a flowering plant or small silly gifts outside their front door to let them know they are being thought of. Invite them over for a cup of coffee and a chat. Letting them know you care doesn’t have to take much time or effort – and it will be much appreciated!
- Offer childcare. Let’s face it, we all need a break sometimes. Offer to pick up children after school and keep them for homework time and dinner. This will allow the non-deployed parent time to do anything they wish – take a nap, focus on bills or homework, run errands, or simply “be”. A little time alone can go a long way.
- Share your holiday. Bring over a plate of cookies, cocoa mix in a mug, a pair of fuzzy holiday socks – anything that can help bring some holiday cheer to your friend or neighbor. Invite them to a meal at your home or take them along with you to a tree lighting ceremony in town. Do you have a favorite holiday tradition? Extend an offer to include others - sharing your holiday cheer can have tremendous benefits for all involved!
Keep an eye out for ways in which you might help a friend, neighbor or family in need all year long. A little caring can go a long way to making a difference in the life of someone else.
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