The Holidays ... and the Family with a Parent Deployed

The Holidays ... and the Family with a Parent Deployed

by Susan Dunn, MA, cEQc, The EQ CoachT

If you know a family with one of the partners deployed, you're probably wondering what you can do for them during the holidays, and perhaps eager to include them in your celebration.

Let's use for example if the husband is in Iraq. Most military wifes have been prepared for "something like this" -- it goes with the territory. Chances are they're very self-sufficient, know how to cope, and have good support. But if you'd like to include them during the holidays, here are some suggestions.

Offer to watch the kids for a day, or half-day, so the wife can have some time to do some holiday shopping for the kids. A lot of babysitter hours get logged, which is also expensive.

Remember the serviceperson! They appreciate getting mail (generally takes up to two weeks) and gift boxes. Send fun things and "toys," baked goods, something 'of the season,' something you'd like to receive if far from home. CDs are also a good idea, and the hometown newspaper.

These days most servicepeople can keep in touch with family by email, so when the family arrives at your home, you can ask the children, "What do you hear from your Dad?" or "Has your Dad told you what it's like?" or "Has you Dad sent you anything?"

Digital photos are possible now, and the children may want to tell you about that. Ask them to print some photos out and bring them when they come! Most of the time they're very aware of what their dad is doing.

Experienced friends know not to ask, "Do you know when he's coming home yet?" If it were known, they'd be shouting it from the rooftop!

And, as a long-time holiday guest in the homes of others (joint custody), there are two things that are especially neat.

One is to be given a little packet of leftovers to take home. It's so nice to be able to have a turkey sandwich that night, or even a whole little meal -- the one thing you miss when you don't do the meal yourself!

And the other is when someone asks me over because they want me, not because they think I need the invitation!

About the author

©Susan Dunn, MA Clinical Psychology, cEQc, The EQ CoachT, Visit her at . Coaching for all your needs - transitions, resilience, career, relationships. Susan is the author of "How to Get Her the Perfect Gift" and other eBooks of use by clicking here. Email Susan for FREE eZine at .


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