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What You Need to Do When You Are Overseas for the Holidays
For military families the chance to live overseas can be an exciting opportunity, but during the holidays the distance might mean you can’t celebrate with your extended family. It is important to remember that while you are not able to celebrate in the ways you are used to, you can enjoy the holidays with your new community abroad and start new traditions your family can bring back home.
To create a warm holiday feeling while you’re stationed overseas and living amongst a new culture, plan ahead and open yourself up to celebrating in new ways with new people.
Bring a Holiday Keepsake with you From Home
Bring some of your favorite ornaments or keepsakes that you use every holiday season. Put out decorations and family photos that remind you of the holidays at home with your family.
Ordering holiday gifts and supplies may take longer than expected. Make sure you begin your holiday gift buying in mid-October. Check with the postal center or U.S. embassy in your host country to find out about any delivery restrictions.
Make Your Own Tree
Buy a shrub or something native to your current climate and dress it up. Or make your own tree out of felt, wire or other creative materials. Decorate with your special ornaments or buy new ones from a local shop that will serve as keepsakes from your time in a foreign country.
Create Your Special Holiday Meal and Share with Others
Make the meal you are used to enjoying over the holidays back at home. Prepare to improvise if you are in a country with different ingredients. Invite other military families stationed with you and make new memories together. After all, you are all away from family during the holidays. Reach out. Organize an annual Christmas or Hanukkah party, celebrate with new friends in the local community or support local charities to help people with special needs.
Learn About Holiday Traditions in Your Host Country
Check your installation for programs and local traditions or search the internet for resources about holiday celebrations in your host country. Try to embrace the new culture and enjoy their version of the holidays you love.