When you’re married to a first responder, you pretty much get used to doing things alone. Trips with the kids, eating dinner, going to family events, etc.
But when Christmas comes around and your spouse has to work, that’s when his demanding schedule can get especially frustrating. Whether that’s because he’s putting out house fires, pulling over drunk drivers, or because he’s battling overseas for his country, the holidays just aren’t meant to be spent alone.
But even if the holidays aren’t exactly what gets portrayed as the “perfect” family gathering, there are still plenty of ways to feel the joy of the holidays.
If your lifestyle right now doesn’t suit the traditions you or your spouse grew up with, maybe it’s time to make new ones!
For instance, you might consider celebrating Christmas a day or two early or late if your husband has to work on the 25th. It might be a little out there, and certainly won’t work for everyone, but depending on your situation, it could be a great way to get the full “Christmas day experience” within your abilities.
One hidden benefit of celebrating late is that you can take advantage of post-Christmas sales, which could save you a lot of money on the things you would have bought anyway.
This might be more difficult with kids who are expecting Santa to arrive Christmas morning, but with a little creativity, you could still make this work. It’s amazing what a nice note from Santa Claus can do: after all, he can explain how the elves have to take a little more time with their gifts to make sure they’re in tip-top shape, and to make up for the delay, he’ll be sure to add more candy to their stocking.
If you can’t be together during the “official” holiday celebration times, that’s no need to give up altogether – with a little flexibility, you can have the quiet family Christmas at home… Even if it’s a few days early/late.
If celebrating Christmas on December 25th is important to you (or important to your extended family, as the case may be), that’s fine, too! You’ll just have to find ways to share the day with your spouse as much as possible.
And on the days leading up to the big celebration, make sure you have fun together doing things like watching holiday movies, wrapping presents, or going out for a drive to look at Christmas lights.
Those fun memories will help you remember that what’s really important isn’t one day of the year: it’s all the moments that happen on the other days. Those are the things you and your family will remember for a lifetime.
Don’t ruin a perfectly good day by trying to make it what you think it should be: accept the situation as it is and make it your priority to love every minute of it, whether that’s through an attitude adjustment, a change in the schedule, or both.
Decide to be happy, regardless of what your situation is. Be grateful for the things you have, rather than focusing on the things you don’t.
After all, you have a husband who’s determined, who’s out working to make a difference in the world. It can be hard feeling like you’re coming in second place to that world, but think about how proud you are of him for the sacrifices he’s willing to make.
Avoid complaining about the situation as much as possible, including to your spouse! That will only make you miserable and make them feel guilty. Neither of those feelings is very “Christmas spirit”-y. 🙂
If you start feeling really crabby about your situation, the holidays are an excellent time to serve others by volunteering at a food bank or donating toys to poor families. This is a great way to remind yourself that your problems really are so minor compared to others.
If you have a roof over your head, food to eat, and friends and family to love, you have so much to be grateful for.
I hope you guys have a wonderful holiday, and that these tips helped!
I’m a twenty-something LEO wife and stay-at-home mom to a one-year-old little boy. I enjoy writing, reading, taking my son for walks and runs in the stroller, and crafting. My goal is for Love and Blues to be a resource for first responders and their families. I write about marriage and family topics, as well as about the quirks that come with being married to a man in law enforcement, firefighting, or emergency medical services.
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