Holidays can be the hardest time of the year for police officers and their families. For you, it’s hard to be away from your husband on special days. For your husband, it’s hard to be away from you, to have to work, and to have to still deal with the worst of the world when most people get to be blissfully unaware.
And honestly, if you’re anything like me, it’s kinda tough to tear down the illusion that bad things don’t happen on holidays. I still want to hang on to the illusion that everyone has a good side, and my husband has to regularly give me a little bit of a reality check on that one, too.
In any case, it’s tough to make the holidays special when your day looks so out of the norm – but there are definitely ways to do so.
How To Make Holidays Special For Your Officer
Have a positive attitude.
I know how hard it is to have your husband away on special days. Especially when he’s gone for most other days and nights, it just seems particularly unfair. I get it!
But if you want to make the holidays special for your officer – actually, scratch that. If you want to make the holidays special for both of you, you can start by taking on a better mindset. That means remembering that even though it might seem unfair, it’s what you have to deal with. There’s no point wishing for something else, because that’s just not what you’re dealing with.
It’ll also help your husband have a more peaceful day at work knowing he’s not going to come home to a wife who’s in a bad mood because he missed the festivities.
It’s especially helpful because man, is it easy for officers to become jaded when they work on holidays. It seems like some of the worst things they’ll face come on days that are supposed to be filled with joy. So if you can be a beacon of light in that, it’ll help a lot (even if he doesn’t show it right away.)
Create new traditions.
Just because you can’t do the things you’re used to doing for the holidays doesn’t mean you can’t find fun things to do. For instance, maybe you can try to meet midday for a coffee date on the day of, or maybe you can go all-out on a day he’ll probably have off, even if it’s a few days before or after the holiday.
Also, it pays to be flexible. If you can feasibly move the celebration to a time that works for him, do it! Can you do a holiday breakfast or lunch instead of a holiday dinner? Heck, even if he has to skip out on the big family celebration because he’s on night shifts, maybe you can get up early and enjoy pancakes with him when he gets home in the morning.
You never know – these offbeat traditions might just end up being your favorites!
Find ways to let him take the celebration on the road.
Whether it’s by making a special treat you know he’ll like or writing a love letter or something to take with him on his shift, giving him something to help him enjoy the day will help.
Some things you could send:
- A CD with holiday songs
- A love letter (or a few open when letters!)
- A small gift you know he’d love (but that wouldn’t take up a ton of space in his patrol car)
- A gift card for his favorite fast food restaurant so he can have dinner out (if he’d prefer that to bringing homemade food :))
Just choose something that’ll help him feel like he’s not missing out on the holiday completely.
Even though your husband might be super busy, you can still make use of technology to stay connected throughout the day.
One of the best apps for this purpose is the Marco Polo app. It basically turns your phone into a video walkie talkie, so you can send each other video messages that you can respond to when you have time. That way, when he has time to open and enjoy one of the gifts you sent with him, he can take a video of his reaction so you get to enjoy it. And when the kids do something cute, you can take a video so he gets to ask them all about it when he gets home.
But really, even if you just text or call each other throughout the day, that’s better than nothing!
Plan to do something fun with at least some of the overtime pay.
I’m sure you have plenty of responsible stuff you could put holiday pay toward. I know! But one thing that can take the sting out of having to be separated for the day is using whatever “extra” you get to do something fun later.
Choose whatever you want, whether it’s a little extra spending money to use individually or money toward a special date night (try Groupon if you’re in need of a new and budget-friendly option.)
Just do something to try to make it worth your while!
In the grand scheme of things, it’s important to remember that while the holidays are important, it’s what you do the other days of the year that really make a difference. The days you have together are the days that count the most 🙂