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How to make deployed soldiers part of a family Christmas

How to make deployed soldiers part of a family Christmas

We all love having our family around us at Christmas, after all, that's what the festive season is about. However, if one member of your family is going to be deployed this year, it can make the day feel a bit strange.

Sadly not everyone in the Armed Forces gets to go home for Christmas, which can mean one of your loved ones is thousands of miles away when December 25th comes around. This doesn't mean you need to leave them out of the day, though, as there are ways that you can include them in your celebrations.

To help them feel part of your family Christmas, here are some good ideas:

Send them photos

If you're going to send your deployed family member a parcel to open on Christmas Day - which you can find out more about doing here - it can be a nice idea to also send them photos of your family putting up the decorations and how your house looks so they can feel part of it.

You should also take photos of the celebrations on Christmas Day to send them after the fact so they can see what everyone got and how you all spent the day. 

Video chat them

Depending on where they are and what they're doing, you may be able to arrange to video chat on December 25th. Gather everyone around ahead of the call so they can all say a quick hello and give a wave.

If you've got kids, this is a great way for them to see their mum or dad or Christmas Day, which can help them spread the excitement and ensure their parent doesn't totally miss out on spending it with their little ones.

Even if you only get a chance to talk on the phone or have to wait until Boxing Day, you can still open some presents while talking to them and fill them in on what has happened so far.

Send them an advent calendar

They may not be at home for Christmas, but that doesn't mean they can't enjoy the countdown to the big day. Send them a standard chocolate one or make one up yourself that includes little presents that they will enjoy or find useful.

You can't send them all their presents or anything big, so this is a nice way to help them feel festive even when they're so far away. You could even get different members of the family to choose daily gifts for the calendar, that way, they get something from everyone, which will put a smile on their face.

Set a place for them

Let them know that they are still part of Christmas Day by showing them that you've set a place for them. This is a good idea if you have little ones too, as you can say that it's mummy or daddy's chair and have them set it up with a cracker and everything. You can even save their cracker for them so they can have a Christmas dinner when they get home - even if that is months away.

Save all their presents

A big part of Christmas is the gifts you give to each other. Although it isn't possible to send them all the presents you buy, this doesn't mean that you can't have them wrapped and ready to go on December 25th. 

Pop them under the tree just as you would normally and you can either show them their pile on your call so they know they have things to open when they get home or let them pick a couple for you to unwrap to show them. This way, they still have some of the excitement even if they can't physically unwrap gifts themselves.

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