Portable Holiday Traditions
PCS-Proofing Your Family’s Special Moments
December 21, 2015 by Jake Butler
It’s no secret that military families tend to move around more than others. For many, it’s impossible to know if you’ll live in the same region of the country from one year to the next, never mind the same city. While that kind of uncertainty can seem intimidating, it can also help bring your family even closer together. Especially around the holidays – it’s the perfect time of year to relax, enjoy everything the season has to offer, and build special memories together as a family.
So what do you do if you’re uncertain about where you might be living next year? Take your traditions with you wherever you go! With a little creativity, you can build some fantastic portable traditions to enjoy year after year with your family, no matter where you are in the world. Read on for some suggestions and don’t forget to leave a comment letting us know which traditions your family cherishes most.
Everybody Loves Food
From festive holiday cookies to big family dinners, nothing brings people together quite like food. While some family members take pride in honing their skills in the kitchen, others are quick to volunteer their skills as a taste tester. Whatever part you prefer to play, the holidays are a great time to indulge. And since you can find ingredients at any grocery store no matter where you live, it’s a perfect portable tradition. You could:
- Bake holiday cookies for Santa (or, more accurately, for yourselves).
- Did you go a little overboard with the cookies? Share some with the neighbors! It’s a cheap and easy way to spread holiday cheer.
- Have a traditional family dinner with your favorite fixin’s.
- Showcase your artistic side by making gingerbread houses.
Around The House
From decorations to family activities, there are lots of things you can do without having to leave the house. As long as you’ve got a roof over your head, you can keep these holiday traditions intact for years to come:
- Don’t just decorate the tree – go the extra mile and get crafty. You and the kids can create a new handmade ornament every year. Watch how each family member’s art skills develop over time.
- Make other holiday decorations by hand. Cut snowflakes out of construction paper, dress up cardboard paper towel tubes like nutcrackers – use your imagination!
- Break out decorations like an advent calendar and take turns counting down each day. Don’t have one? Build your own!
- Certain traditions like Elf on the Shelf may seem silly at first, but nothing is off limits so long as your kids buy into it.
- Sit down with the kids and write letters to Santa.
- Read holiday stories each night before bed.
Keeping Everyone Entertained
The kids are out of school, and maybe you have some extra time off work or a few extra days of leave. Here are some ways to keep everyone entertained:
- Stay in and watch movies. Some movies are so beloved that they’re shown on TV for 24 hours straight. Pick your favorite and make it an annual event. Can’t decide? Have a marathon instead!
- Take the family caroling. Some might argue the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.
- Take a tour around the city to look at holiday lights and see how others have decorated their houses.
- Put together a playlist of your favorite songs. There’s just something special about the music this time of year.
The Spirit of Giving Back
You know the old saying: it’s better to give than to receive. Well it’s a fantastic lesson to teach your kids around the holidays. You could consider:
- Volunteering at a soup kitchen, food bank, or local church to help people who’ve fallen on hard times.
- Adopt a family and put together a donation box full of food, necessities, and presents to brighten their holidays.
- Organize a canned food drive with your neighbors or at school.
- Deliver cookies to people who are unable to take off work, like the staff at the hospital or police station.
- Volunteer your time at a retirement home to make sure your community’s senior citizens enjoy the holidays too.
However you choose to celebrate, just remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to spend a bunch of money or make a big fuss out of these traditions. Sometimes the best memories just sort of happen naturally. Enjoy the time you have to spend with your friends and family, wherever life in the military takes you. Happy holidays!