By: Jason JowersThe holidays are a time when getting together with friends and families is always important. Reconnecting with the ones we love can be rejuvenating and highlights what’s important to us. However, for military service members and their families, the holidays can be tough and it’s not always possible for service members to be home with family for the holidays. Deployments and relocation, especially those that are affected by multiple moves can cause upheaval and school changes for military children.
With these thoughts in mind, we wanted to share some organizations and resources we’ve found to help military families stay connected during the holidays.
Organizations Supporting Military Families During the Holidays
- Trees for Troops is an organization that does what the name implies! They deliver live Christmas trees to military bases where the military families living there can get a tree for free. All trees are donated from farms and nurseries around the country. Check to see if a base near you is on the list.
- Operation Homefront Holiday Meals partners with local businesses to provide free holiday meals to military service members and their families during Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays. This organization takes into account the stress and time it takes to prepare holiday meals and doesn’t want any military family to go without. Search Operation Homefront’s events page to check for eligibility in your area.
- Full Circle Home is an organization that helps deployed military service members send gifts and love notes back home to their families during the holidays. They really take into account that military deployment affects the whole family and gives service members a link to their loved ones and the ability to show their support and gratitude for family members holding down the fort back home.
- Wreaths Across America is a very well-known organization that honors our fallen military service members and the family members left behind. On December 18th, 2021, volunteers carry out coordinated wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery as well as at over 2,500 locations both in the U.S. and abroad. Learn more about volunteering our sponsoring at wreath at the Wreaths Across America website.
Ways to Support Military Families During the Holidays
- One simple way to support military families is just by connecting with them. This can be done by just building a bridge and connecting, either by inviting a family over for a meal or by stopping by and paying a visit. Just the simple act of checking can go a long way.
- Another simple way to support is by surprising them with food and items that their family might need. Clothes and toys for young children, thoughtful gifts for military parents/spouses, and useful items for teens can help support military families that don’t have anyone close by for support.
- Finally, be sure to still offer support even when the deployed spouse/parent is back home. Sometimes military families must deal with the invisible wounds of war as well as any physical injuries the service member may have sustained. When spouses become caregivers, it is even more important to offer support when you are able.
Here’s hoping some of these suggestions can help you in supporting military families this holiday season. Be sure to keep up to date with our OneOp Family Development blog posts into 2022 for more great resources.
This post was written by the OneOp Family Development Team. The Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Learn more about us at https://oneop.org/family-development, and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to our Anchored. podcast series on iTunes and via our podcast page.