Every Christmas/birthday/milestone that we are all together as a family I am thankful for. Jeremy has been deployed for three of our family Christmases including both of the boys' first Christmases. Even though we always had supportive family and friends to keep our spirits up, my heart always broke a little for him because I knew how much he was missing us. There is no way to get those Christmases back.
Each year that he was away over the holidays, I would do my best to make it special for the kids but to also keep Jeremy involved. He would receive box after box of homemade ornaments, mini trees, drawings from the kids and of course, lots of cookies. Back in Germany, I would get together with other spouse friends to have a cookie making/shipping party to send to the troops (this gal included).
Christmas morning would be Skyped from beginning to end so that even if we were not together, those memories were still captured and shared somehow.
The truth is that nothing will replace being home with their family and most deployed soldiers probably just try to ignore the holiday altogether. But hearing from loved ones (or even complete strangers) that someone cares and someone appreciates them, can go a long way. Something as simple as a card or even an email. If you know someone currently serving overseas, I hope you take the time to send them something special and let them know you're thinking about them.
And on a final note, don't forget about the spouse and family back home without their soldier this holiday season. A nice email, a care package, a bottle of wine (or two). This is one of our lucky holiday seasons where we will actually have Jeremy with us, but this family who is very special to my heart will not be so fortunate this Christmas. Please, please go show her some love. She deserves it.
On that note...
Hickory Farms has a great deal for military gifts. They are currently shipping to APO/FPO locations for free. I know my husband would love receiving something like this.