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  • Chris Keen

Spend Christmas away from loved ones... Completed it mate!

I think we can all agree that Christmas this year is going to be a weird one for everybody. BoJo has announced his little Christmas plan which allows up to three households to mix for a five day period between 23rd-27th December.


Some have taken this news with joy, the fact they can see their loved ones for just a few days is brilliant.


Others however are remaining pretty cautious and are deciding to spend Christmas alone in order to stop the spread of the virus.


Whatever side you're on and whatever your view is, it's cool with me!


Now before Boris Johnson caved in and announced his Covid Christmas plan, there were a lot of upset and angry people heading online to moan about not seeing their loved ones over Christmas and that's the reason I'm writing this blog.


This whole 'not seeing family during Christmas' dilemma is nothing new to military families. It literally happens every single year...I personally haven't seen my parents or my brother during Christmas for 4 years in a row now, this year will be the 5th.


It's not that I don't like seeing my family over Christmas because I really do, it's because we're a military family who are posted all over the world and that often prevents us from forming any lasting traditions with the wider family (i.e parents, brother etc).


So there are a few different scenarios of being apart for Christmas which military families are already familiar with:


1. The family is in the UK and the serving spouse get's deployed overseas.

In this scenario, yes it's rubbish that the serving spouse is deployed and will be away for Christmas, HOWEVER the non serving spouse and children (if there are any) can take advantage of BoJo's plan and go to see other family members or friends in the UK and still have a semi normal Christmas.


2. The family is posted overseas but the serving spouse isn't deployed

In this scenario, the military family is away from all of their wider family and friends in the UK but will still be able to enjoy Christmas together. (This is kind of where we're at this year - while we might only be up in Scotland, due to the distances involved it isn't feasible to expect family to travel all the way up and back in the small travel window allowed)


3. The double whammy... The family is posted overseas AND then the serving spouse is deployed!

Finally in this scenario the family is posted overseas away from their loved ones back home. The serving partner is then deployed over the Christmas period leaving the non serving partner and maybe their children in their overseas home alone. It's like a double blow!


That scenario is obviously the worst but it does happen all the time. In normal circumstances an option could be for the non serving spouse/family to fly home for Christmas or even fly their friends/family out to them for Christmas but because of Covid that's not going to happen this year. Even with BoJo's plan, that small window for people to get together it is just not feasible once you add the travel days in. So if you're sat there complaining about only being able to see your family for a few days, think about those that aren't even lucky enough to have that privilege!


You may be reading all of this and thinking to yourself "Well... They knew exactly what they were signing up for"


To you I hope that Santa brings you nothing but coal for Christmas this year because yes military personnel and maybe their families did know exactly what they were signing up for but that's not the point is it? No-one wants to be alone for Christmas, regardless of the circumstances.


If you're a military spouse reading this and you fall into scenario number 3, here are a few things you could do to keep yourself entertained whilst your partner is away...


Baking

You could do lots and lots of baking, even if it is just you that's going to be eating the end products. I recently spoke to the incredible Becca Lyne Perkis who made the semi-finals of the Great British Bake Off and she has a few cook books out that may just inspire you with a few brilliant recipes!


Decorate your Military Quarter

Even though your going to be alone this year you should still definitely do this. Go bigger than you normally would as well. It boosts morale so much! We did ours last week and it makes me smile every time I'm walking down the street and see our house.


Go on a Christmas Decoration Safari

By this I mean walk around your patch and admire everybody else's decorations (that's if they have decorated their house). I love doing this, I take the dogs out every night and just enjoy all of the lights.


Create a virtual Christmas party

With the amazing technology available today you could have yourself a brilliant Christmas party over Zoom or Facetime or Skype etc. With Covid and the lockdowns this year, virtual events have become a lot more common. I actually hosted two birthday parties during lockdown and although it was a tad weird to start with, it was an awesome night and the people I was doing it for really enjoyed it. So if you fancy a virtual Christmas party and need a host, give me a shout (shameless plug for myself!).


Treat Yourself

You would hope that your other half has left you a sneaky Christmas present hidden somewhere in the house for them to reveal the location of on Christmas day... Hopefully that is the case for you. If it's not though you should definitely treat yourself! To be fair, even if they have got you a present, treat yourself anyway! There's nothing better than a nice big Christmas present for you... From you.


Become a cocktail extraordinaire

Most people enjoy a drink over the Christmas period so why not make it interesting and start mixing up some exciting cocktails. Even if you're a non drinker, there are plenty of brilliant non alcoholic cocktails out there to be made!


Get out for a run/walk

It's always nice to get out into the fresh air and clear your head during a nice run or walk. You can even whack on your favourite playlist and get lost in your own little world.


Anyway, whatever your situation is this year and however your spending Christmas, make sure you enjoy it. I know this year has been a bit rubbish but take advice from the Classic Christmas song 'Merry Christmas Everybody' by Shaking Stevens "LOOK TO THE FUTURE NOW"


Next year is going to be amazing! (It can't get any worse!)

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