A client of mine recently asked me how to support her friends going through deployments over the holidays.
Now, I want to share with you 16 ways you can provide support and love to your milso friends that are away from their service member for the holiday season.
Whether your milso friend is alone because of a deployment, training, TDY, or other separation, they need you.
Learn how best to support your lonely military significant other friends while they spend the holidays alone.
1. Invite them over
Bringing them into your space is not just a kind gesture, but shows trust and friendship.
You don’t have to do anything crazy. You could just hang out.
Or you could watch a movie, play games, really anything that they need in the moment.
And even if they decline, the offer will still be very meaningful to them.
2. Drop off a gift
It you live nearby, bring something over for them!
Pizza, wine, a warm blanket, and a movie might be a great place to start.
Remember, tailor the gift to THEM. If they don’t eat dairy, don’t bring pizza.
3. Send a few small gifts
This could be a hand made care package (here are some ideas).
OR, it could be an already-made gift box (it doesn’t have to be a subscription box, but it could be!)
4. Call them
Do I need to elaborate?
CALL THEM. Or at least send a text. Right now.
Ask what they need and then follow through!
5. Offer to make dinner
This one is a LIFESAVER.
If you have the means and live close by, offer to make them dinner!
You could drop it off at their home or invite them to eat with you.
Give them the space to make that decision without feeling guilty if they want to eat it alone.
6. Watch their kids
Give them a chance to have alone time if they need it.
Or give them the chance to have alone time on the phone with their spouse (if they get any)!
7. Have a virtual friend date
When you live far away from your milso friends, you can still connect with them over the phone.
Schedule a virtual friend date!
You could both order takeout and eat while you chat, play a board game over the phone, or
8. Get them a gift that reminds them of their service member
There are SO many ways to do this!
Here’s just a few of my favorites:
Milspo Made – modern, minimal, military jewelry
Daddy Doll – this isn’t just for kids!
Charliemadison Originals – jewelry that represents your military journey
My shop – custom family portraits (shameless plug 😉 )
9. Do the 12 days of Christmas
This can be as big or as simple as you want!
Basically, you give them 12 gifts over 12 days.
If you live nearby, you can drop them off at their home. If you live far away, you could send everything in one package and number the gifts 1-12.
Some ideas for gifts are a mini Christmas tree, treats, pictures, a candle, nail polish, gift cards…the list goes on!
10. Have a venting session
Sometimes, what they need is a chance to VENT. Vent about the military, vent about being alone…
Having someone to openly vent to can make all the difference.
11. Call or text them on the holidays
Don’t forget to reach out one the actual holidays!
Even if they choose to celebrate a different day, knowing that everyone else is celebrating can be difficult.
Take at least a few minutes out of your day to check up on them with a phone call, video call, or text message.
12. Continue old traditions
Help them continue their old traditions (if that’s what they are wanting to do!) to maintain some normalcy.
Go to the ice skating rink with them. Light the menorah together over the phone. Decorate your trees together!
Whatever the tradition, offer to participate with them!
Let them know that you are here to support and love them through it all.
13. Create new traditions
Being away from loved ones might warrant totally new traditions.
Creating traditions with loved ones is a great way to tie happy memories to a holiday.
Offer for them to join your family’s traditions,
Or start totally new ones that are unique to your friendship and situation!
Spend Christmas Eve watching movies together. Decorate sugar cookies, Visit a local zoo or park on New Year’s Day to kick off the new year.
14. Pray for them
If you are the type who prays, remember them in your prayers.
Pray for their comfort and peace. And pray to know how best to help them with their specific needs.
15. Give them a safe space
Anything goes. Give them the space to talk freely without worrying what you’ll say or do.
Let them know that you won’t pass judgement or criticize.
And then follow through.
Show grace and understanding, and shower them with kindness.
Let them know that you are here to support and love them through this difficult and frustrating experience.
Listen with the intent to listen, not just to respond.
Provide a listening ear.
Listen to what they are asking for,
Oftentimes, we don’t directly ask for what we need, but instead mention it in passing.
When you listen intentionally, you might catch more that you can do to help support and love them.