The Holiday Season For Enlisted Services Members

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The temperature is dropping, leaves are falling, and the holiday sprint is in full swing. During this special time of the year, many spend time doing family traditions and cherish these moments of being with loved ones. Exchanging gifts, baking for holiday gatherings, lighting the menorah, and all your holiday traditions make this time great. What makes this time of the year so special is spending quality time with the ones we love.

For the men and women who make the ultimate sacrifice by giving up their freedom during the season of giving they don’t get to celebrate the holidays the same. Many enlisted members in service do not get to see loved ones during the holidays. Many soldiers are overseas or have to stay where they are stationed to complete their duties. The members of their respected branches have to celebrate in their own way and create new traditions during this time.

Santa poses with the crew of an HH-60G Pave Hawk from the 41st Rescue Squadron, Dec. 9, 2017, on the Flightline at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Callaghan)

The holiday season is a time of year where you get some time to relax and take your mind off of reality. When someone in your family or a loved one deploys this could be a real hard time for both the enlisted member and their family. There are over 50,000 soldiers of the United States Military that are overseas on Christmas Day. It is hard to imagine a loved one being thousands of miles overseas during this time of the year. This can be a lonely time for the men and women who serve and for family members back home.

Being someone who never had a family member in service I always got to celebrate with my family every year. It is hard to imagine waking up on Christmas Day and not spending time with family and loved ones. Many enlisted service members do not get to see immediate family on Christmas. Although this time of the year can bring you closer to your peers in service, making them feel like family. With it being the holiday season I would imagine you grow even closer to your military family during this season.

This time of the year is the season of giving and thanks. Charitable organizations are a big contribution to the holiday season and many benefit the military community. If you are someone who has had a family member in service you know how hard this time of the year can be. There are many ways you can help during the holiday season.

One of the many ways you can be involved is by being a part of Operation Holiday Joy. Operation Holiday Joy provides food, supplies, and gifts to unfortunate families that have family members in service. A small gift or food for a holiday dinner can go a long way in creating a joyful environment during the holiday season. Another way to spread holiday cheer is Tree For Troops. This organization has provided more than 120,000 trees to military families since 2005. Donating a tree to families in need could help lift their spirits during the holiday season.

The National Museum of the Marine Corps located in Triangle, Va. is one of the donation sites for the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots Campaign in Quantico. (Photo by Erin Rohn)

The United States Military is also very involved with many charitable organizations during the season of giving. Toys for Tots is a great charitable organization that is run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Toys for Tots was founded in 1947 to provide gifts to kids who are less fortunate. There are donation stations set up at military bases, museums, and other locations around the country. You can be a part of this organization by dropping off a gift in one of your local donation spots or visiting the Toy for Tots website to find out more.

With the holiday season, there come traditions that become routine during this time of the year. Many different bases both domestic and overseas have yearly traditions. From lighting a Christmas tree, baking holiday treats, and many more holiday rituals. I know every year it is a special time for my family to make Christmas cookies together in the kitchen. We reflect on old times and look forward to the new year ahead of us. This is important to the men and women in service not only to spread holiday cheer but to come together and grow a special bond.

Even though it is the most wonderful time of the year, it can be a very hard time for military families. The holiday season is a time of the year to be grateful and give thanks. We at Medals of America thank each and every man and woman in service who sacrifice so much. Even if you are not with some family members in service this holiday season,  just know you are with them in spirit and they will be ready to celebrate when they get home. From everyone at Medals of America, we would like to say Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all.