Making a Military Homecoming Special at Christmas

One of the best parts of the holiday season is spending time with the ones you love. And the time is that much sweeter when your loved one is home from deployment or military training. If you’re hosting a family member who’s serving in the military, take a look at our tips for getting your home and family ready.

Manage expectations

As exciting as it is to plan for a military homecoming, delays are common. Planning every detail is often a recipe for mounting stress and disappointment. Mentally prepare for travel disruptions, and keep your schedule flexible.

It's also helpful to talk about expectations with your loved one as the date nears. Open communication will help you make the most of your shared time at home. 

Plan a surprise

If your relative wants to keep their homecoming secret, help them plan the ultimate surprise.

  • Wrap her up in a Christmas package 
  • Have him make a surprise entrance during a family dinner 
  • Gather everyone around your phone screen for FaceTime and watch your family connect the dots as they recognize a familiar backdrop in your loved one's screen.

A surprise captures the pure emotion and joy of a homecoming. What a memory. It's certainly a bonus if you can catch the surprise on video and rewatch it over the years. 

If you’re not sure how to pull it off, there’s plenty of heart-warming inspiration online. Grab the tissues and get planning.

Make welcome home signs

A surprise certainly isn't for everyone, and you can plan other ways to create a special welcoming for your loved one. Do they appreciate grand gestures? If so, let the kids paint the car windows, make signs for the porch, or hang lights to welcome them home—'tis the season.

Have a loved one who would appreciate a more subtle welcome? Chalk the driveway with welcome messages.

Stock the kitchen

Ask yourself what things they miss. Even ask them for a list. Having the fridge and pantry stocked with their favorite goodies is one of the easiest ways to make your loved one feel instantly appreciated and at home. Take it a step further and make their favorite meals or prepare them breakfast in bed.

Surround them with love

Feeling loved and appreciated is different for everyone. Communicate with your loved one. How can your home be what they need in this season? It could mean offering up the house as a space for all their close friends to gather. Or you could promise to keep things simple with only immediate family. Or give them time alone to reflect and reboot. Try not to take it personally when they prefer it one way or the other. Your conscientiousness will mean the world to them.