The holidays are here, there are holiday treats everywhere you look, holiday sales, holiday celebrations, holiday decorations, the list just goes on and on. While it’s generally a joyous time, for a military family like mine, the holidays are also a reminder that we are far from our loved ones. Some years, it’s simply not in our budget or schedule to visit “home” for the holidays. Most years, we have to make “home” where we are. For the times that we are feeling homesick, here are some tricks we use to get a more “home-y” feeling for the holidays.


  1. Decorate
    1. “Home” for us involves a big house decorated with lights and snow. And where we have been stationed involved sunny skies and palm trees. We decorated anyhow. Even though our current home was smaller than in our home town, we made it work for us. The balcony, the doorway, the kitchen, wherever we could put some holiday cheer we did and so should you! Don’t let the house hold you back. Work with what you got! For example: No mantle for stockings? No problem, use a shelf or stair railing. Miss that feeling of snow? Some tasteful tinsel around the house will help.
  2. Background noise
    1. My parents would always play holiday songs in the background during these months. They would also play it in the car. So I made sure to do the same with my family. When I would cook, I would tune the radio to the local holiday station. During my son’s nap time, I would play peaceful holiday music to get his subconscious in the holiday spirit. In the car, especially in a traffic jam, I would pump up the giddy holiday music and encourage him to sing along.
  3. Use Technology when you can.
    1. The time difference between us and our families can be a bummer. There is a certain sweet spot though that is convenient for both of our sides. So we use that time to get in some video chatting. During Thanksgiving, we’d video chat what we were thankful for in real time. During Black Friday shopping, we would send snaps of how our shopping was going. We’d also video chat when purchasing things to get opinions as well. Technology doesn’t have to be all bad. Use it to keep a connection with your loved ones back home.
  4. Bake
    1. You’ve got the sight of decorations, the sound of holiday music, now indulge your sense of smell with good old fashioned baking. Something about a warm dessert in the oven or some hot chocolate warming in a mug just screams “Merry Christmas!” Sharing a recipe from back home is a great way to remind you of your loved ones. They say people recall smells better than sight or sound. For you bakers out there, Operation In Touch is holding a sweepstakes for Operation Cookie Swap. You can enter daily to win the perfect premium baking prizes. All you have to do is enter on their website here.
  5. Make your own traditions
    1. After 5 moves now, we’ve learned to create our own holiday traditions. For example, we’ve given up on going out and selecting an affordable real tree (especially on an island, thanks Hawaii), and just purchased a fake tree that moves with us. Then we focus on collecting ornaments from each duty station to add to our collection. That shelf idea for stockings idea I mentioned earlier? That’s what we had to do for some of our homes. Now it’s a tradition that the holiday shelf goes up for the Christmas stockings. Home is where you make it, and so are the holidays!

Happy Holidays!

5 Ways to Make it Feel Like "Home" For the Holidays

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of MSB New Media & Unilever. The opinions and text are all mine.