Thanksgiving on the Move

Article by: Katie Foley

My Foley Fireteam PCSd during the April/May timeframe. Unlike most of our PCS moves, we didn’t stay at our new duty station for long. Rather, the kids enjoyed a nice Virginia summer and the beautiful autumn leaf change before TMO came, packed up their still half-packed house, and took their stuff away again.

This time, they were headed to Florida. In fact, as I write this we are mid-move. Good times.

While I couldn’t be happier to get out of the cold weather states before that winter weather hits, my kids are a bit bummed about moving just before the holidays – especially knowing that we won’t be in our own place for Thanksgiving, which is always our official Christmas season kickoff.

This made me wonder, what can I do to help them celebrate Thanksgiving on the move? So without further ado, here are 5 ideas we plan to implement as we make our way to our new duty station this Thanksgiving holiday:

1.       Go visit family or friends.

If at all possible, try to go spend that day with family or friends. Thanksgiving is supposed to be a holiday where we reflect on the things we have in our lives that we’re thankful for, and our families and friends are no exception. Well, for most of us, at least, we have at least one person we like in our family. Thanks to the military lifestyle, it’s likely we all have friends scattered across the country who would welcome an extra family at their table, since they also may be spending it away from “home”.

2.       Celebrate early.

Yesterday, we rolled in to my sister-in-law’s house in Warner Robins, Georgia, on our way to Florida, and when we walked in the door, the smell of turkey and stuffing and green bean casserole welcomed me like a Nanny opening her arms and wrapping me in a warm hug. It was a week and a half early, but boy was it de-freaking-licious.

3.       Celebrate late.

A few years ago, my husband was in Afghanistan for Thanksgiving, and so the kids and I planned to spend the day with friends of ours in San Diego. But at the last minute, my friend’s husband, who was a Drill Instructor on the recruit depot, got slapped with duty. Our well planned out Turkey Day Dinner got postponed by a day. It was a lovely day for celebrating friends, even if it was on Black Friday, and my kids were none the wiser. As for me, it was another great excuse NOT to join the rabid crowds of shoppers trying to save $50 on this years new must-have electronic device.

4.       Crash a party.

I remember one year as a kid, we were on vacation over a holiday. I can’t remember if it was Thanksgiving or Christmas, but I remember us walking into a Golden Corral and finding a huge group of people celebrating. We took a table and found ourselves invited into their celebration, and it was great fun. If you are not lucky enough to stumble upon something like that, use the internet to find what local celebrations are happening in whatever town you happen to be passing through on that day. It’s a great way to make one-of-a-kind memories with your family.

5.       Make your own tradition.

The year my husband was in Afghanistan and my friend’s husband got hit with duty (the one where we had our traditional dinner on a Friday), I decided to start a new tradition. If we were unable to host our own, traditional, Thanksgiving Dinner in our home on Thanksgiving Day, we would grill out instead. Any time we’ve been traveling or our guests were going to be unable to join us on the actual day, we cook big juicy burgers and fry up greasy fries and we pig out. After we’re done getting fat over grease and all-beef patties, we drag out the Christmas tree and the decorations and then we plop on the couch and talk about how we’re too fat to do anything more. Nothing puts us in the Christmas spirit better than feeling fat and happy.

Moving during a holiday can certainly present some challenges, but all in all, when it’s all said and done, our family is still together, which is something that we haven’t always been able to say during holidays. What are some of the things you do to make holidays memorable and meaningful when you are smack-dab in the middle of a PCS move?

Read next: 5 Ways to Beat PCS Jitters 

Original photo credit: Photo Pin Creative Commons