Christmas away from loved ones

Christmas is not going to be the same for many of us this year and some of us might be spending the big day alone for the first time and wondering how best to cope. 

As members of the Army, we get used to spending Christmas away from our loved ones and friends so, we asked for the Army Parents’ Network to give us some top tips on spending Christmas without those you love nearby. 
This is what they recommend to keep your festive spirits up: 
Don’t fixate on the date! 
25th Dec is just that – another day of the year and, let’s face it there are another 364 to choose from, so make plans, talk about them together and enjoy just as much fun at a later date. You might even get twice as many presents if you save your gift shopping until the sales! 
You don’t need to be together to appreciate the gift of family. 
The best thing about family is they will be there all year round whether that is physically, virtually, or in your memories; they are always with you. 
Do something together at the same time during the day. 
This could be listening to the Queen’s speech, watching a Christmas movie or looking at the moon. It makes you feel connected and gives you something to talk about to make you feel close, even with distance between you. 
Follow the lead of Father Christmas. 
Keeping jolly and sharing some festive cheer will help boost your spirits. A few small acts of kindness can help you make connections with friends and neighbours. Take time to stop and talk to shop staff as you do your last bits of shopping or wrap a gift for a neighbour. Sharing will help you realize you are not alone, even if you cannot be with your family. 
Go for a walk whatever the weather. 
Christmas is the one day of the year where almost no one is at work, people are not rushing around, and people go out for a walk. So, wrap up, get out, and say ‘hello’ you might be surprised at the response. 
And finally, enjoy complete domination of the remote control. 
Think of all those families arguing over what to watch on Christmas Day. Sit back, relax, and know you can watch anything you like! Enjoy your boxset binge with a mince pie or some chocolates. 
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year wherever you are in the world.