PCSing During The Holidays



When I was about ten years old, I remember a marathon road trip from Idaho to Georgia. Four days of  funky gas station potty breaks, napping at truck stops and playing games with my sister in the car.  Having stayed too long visiting relatives on leave en route to our new station, this trip was not a sightseeing tour.

We arrived in Georgia on Christmas day.  My parents took us to the Army’s dining facility for a traditional turkey dinner.   My pen pal friends who weren’t in a military family couldn’t understand how someone could do that to us.   But my parents still found ways of making it feel like the holidays.  We were still able to open our presents out of sight from the back seat tucked away in the trunk of the car when we arrived at billeting.  There wasn’t a tree but my mother made sure we had stockings, candy canes and Christmas cookies.

But the most important thing to me was when she handed me some stationary and told me to write.  (I’m sure it’s not much different from when I hand my oldest a pen and notepad from my purse when he starts asking “Are we there yet?” on our way to the aquarium.)  I detailed the trip, from how much I missed the smell of my grandma’s ever flowing coffee, fireplace and hand cream down to the billboards I saw on the trip.  Most of all I recall still feeling connected, loved and secure, despite not having a house, all of my things and extended family down the street.

Today I am the military wife. I don’t know if I would hold it together as well as my mother did during the trying times.  But using those memories as a guideline, I never feel terribly lost.

Have any of you had to PCS during the holidays, and what did you do to make things special for your family?  Please share your tips, tricks and love!

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  • September 26, 2014

    My husband and I will be arriving in Okinawa on November 30th. I had thought to bring stockings, but I hadn’t even thought about bringing a few things to decorate our room! Which will inevitably be TLF! Thanks for the ideas and I am hopeful that despite missing home, our first few weeks in Okinawa and our holidays will go well!

  • December 17, 2008

    I very surprised that no one has commented on this one, yet. I know lots of folks have PCSed during the Christmas season. And we are currently in the process of doing just that. My husband and I, plus our 5 year old daughter, will spend Christmas at Westpac Lodge. We arrive in Okinawa on Dec. 22nd, and will spend a couple hectic days in-processing before the whole base shuts down (we hope).

    I have brought enough decorations to make the room “festive”. BUT, we could sure use some suggestions on how to make this Christmas special in Okinawa while stuck in the Lodge.

    Thanks to Okinawa Hai folks, we have reservations for the Botanical Garden on Christmas Eve to see the lights, etc. Lots of last minute gift shopping at the PX and sightseeing will take up the rest of the time.

    What do you think? Any other special Okinawa activities for this PCSing family? Thank you for being there ya’all! And Merry Christmas!

    Mary Rose