How to avoid shedding tears during holiday cheers

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class James L. Miller
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
It happens every year-- military members start the long trek home for the holidays.
For some, it is their first time going home after being away for an extended time, for others it may be their fifteenth. But it doesn't get any easier.

In my limited experience in leaving home, there are some things I have learned so I don't cry (as much) when I say good bye to my Grandma.

One thing is to spend as much time with loved ones as possible. Even if it is watching a 1968 black and white VHS Christmas special, being with people you love is better than being alone.

Sometimes, we can be so busy we don't even remember what we did the day before. Maybe that is just me... Regardless, the best way to prevent that is to take plenty of pictures. If you see your family, take a picture with them, if you see your friends, take a picture with them.

Pictures can be sent across the world in a matter of seconds, and everyone can be a photographer when they have a phone in their pocket. So, if you are feeling home sick during the holidays, you have those memories in the palm of your hand.

Spending time with family and relaxing may be the easy part, but the dreadful moment always comes when you have to say your farewells.

The hugs and kisses goodbye can start the waterworks, but the thing you should remember is everyone is just a phone call away.

Another thing to think about is writing letters.

Most think it's boring and takes too long, but that's what makes getting a letter so much more exciting. I have never jumped for joy over a text message, (except one time when my Mom said the pizza rolls were done). But I'm overly excited when I get letters from my friends back home, and usually have a hard time removing the smile from my face.

If letters aren't your type of thing, there are various other ways to stay in touch. With social media today there is a way to see, hear and soon maybe even smell what your friends and family back home are doing.

It doesn't hurt to post once a week about what have you been up to. These updates help your family know what you've been up to, and a single post reaches several people at the same time.

Even if you are far from home during the holidays, it's possible to bring the traditions home to you or start new ones on your own.

Is your dorm room a little bare, desolate and boring? Try decorating it like your house back home. It can help ease homesickness during the holidays because it can feel more like home.

The more fun you have with it, the easier it is to be away from home because it will be a close substitute.

Whatever it takes to keep yourself positive is what you should do.  Even if it is just a half foot plastic tree spray painted green, with carry out containers painted to look like presents underneath, it can help brighten your mood.

The main point to get across is don't cry over spilt milk. You are going to have to leave your loved ones at some point. A few tears shed are not bad, but with all the ways to stay connected, it will be like you never even left.