The holidays can be a hectic time of year and even more so when you’re PCSing. We’ve traveled on New Years’ Day ourselves so I’ll share some of the things we’ve experienced and learned from.
Things May be Closed
It’s important to note that many of the places you need to go to, to get orders or get ready to go may be closed or minimally manned over the holidays so plan accordingly. You will what to try to get as much done in early December if possible. I know many times it may take awhile to get orders so that will delay you in getting many things done. If this does happen, just relax during the time your waiting for your orders to drop so you’re refreshed to run around like crazy the week before you leave.
There May be Delays
The holidays are a busy time and the weather can be snowy. This can cause delays in your travel. Be patient and enjoy the hotel housekeeping while you can. If you’re driving be safe on the roads. Make sure your car is equipped with what it needs for the weather and the drivers are well rested. Remember, it’s not a marathon. The Air Force only expects you drive 8 hours in one day.
Places Open to Eat Holiday Dinner
You may want to have a nice Christmas meal but you currently live in a hotel. One option is to eat with friends one last time or house watch a friend’s place. If you’re in a foreign country such as the UK, life goes on as usual on Thanksgiving Day meaning you can eat wherever you’d like. Christmas is celebrated in most places so many places are closed. The UK has Boxing Day which is like our Black Friday and is a time to watch sports. It was originally a time when lords of the house would give their servants a “Christmas Box” or present to take home to their families the day after Christmas. Learn more about Boxing Day here. Now for a list of places that might be open on those holidays both in the UK or US:
Find a Way to Make the Holiday Special
Even though you don’t have a home or the festive decor, you still have each other. Even if your spouse is meeting you at the new duty location you still have your children, pets, friends or family in some capacity; enjoy spending that time with them. You can make memories of trips along the way, festive meals you’ve had at restaurants, or decorating a paper tree. They may be unconventional ways to celebrate but we live unconventional lives. Besides, the conventional can be sooo unmemorable so love the life you have!
Here’s an idea of what we’ve done:
- Paper tree
- Visit Family or friends
- Have dinner with friends
- Have dinner out
- Look out for base activities in the marketing publication or their Facebook page.
- Go to Christmas Mass
- Make a snowman (or if in Florida a sandman)
- Watch a Christmas Tree Lighting
- Watch Christmas movies
- Go see Christmas lights
- Take a trip
- Watch a Pantomime (UK)
- Go to a Christmas Market (UK/Europe) Bury St. Edmunds Christmas Market
- Visit a stately home (UK/Europe) Blickling Estate, UK ; Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
- Feed Reindeer (UK)
You Will Get Settled
It can be a little sad seeing everyone decorated their homes and hanging out with people they actually know but the next year you’ll have your stuff and new friends. PCSing during the holidays can be a monk-like experience in that you have none of your worldly possessions, you have to focus on the loved ones in your life and everything is new and different. You find out what is truly important and reinvent yourself. Trust that has hectic as PCSing over the holidays can be, they can be fun and you’ll eventually get settled.
Have you PCSed over the holidays? Please share your tips in the comments.