PCSing and Christmas


The other day my husband was kind enough to lug the numerous totes of Christmas decorations out of the garage.  He told me we have way too much and I need to get rid of some of the decorations.  What he didn’t know is that I did purge A LOT of stuff this summer before we PCS’d.

I was horrified when I opened one of the totes to find a bunch of ornaments all tangled up and broken.  Apparently the movers didn’t like the nice ornament boxes I bought and carefully filled so I wouldn’t have broken/tangled ornaments.  I don’t even know where the ornament boxes are!  Grrrr…

Some of the decorations were still wrapped in tissue paper and all in one piece.  I was getting out the stocking hangers to put on top of our hutch and I realized, “Wait a minute.  I don’t need these this year.  I have steps and I can hang the stockings on the railing!”  We haven’t lived in a two story house since 2006 and I am so excited to put lights on the stairs and hang the stockings on the railing like my mom did when I was growing up.

I also got to thinking about how military families have to “learn” to decorate for the holidays every time we PCS.  Every house is different.  Furniture changes (i.e. new furniture or can’t fit the furniture like we did in the previous house, etc).

One of my kids’ favorite decorations is a plush Nativity set that my mother bought for my son for his first Christmas.  You can move the pieces around and set it up however your heart desires.  My kids are 10 and 7 now and they still love to play with it.  I love the fact that they still find something like this fun to play with after so many years.

Another “constant” in our decorations is a star for the top of the Christmas tree.  My son made it in Kindergarten.  It’s a toilet paper tube with a yellow star made of construction paper.  Our kids take turns every year putting the star on top of the tree.  Sure we have beautiful angel toppers for the tree, but the star my son made is very special to our family and I truly hope it hasn’t gotten lost (or smashed) in the totes.

What are your (or your child’s) favorite holiday decorations?

About the Author

Joan D'Arc

Joan D'Arc has been an Army spouse since 1997. She started her marriage as a geographical bachelorette and experienced her husband's first deployment before their first wedding anniversary. Since then, she has had two beautiful children who amaze her (and frustrate her) every day. Joan fought her way through graduate school and is now a Licensed Social Worker. Joan enjoys volunteering with Soldiers' Angels and giving back to the military community in any way possible. Joan feels very blessed to be an Army spouse and wouldn't trade this life for anything!

  • Amy

    We just experienced this phenomenon for the first time. Trying to establish some constants and bought the Little People nativity set for my son to play with. I love the concept of traditions, but they take time to establish and it’s difficult to do when one of the parents is (so far) only around every other year.

  • DL Sly

    We’re in the middle of constructing the DL Slyville Christmas village. It has grown from a few simple mantle decorations to 10+ footlockers….and that doesn’t count the tree decorations or outdoor stuff. Helping to decorate the tree and create the annual incarnation of the village are a couple of the traditions the VES begins planning before Thanksgiving dinner is even over.

  • Reasa

    We started making paper snowflakes every year. It is so much fun and if some get messed up that is ok because they are easy to replace. Plus it gives the kiddos something to look forward to when school is out for Christmas break.

  • Maharet

    i don’t have kids, but my cats love to play in my tree, knock out my decorations and toss them around on the floor. it makes me giggle…until my tree comes crashing down. silly kitties. heh…

  • I’m so sorry you lost so many precious ornaments! I do want to thank you though because you just gave me the perfect solution that I needed! We have for years tried to find a tree topper that we liked for our tree (that fit our frugal budget!). We tried one a couple years ago, but it was so cheap, it tarnished by the next year.
    I’m going to have my daughter make us one!! The toilet paper tube will fit perfectly on top of the tree and having something that she made would mean so much more than a store bought one anyway! We have quite the supply of those tubes around here and construction paper is always on hand, so this is it! I’m so excited :) SO simple, yet I never thought of it before.