Are you “Empty Nesting” this Holiday Season


Always the hustle and bustle with our past trying to see both families on the East Coast. I thought it was so hard and easy at the same time. Renting a car to fit our family of 6, plane fare, or even driving from where ever we were stationed to our folks’ homes. Snow and all we were not going to be stopped.

Then our kids turned older and played school sports and that made things a little harder as we always said “you are part of a team and if you signed up, we were committed”. If the team didn’t take off neither did our team. Christmas was spent with just the six of us for a few years and I loved it.

Then came the years where my husband was deployed but I still had the kids to entertain and now in this season of life, he is home but our kids are not. A few tips that may help you get through that “Empty Nesting Feeling”

Keep those traditions alive~

Put that tree up early and keep it up later. Don’t forget to add those stockings on the mantle.

If adding Christmas lights to the outside of your home and yard is your thing, Do It! If you always have a few family traditions i.e.: cookie decorating, ginger bread house making or puzzle building, make those cookies and send them. Purchase gingerbread kits or puzzles and send them out before the holidays with a note to open on a certain day.  This can be a little long distance family fun and competition.   Especially if you vote on whose is the best or who was able to get that puzzle built quickest.

Not together but ~

You gotta LOVE Facetime, Zoom or anyone of those sites where you can see each other, talk, laugh and catch up. Take the time to show what you are cooking, the Christmas tree or just sitting on the couch with your favorite beverage of choice in your sweat pants or Pj’s. Seeing family and friends makes it so much nicer.

Make the meal~

Maybe Christmas morning you don’t make the dozen cinnamon rolls, the breakfast casserole that calls for two dozen eggs. Instead, make enough for you and your spouse or make the big batch and freeze it.  If you have those annual side dishes of green bean casserole, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes make them but maybe on a smaller scale. Yes, order that special, once a year prime rib and cook it as per usual. It is almost like spoiling yourselves.

Though family may not be around and you don’t like to have a quite home, invite other folks/empty nesters like yourself and make it a potluck, appetizers and beverages or just dessert and coffee. Play a game or two like Left Right Center or that unwrapping the gift box with oven mitts on, that is always are crowd pleaser.


How about this is the year you volunteer to serve others. Salvation ARMY, Food Banks, Soup kitchens, USO, Santa’s Closet, Spouses Club, churches, schools, hospitals. So many organizations can use helping hands during this season. The JOY it will bring you when you see a smile on that persons face as you hand them a meal or a child a toy is priceless.

Just stay in but…~

I know there are those that like the quite time, it is your time to reflect but for others it maybe time to get some of those needed chores done. Organize your closets, get rid of those shoes and jeans that you never wear. Bag them up and deliver to the Good Will or Thrift Shops that take donations. Get in that kitchen and purge items that are outdated in the pantry and fridge. Clean the garage of debris and rubbish and organize items on the shelves or in bins. Read a book series during this time, or maybe catch up on your favorite tv program.

Keep Moving~

But just because you stay in doesn’t mean you don’t move, still go for a walk, hike, bike or run. Yoga is a GREAT way to reduce stress, increase your flexibility and endurance. Try a new exercise program that you have never done before and set a goal. YouTube has all kinds of FREE fitness classes.

Giving yourself some “you time” is one of the greatest ways to Thank yourself. Polish your fingers and toes or give yourself a mini facial. Start writing in a journal. Maybe reflect the past year and create a bucket list for the future year to come.

Don’t get stuck~

Give yourself GRACE, embrace all the feelings that this holiday season has brought. Whether it is loneness, sadness or just an all-around an emotional rollercoaster. But be careful not to get stuck, help is available.

Military and Family Life Consultants (MFLC) 

Inspired and Grateful~

Be grateful that this empty house is a new chapter to be added to your journey. Believe it or not it is good for you and your children who have flown the coop. Eventually you will find things you love, appreciate and inspire you about empty nesting during the holidays. It doesn’t have to throw you off track. Following these tips and tricks maybe just the thing to get you through it. Who knows this may turn out to be the BEST season of your life as a Military Mom.

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Jenn Smith
Hey I'm Jenn, NYer turned OKie after my husbands 30 year ARMY career. We have four pretty amazing adult kids, two of which are active duty soldiers, so yes we are "empty nesters" But that didn't last, we bought 40 acres called The Roost and a few chickens to fill that void. Though my career was Physical Therapy many years ago, I chose to stay at home with our kids during my husband's active duty career with lots of volunteering added to my resume. I dabbled in substitute teaching at many duty stations and started contract work with R. Riveter as a Remote Leather Riveter, RR131 :). I love to cook, garden, create garden/field to table recipes and listen to audiobooks while doing that. My goal is to "keep moving" so staying active as long as I can through running, yoga, biking is my go to, but I do enjoy a frothy cup of black coffee, a glass of wine and chips and salsa. Here with Military Mom Collective I want to inspire, guide, share tips and tricks that we have learned through our military journey. Also to help other empty nester moms out there who have kids that are active duty. It is a different ball game when your kids are active and deploying, but we can get through it together.