FORT STEWART, Ga. - For most, the holiday season is a time to gather with Family and friends, spend some time around a fireplace, and generally enjoy the time spent together.

However, for a Soldier this is not always possible.

Whether deployed, or just stationed far away from Family, it is not always possible to spend time with your Family for the holidays. This is especially true for some single Soldiers.

I honestly cannot remember the last time I was home in Florida, with Family for the holidays.

Whether it was deployments, or just finding the time to get back home for the holidays, it just never worked out. But, there are alternatives to still have the same feeling of connective-ness even if you aren't able to leave Fort Stewart for the holidays.

My personal go-to plan for many years now has been to spend the holidays with friends, that aren't able to return home.

It might sound cheesy, but it is possible to have a holiday celebration just with close friends. No one ever said you can't decorate your barracks room with holiday decorations -- sure that 8-foot tree might be a bad idea, or lighting real candles for a menorah.

But with reason it is possible to create a festive environment. Just gather up your friends, put on some holiday music, or watch the "Charlie Brown Holiday Special" for the 1000th time, and enjoy the company among comrades. Sharing gifts, telling stories, or just enjoying the company, can sway the feeling of being homesick.

Still not feeling the holiday season? Or still feeling homesick?

Well while many of us that have been deployed can tell you that it is still possible to stay in contact with loved ones. Just simply picking up the phone, or being able to see your loved ones over the internet, can lift the spirits of those feeling homesick for the holidays.

While it might not be a perfect solution, especially for those who think there has to be snow for the holidays (maybe rent a snow machine?), the best solution is to stay connected.

Whether it is spending time with friends or contacted Family, just coming together in one fashion or another can put one into the holiday spirit.

Page last updated Thu December 15th, 2011 at 00:00