How Do I PCS Over The Holidays!?!
Well, you guessed it, I was one of the select few who PCSed over the holidays. Not, once, not twice, but three times!! Good Gravy, I was starting to think the Army planned this one out! But, now what? What about all the presents, a Christmas tree, stockings all hung by the chimney with care and the BIG one…you know SANTA!!! What About Santa? How will Santa bring toys for the kiddos when you are living in a hotel room? What a crazy train… right?
Okay, once I stopped freaking out the first time, just kidding it took me until the end of the second holiday PCS. But, somehow I had to figure out a way (all three times) to make sure the movers did not pack some of our Christmas items. OMG, before I forget don’t let that pack that little Elf On The Shelf! Holy Bananas you don’t want to make that mistake. Make the PCS happy, have Christmas Eve in a hotel room, and Christmas morning make sure Santa knew where we were and he still stopped by. You know what as I am writing this I am thinking how in the world did I manage to make this happen three time!?! Well, I am about to tell you what I did in hopes it will help you if you get those little things called “orders” over the holidays.
Now, the first thing I did was make a list… and yes you bet I checked it twice.
1. Purchase a small tree (please hear me out when I say a small tree. Go to Wal-Mart and get a small tree no more than a foot high… it will be perfect.) with lights and ornaments already on it. Also, and this one is a BIG one, make sure the movers DO NOT pack your stockings, add them to the Do Not Pack Room! I know you can go out and purchase new ones if need be, but we all know it’s just not the same.
2. Make sure all of your gifts are purchased and wrapped prior to the pack and load day. I did this the week prior and put them in trash bags, marked on them DO NOT PACK, and tied the top. I also put red tape (I used my sons baseball bat wrapping tape because that was all I could find at the time.) around the top where I tied it so I knew it was not tampered with. If you are worried about your pages being messed with, place them in your POV (privately owned vehicle) while the packers and movers are at your home.
3. This one is also VERY important if you are anything like me! Call the local grocery store (at your new duty station) and order a Christmas dinner in a box. Schedule this to be picked up December 24th, as the refrigerators in temporary housing/hotels are sometimes super small. Purchase cute Christmas plates, napkins, etc at the local Dollar Store. You can also grab some cute decorations while you are at the Dollar Store to decorate the hotel room… I mean why not get all festive right? If you are not able to cook a family dinner (you would need to be in an extended stay hotel) get out and check out the local area. You would be surprised how many restaurants are open in Christmas day… hey you may have an aweosme story to tell one day, like the time you had Chinese for Christmas dinner.
4. Google the duty station you are PCSing to and check out the holiday event calendar. You never know there may be a really cute play, concert, or tree lighting you and your family can attend. Honestly, this is a great way to go on post and check out what family events are really like. If you are at a HUGE post like Bragg there is always something going on, and the holiday events are fun. If you are at a smaller post well it will be a smaller event, but I think it would be super fun, more like a small town family Christmas. Also, go old school and get in the car, drive around, and look at Christmas lights. I can remember doing this as a kid and it was so much fun! We were always in our PJs so for some reason that made it more fun.
5. If you don’t want to get out too much while you are at the Dollar Store purchase items to make some cute Christmas decorations. This could be a super fun family activity, and to make it even more fun ordered a pizza and have a carpet picnic while you watch Christmas movies on the laptop. Or just put on a Christmas album and sing away! Am I am good singer, NOPE but I sure do think I am and I will sing away whenever I can. Even if you have older kiddos, this is still a fun activity that can involve the entire family, yes even a dad can do this one.
If you do not have time to bake those special cookies for Santa, you can always purchase some at the Commissary… trust me he wont mind. Santa loves all cookies he would never discriminate.
Just remember no matter where you are, as long as you have your family together it will the perfect holiday. You can make it special regardless of how much money you spend, or if you eat on the carpet or at a fancy table. Christmas is about being with the ones you love and even if you have to spend that time in a hotel room, as long as you are together it will be a magical-memorable Christmas.