5 ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day during deployment

Active Duty, Articles, Home Front |

Valentine's Day is fast approaching. No doubt you've noticed all the heart decorations, fancy boxes of chocolate and displays of roses in practically every store. If you or your loved one is stationed overseas, however, this holiday is more bittersweet than romantic.

Luckily, there are ways you and your loved one can celebrate the holiday despite living so far apart. Here are five tips for celebrating Valentine's Day during deployment:

A valentine and pen with text that reads, "Just because you and your loved one are apart doesn't mean you can't celebrate Valentine's Day."Handmade cards are a great way to express love to a person overseas.

1. Create a handmade card for your loved one

Nothing says "I love you" more than the personal touch of something handmade. A crafted valentine will mean much more to your loved one than something bought from Target or Walgreens. Possible materials for your project include:

  • Cardstock (much sturdier and sleeker than construction paper).
  • A bone folder (for a crisp, professional-looking folded edge).
  • An Xacto knife (makes cutting curves much easier).
  • Stencils or a calligraphy pen (for crisp lettering).

Additionally, there are many online resources, including DIY and crafting blogs, to help you create a professional-looking valentine.

2. Hold an unboxing Skype session

If you and your sweetheart plan to send packages or gifts to each other, schedule a time to meet on Skype, FaceTime or another video conference platform. Save your presents for your virtual date, then open them in front of each other. This way, the two of you can share the magical moment of seeing a gift for the first time, in real time.

3. Host a Gal/Palentine's party for other military spouses

It may be next to impossible to get ahold of your loved one on February 14. In that case, spend time with your friends or associates who are in a similar situation. Host an outing or dinner for people whose loved ones are also deployed servicemembers. You can simply meet up at a bar after work or arrange an elaborate weekend potluck.

Though the mood of the event won't necessarily be romantic, it'll be a great chance for everyone to talk about their thoughts and feelings in regard to being apart from the person they love. Having a deployed spouse or significant other is a unique struggle, and it's good to express these feelings with people who truly understand. 

4. Get active

Sometimes, Valentine's Day is the absolute last thing you want to think about. After all, you may tell yourself, what's the point of acknowledging the holiday if you can't be with the person you love?

If you feel this way, spend February 14 exploring a new or favorite physical activity. Sign up for a high-intensity workout like spinning, rebounding or weightlifting. Alternatively, you can take a relaxing walk around a local park. The goal here is to stave off a holiday-induced depression by getting your heart rate up and your endorphins flowing. Even just leaving the house can lift your spirits a bit.

5. Spend the holiday with your children

Valentine's Day isn't just about romantic love; it's also about family relationships. If you're a parent, spend today celebrating in the love of your children. Arrange a special treat for them – cupcakes, a trip to the movies, or a video conference with their deployed parent. Take them out to their favorite restaurant, buy them chocolates or let them stay up a bit past their bedtime.

At some point, you can have a conversation about the parent overseas. Kids often don't have the words to express their complex emotions, but talking with you can help them process what they're feeling. 

Keeping love alive despite the distance

Being separated from a loved one is incredibly difficult, but there are still ways to keep your relationship healthy. Use any of these five tips to celebrate the year's most romantic holiday with your significant other, your friends or your children.