holiday traditions

Navigating the holidays while forming holiday traditions in the midst of living a military lifestyle can be a unique challenge. But fear not, friends! We’ve curated a list of affordable and unique holiday traditions that have been crafted for military life!  We hope these ideas add a touch of joy and connection to your festive season, no matter where you’re stationed.

Let’s dive into these traditions that are designed to create positive and fun memories for all!

Time Capsule Ornament:

  • We actually do this for every duty station, while some may choose to do one yearly.  Each year, have each family member write down a special memory from that year on a slip of paper. Place the slips in a clear ornament to serve as a hanging time capsule on your tree. As you move from duty station to duty station, you can open the ornaments and reminisce about the memories collected over the years. This tradition builds a tangible and sentimental connection to the past, hopefully creating core memories that can be cherished no matter where you are stationed.

Progressive Holiday Dinner:

  • Host a “Progressive Holiday Dinner” with your neighbors or friends. Each participating household can be responsible for a different course of the meal (appetizers, main course, desserts, etc.). Start at one house for appetizers, move to another for the main course, and continue until you reach the last house for dessert. It’s a fun way to share the holiday spirit, showcase each family’s specialties, and build a sense of community. This tradition fosters connection to the people you rely on the most and adds a unique twist to the typical holiday feast.  We’ve also been known to put a little spin on things by doing just desserts and drinks!
Holiday Traditions for Military Families
Progressive dinner or events are a great way to meet ALL the neighbors.

Secret Kindness Mission:

  • Encourage acts of kindness by organizing a “Secret Kindness Mission.” Each family member draws another family member’s name and secretly performs small acts of kindness for them throughout the holiday season. It could be leaving sweet notes, doing chores, or surprising them with a treat. Reveal your “Secret Kindness Buddy” on Christmas Day, and see if they knew it was you!  Not only is it good to be kind, it’s contagious 🙂

Community Care Packages Day:

  • Dedicate a day during the holiday season to create “Community Care Packages” as a family. Gather essential items such as non-perishable food, hygiene products, warm clothing, and blankets. Work together to assemble care packages and then distribute them to local shelters, food banks, or organizations that support those in need. You can also include handwritten notes or drawings from your family to add a personal touch. This tradition not only teaches the importance of empathy and generosity to your children but also directly impacts your community, making the holiday season brighter for those facing challenges.    Some of my favorite memories with my kids are when we provide for those in need.  So rewarding!

The PCS Homegirls personal favorite holiday traditions are…

Annie’s Family Tradition – The Pajama Legacy Tree Skirt:

  • Each year, Santa brings Christmas pajamas for all four of my daughters. As they outgrow the pajamas, they get passed them down the line. Once my littlest has grown out of them, I put them aside.  When my girls are older, I plan to take the pj’s and have them repurposed into 5 tree skirts – one for me and the rest for each of my girls.  They can use the tree skirt to decorate their own Christmas tree in their home one day, and remember our Christmas celebrations over the years!

Tracey’s Family Tradition – 4 Gifts of Christmas

While simple in nature, this tradition helps take some stress off the holidays.  Santa brings 4 gifts for each of my daughters – Something she wants, something she needs, something to wear and something to read!  Plenty of room for fun but it helps to eliminate chaos during a very chaotic season.  Sticking to these 4 gifts and nothing more helps to set the tone for Mom, Dad and kids and helps fight the urge to over gift 🎄

Holiday Traditions four gifts

And there you have it – a lineup of simple traditions to make your holidays memorable. Adapt them to your circumstances and make them your own.

Got some unique traditions up your sleeve? Share them with the community! We LOVE to hear from you. Wishing all our military families a season filled with warmth and joy! What unique traditions make your holidays special? Share your stories with us!


Is your holiday tradition to move? If you are looking for a military-friendly real estate agent in your area to buy or sell a home, you’re in the right place. Click here to fill out our Military Real Estate Questionnaire and we will help find you an agent that is a great fit or send a us a message.