So, your firefighter is working this Thanksgiving? Mine too.
I know how it feels, my heart sinks a little every time I see the coming holidays and which ones my fireman is working. It just so happens that this year he is on shift every holiday from 4th of July until New Year’s Eve. That includes Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I was super bummed. Sometimes it just doesn’t feel fair, I get that little twinge of being angry and sad but I suggest pushing those emotions out as quickly as possible. It doesn’t do anyone any good to let those feelings come out. They are irrational because loving men who are in the profession of being a firefighter means that they often work hours and days that are far less than desirable. Emergencies don’t take holidays and neither do public safety. It’s to be expected, so plan ahead and make the most of it all.
Sometimes our firemen work more holidays than they are off depending on how the calendar falls. What can you do to make the holidays yours? It takes some talking to yourself, some adjusting with family members and smiling because you CAN made it work out to fit your family’s needs. The way we go into the holidays is up to us, we have way more power than we let ourselves know.
Bringing a new tradition into play can be something that will set the tone for coming years, whether your firefighters are working or are lucky enough to have the holiday off. I have a few ideas that I have either toyed around with or use currently.
- Plan a Thanksgiving meal on an off day before or after Thanksgiving Day according to your fireman’s schedule. Even if you have to celebrate with your families on the day alone, make a special day to share with your fireman.
- If your fireman’s department doesn’t host a Shift Thanksgiving, check into taking them a meal. Coordinate with other spouses. Have your fireman check into having a family friendly meal with all of the fireman and their families where everyone brings a dish. Of course, be prepared from someone’s fried turkey fiasco to interrupt your Fire Family meal 😉
- Enjoy your own family functions and have a meal catered to the station or help them plan a meal to fix themselves if it isn’t allowed to have families there. I understand that there are departments across the country that aren’t exactly family friendly, give it time and put that on your list to test the waters and see what kind of seeds you can plant for future gatherings. Just like fire wives, fire departments go through bad seasons as well. There is always hope.
- If your family or his family is willing to be flexible and it works with his schedule, you can plan a whole family Thanksgiving that includes everyone. This is hard for a lot of families to understand the schedules but you could try to convince them to try it out. My Firefighter’s family is good about planning our holiday functions around all schedules. Sometimes this means doing Thanksgiving the week before or Christmas on New Year’s Day. That totally works for us and never feels any less special.
The worst part is getting over the feeling of dread and disappointment from sometimes having to celebrate holidays on a day other than what is marked on the calendar. Once you find the truer meaning of each holiday, that will be easier to let go of a calendar and what much of the regular world calls tradition. I understand that this isn’t ideal but it’s the hand we’ve been dealt so rock it, Fire Wife Style! Stay tuned during the coming weeks for more ideas and stories about holidays revolving around the Fire Schedule.
Do you have any questions? Post them in the comments. Any suggestions or ideas about how to handle these fire life hiccups when it comes to Holidays? Just let us know in the comments, you never know who you’re helping out by sharing your awesome ideas! No one comes into this with all of the answers but we can sure share things that have helped us along the way.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving! ~ Jessie
If you are a wife, fiance or girlfriend of a fireman and you aren’t in the Fire Wife Sisterhood, I highly suggest looking into it. I can’t say how much this group of ladies support and encourage each other in times like this and how much joy we all share when things are going great for someone.
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