Why Your Holiday Feelings are Bigger (and how to guide that sleigh)

by | Communication, Everyday, Firefighter Marriage


You know what feels good when life gets crazy? Validation that you aren’t crazy.

Yes, Virginia, Your Fire Family Christmas IS Extra crazytown.

We validate that as professionals with professional advice.

You already know this as a fire family (but let’s check that list twice because you may have forgotten about the ‘extra’ you manage)….

Do you have a plan about how and when you contact your firefighter?  We often get the question, “I have a problem (insert a long list of possible issues from mild to important ), should I call my firefighter, or wait until he gets off duty?

  • Holidays aren’t always celebrated together
  • Extra bad things the first responders see feel EXTRA bad during the holidays
  • Extended family doesn’t always get your fire life
  • Trades and time off are tough in this season…. but mid-week days off can make for some sweet, uncrowded family fun
  • Holidays trigger a LOT

So yeah… all the EXTRA you’re feeling is valid right now.

You don’t need or want a medal though. But even if you won’t admit it (because first responder families rarely ask for help right?), you want to just feel better this holiday.

Somehow, you want all the magical alignment of schedules and magical white christmas snowflakes to come together and bless your fire family with some extra special memories.

Here are 2 simple tips from the first responder therapy experts at First Responder Wellness:

#1 Be reasonable with your holiday expectations

Instead of trying to pack it all in to the 48 hours between shift days where there isn’t already another obligation, what if, you made a more reasonable plan and trusted that it will simply be the best way.

I know if you look at your December schedule, there may be literally only 3 days available to your family to share holiday traditions – get the tree, trim the tree, do the shopping, bake the baking, etc.

Reflect back to last December… what do you remember most? Do that. Do you even remember the cookie baking or was it a crazy blur?

Don’t succumb to the energy of the hectic holiday world around you trying to do #allthethings.

Instead, be reasonable. Maybe it looks like this….

  • 45 minutes of tree trimming together (because that’s all the little ones can handle)
  • Skip the fancy holiday dress up and find a cheerful sweatshirt to feel festive in and snap your own photos
  • Make 3 dozen treats instead of 30 dozen (don’t fall into the comparison trap of the bragging brigade on social media who has the perfect cookies every year with grandma’s baking day!)
  • Light a pine scented candle and add a holiday playlist to Spotify for dinner… that’s take out and saves you hours of prep time.

See how many ways you can be reasonable with the expectations?



#2 Acknowledge your emotions

Stuff the stockings but not your feelings.

It may seem like the right thing to just “hold it all together” for the holidays. Certainly we need to pick the right moments to let those feelings out in a healthy way, without damage.

But also, processing emotions in an already busy season can just sound overwhelming.

Worse yet, bottling them up can lead to a massive Christmas Grinch outbreak (link to our grinch blog)

So let’s keep this simple and sweet – like the glow in the eyes of a toddler in that moment when the magic of Christmas is everything to them.

  1. Acknowledge…. yes I’m having some feelings about “this” and whoa they feel bigger right now due to the holidays
  2. Reach out and release…. hey, safe bestie in my inner circle, I just need to get this off my chest in a safe place so it doesn’t leak out on my loved one.
  3. Breathe and re-enter… feel better? It should. Once you’re able to get a handle on emotions that are weighing you down, you can begin to make room for positive feelings instead of putting on a facade of happiness in front of loved ones.

(If it’s not feeling better, we’re here for you – firefighterwife.com/crisis).

Our best tip for all fire families is to work on the small stuff before it becomes big stuff.

One way is through our Families on the Frontlines series of trainings and events. An hour can make the difference of a lifetime.

Your Fire Life is different.
So your communication needs to be too

This Fire Family Training teaches strategies for navigating the stress and trauma a first responder life brings to your relationship and family.

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On a mission to be and inspire us all to be better humans, to strengthen fire families & marriages, to nurture and encourage fire wives, do "good business" in all areas of my life and of course, love on my 4 kids.

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