As the song goes, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” … Not every Marine or Marine Corps Family will hum along with you as you sing this classic holiday tune. Holiday time is not always a joyous occasion for every Marine. The holiday period sometimes means duty that will not allow Marines to visit family. It also means that some Marines do not desire or that it may be detrimental for them to visit family. Health and safety during a pandemic may make travel not an option for some. Finances are also a determining factor when it comes to heading home during the holidays. The great news is there are many alternatives for Marines and Families that will be on a Marine Corps Installation and in the surrounding community during the holidays.


  • Holiday Entertainment – take in some of the outstanding shows and concerts that are offered during the holiday season.  This year it may be virtual, but you will probably find The Nutcracker and The Grinch being offered in many forms this season. “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band and Marine ensembles also offer concerts across the Corps during the holiday season. Each installation typically hosts a tree lighting event that appeals to families.


  • Holiday Decorations – enjoy some of the decorations that are close to you. Each installation and city will typically decorate for the season. Venturing out to malls and local venues will also give you a glimpse at some of the sparkling lights and decorations that make the season. Do not forget a warm drink to go along with your decoration viewing.


  • Volunteer – give back during the holiday season by donating your time to a group that you enjoy. Do you love helping people? Spend some time supporting a Veterans Affairs retirement home or hospital. If service is more your thing, organize a coat drive or work in a soup kitchen. Do you love animals? The local shelter is always looking for help walking and playing with the animals.


  • Holiday Races – what better way to celebrate the season than to dress like Santa and run a virtual charity race. You will lift the spirits of those that see you, get physical activity for yourself and help out the organization. Most areas will offer a “fun run” during the holiday season and have worked toward an alternative for today’s environment. If your area has not created one, you can do it! It may require a little creativity, but in return you get a lot of fun and camaraderie.


  • Party – Ok, not our typical holiday parties, but do not strike them from your list. Keep an eye out for events hosted by programs geared especially toward those Marines and Families that do not leave the installation. Socially distanced activities can still be fun. Do not be shy. Attend these events and enjoy yourself. It may be holiday movies or a gaming competition. It gets you out enjoying some of the best parts of the season.


It can be one of the most wonderful times of the year, even if you have to stay put. Enjoy what your area has to offer and try some new things. You may discover that you have found new traditions to incorporate in your annual holiday celebration.