UNION, SC (FOX Carolina) - The Christmas spirit is in the air. A time to wrap presents, bake seasonal goodies, and make merry memories with loved ones.
But for many military families, that sometimes means a member of their troop is serving our country overseas.
That's the case for the Farr family, in Union. Stacy's husband, 1st Sergeant Tee Farr, is deployed overseas to Kuwait with the Army National Guard, leaving her and their three sons in the states. While it may be a sad time for her and the kids, Stacy says creativity is part of the Christmas spirit too.
With the help of her friend Amy Austin, Stacy and her boys lined up for a photo, carrying a decorative red-and-green banner that read “Christmas” in white letters. The photo turned out well, and the boys even matched with blue shirts and khakis.
But across the ocean, Tee posed for his own photo too. He had his own banner too, but with the word “Merry” on it. He stood in front of a tank, and another soldier snapped the pic.
Then, the magic happened: Stacy spliced the photos together: her husband on the left, and her and the kids on the right.
The result? The Merry Christmas banner was complete, and the family’s Christmas card was finished. All it needed was the message at the bottom: “From across the ocean to the USA, the Farrs wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”
Little traditions like that matter, Stacy says.
"My husband and I have been married for 17 years," she said. "Him being gone is very hard, and even more so around the holidays. For us it’s important that traditions and events carry on, and we still want to include him and make him a part of what we are doing back home. He may be across the ocean, but we think of him and still include him in everything that we do back home."
That yearning for home is part of this journey. Stacy says missing Tee is worth it knowing that once he's back, things go back to normal.
"It’s tough being a military spouse and family. He’s absent from so many life events, and I am just looking forward to him being here and not having to experience it through a picture or sent video," she said.
And most importantly for their sons: "Our boys are looking forward to his smoked ribs!"
Stacy's been in this rodeo a few times during her husband's military career. For those who are facing their first holidays apart, she says it's all about keeping your chin high.
"Focus on the positives. Remember that the holidays only come once year, this time next year you will have your loved one back home with you. Take advantage of this time apart and let it help bring your family closer together," she says. "Do not spend the holidays alone, surround yourself with those you love and remember that is an important part in maintaining your well-being."