If you’ve ever had a spouse deployed during the holidays, then you know the only thing harder than being away from family over Christmas is being away from your sweetheart.
Christmas in any branch of the military is hard for the homebodies among us. Whether you’re stationed in Japan or Texas, home for the holidays doesn’t always happen. Airlines are expensive, gas prices are high, and sometimes making the trip home means sacrificing the stuff under the tree.
Throw in single parenting or solo status and your Christmas blues go from sky blue to midnight.
Every Christmas, thousands of men and women across the armed forces trade hugs for Skype and homemade mashed potatoes for chow hall substitutions. Our service men and women work long, hard hours, and sometimes getting that gift shipped home for the holidays doesn’t always happen.
That’s where The Mrs. Claus Affair comes in.
During the holidays, squadrons and detachments and families and friends gather together to take care of their deployed military members. Packages are shipped and letters sent through the mail to hard-working men and women.
But what about the mothers and wives (or fathers and husbands) who are home doing all the shipping and shopping? Who makes sure they have something to open on Christmas Day?
One mother said that when she realized there wouldn’t be anything for her under the tree by Christmas, she took her children shopping and pointed out gifts they could get her, trying not to watch while they put them in the cart. Another said that with her husband’s hectic schedule he hadn’t been able to mail her packages in time for Christmas. They came, but it was January before she opened anything.
No one knows about being alone on Christmas like Mrs. Claus does, so who better to start a top-secret, super sneaky gift-giving project for spouses who are home holding up the tree?
TMCA is simple. People submit names to Mrs. Claus’ email address with some very basic gift-giving information about their nominee and why their friend or relative is so wonderful, including a mailing address. Families in the states (or overseas) who want to participate put together a personalized Christmas package for their assigned person and send it off in the mail with an official Mrs. Claus letter.
Usually, TMCA has more givers than they know what to do with; people are anxious and happy to serve.
“Our main goal,” said Claus, “is to make sure that everyone has something under the tree on Christmas morning. We see to it that each of our nominees receives a personalized gift just for them, something they can really enjoy.”
When the gifts arrive in the mail, the recipient is instructed to put it under the tree and wait just like everyone else. The sponsor family is always encouraged to write a personal letter to go along with their gift.
“Aside from the PO box, we give out no personal contact information about our nominees, with the possible exception of a favorite lipstick color,” Claus said.
“Melinda” (names have been changed to protect the sneaky) nominated her friend last year.
“She was pretty overwhelmed and a little emotional,” she said. “I’d say it was a great success. Thank you, Mrs. Claus. You are wonderful!”
Another one of last year’s recipients said, “I googled ‘Mrs. Clause Affair’ and found out about your mission. It made me cry. Thank you for the thoughtfulness you bring. I am still very unsure how you got my name and address, but I am going to guess it was from my husband. I don’t think there is anyone else that knows my address here. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!”
If you know a solo spouse stationed anywhere in the world who is stuck at home this Christmas and would like to nominate them for a Christmas morning gift from Mrs. Claus, email your nomination to email@example.com.
And if you would like to participate in this awesome Christmas gift-giving opportunity, volunteer today! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.