Being stationed overseas tends to alter the mania of holidays, the focus shifts from preparing for relatives to sending presents back to the States. Okinawa can be a culture shock as some American based Holidays aren’t celebrated, making the locating of resources and available activities difficult. So, what can you and your family do to survive the holidays while here? Here are some events and resources to check out!

Understanding the stress and the headache, Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) Okinawa offers a holiday meal at a favored dining location. MCCS is opening the bars and clubs on Thanksgiving and Christmas to invite service members and their families to enjoy a meal. Don’t like the idea of leaving home on a family holiday? MCCS Okinawa also offers to lend out their Chefs with Holiday Meals-To-Go, beginning 16 November 2020 and extending to 02 January 2021.Reduce the stress and partake in someone else cooking for you and your family.

One of the most frustrating parts about living overseas is the struggle of receiving and sending mail. Typically, there is a 14 day turn around; yet, the Holidays tend to cause a little chaos to this timeline. Many have begun to opt to utilize Amazon as their choice for gift sending. If this is your option take advantage of the gift wrap option available on most Amazon fulfilled item. However, if sending a unique gift from Japan, this year the Postal Service Centers have opted to cut down the stress by providing a more structured timeline on when to send packages to ensure on time arrival. Share this information with friends and family to ensure that it will arrive in time to be under the tree. 

A common favorite past-time for is to drive out to see the Christmas lights. Tough lights may not be on houses, many local businesses put up lights to celebrate the holidays. Research local events in Okinawa and take advantage of the unique surrounding culture. Beginning late-October and stretching into mid-January, the Japanese have many opportunities to celebrate their heritage. This results in the stringing of lights on their castles, in the gardens, and in various other locations around the city. Take the family to enjoy the Nostalgic Light Display at the Southeast Botanical Garden. Visit the Information, Tickets, and Tours (ITT) office to take advantage of discounted tickets to a number of these events.

Don’t allow yourself to get swept up in the mania. The holidays do not have to be stress-filled days. Instead, take advantage of the available events and resources around the island that can easily help those stationed overseas to survive being away from friends, family, and normal holiday traditions. Immerse in the culture around and take the chance to create a new Holiday tradition while in Okinawa, Japan.

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