17 Military Homecoming Date Ideas + Tips
Having a loved one return home from deployment is one of the most exciting moments for military spouses and families. No matter what you do to celebrate, this event will be one to remember. Find tips on how to plan a successful military homecoming with crafty signs, celebrations, and more to say “Welcome home.”
Make a Sign
It's easy, creative, and can be personalized just for your special person. This is a great thing to do with little ones, because what kid doesn't enjoy a bit of coloring with markers? Make sure your sign pops and is the first thing that your loved one sees when they step off of their plane.
Dress to Impress
Your family can dress up in their finest, in costume, or in theme on the big welcome home day. If your active military member has a favorite television show, play on that. If they love a specific football team, gear up for his/her arrival.
Stock the Fridge
He/she has been away eating what the military provided and is likely looking forward to all of his/her favorite snacks and treats. Stock the fridge with all of the goodies that you know your loved one will appreciate. Make favorite meals, buy favorite beverages, bake sweet treats and have everything ready for the big arrival.
Have a Picnic
Pack your loved one’s favorite foods and head to a local park to bask in the sun. Bonus points if you live near a beach!
Discover Local Foods at the Farmer’s Market
Most communities have at least one farmer’s market on the weekend. Aside from picking up locally-sourced fruits and vegetables, you can start your day by enjoying a cup of coffee and breakfast together from one of the many food vendors.
See a Movie at the Drive-in Theater
One-up a movie date by taking a step back in time and head to a drive-in. Not only is this more intimate as you don’t have to worry about the guy next to you getting up constantly, you can also bring your own snacks and feel free to talk throughout the film.
Check Out a Museum
Enjoy a cultural experience by strolling through the halls of your local museum. Many museums also offer free entry to military families – check here to see if a location near you participates in the Blue Star Museum program.
Take In the Scenery and Go Hiking
Not only will you get in some exercise, but you’ll also enjoy an adventure together free of digital distractions.
Plan a Night In
Date nights don’t have to mean leaving the comfort of your home. Instead, get dressed up and cook a meal together at home followed up by a movie or game. The dishes can wait.
God bless technology! Make time once a month to sit down at the same time and pick out the same movie on Netflix to watch.
Start Planning a Trip
Most commands allow POM leave after big deployments. Why not get excited for that now?
Research places you want to visit, restaurants to try in a new city, the best hiking trails that stay within the out of bounds regulations your spouse has.
Not only will it give you some time to talk, it will also give you something to look forward to.
Of course if you start booking travel, remember the first rule of the military…nothing ever goes as planned! Make sure ALL plans are refundable or transferable just in case.
Take a Cooking Class
Food always seems to be the center of a celebration – take it up a notch and learn something new by enjoying a cooking class! You’ll not only bond over a new experience, but it’s also a great teambuilding exercise.
Attend a Comedy Show
There’s nothing like laughter to bond us together. Look on Groupon or LivingSocial for deals to see local comedians.
Participate In Paint Night
Explore your creative side by signing up for a couples paint night. These events set the scene as there’s typically food, wine, music, and camaraderie as you learn from an artist – you even get a souvenir to take home with you.
Mini-golfing that is. This is a classic date night and a good time to enjoy some healthy competition.
Plan date night at your local karaoke bar. If you’re like me and too chicken to get up on the stage, you can still have a great time people watching together.
Go on a Hike
Lace up your hiking shoes and find a local hike to conquer together.
Tips for a Successful Military Reunion
Don’t Overthink It
It’s easy to overthink the little things leading up to your military homecoming and constantly worry about making the reunion perfect. The reality is, your loved one will think the reunion is perfect no matter what! Avoid stressing the little things and putting too much pressure on yourself.
Get Help if Needed
Speaking of putting pressure on yourself, don’t be afraid to reach out for help in the days leading up to your military reunion. Family members, friends, neighbors, and fellow members of your military community are great resources if you need help with preparation or support.
Take it Easy
At the end of the day, your military homecoming should be focused on reuniting with your loved one and now stressing over grand welcomes. While big surprises and extravagant gestures look nice, it is just as wonderful to simply meet at the airport and spend one-on-one time together at home.
Put Away Your Phone
Celina and Kenny say they make a point of putting their screens down during dates.
Wait Until After Bedtime
It's fun to get the kids in on the action -- but if they go to bed earlier than you do, those couple hours of quiet can be a great time to rekindle your connection.
Look for the Silver Linings
Although staying home is hard in a whole lot of ways, it also offers a lot of opportunity for closeness, especially in a world where we're usually running all over the place.
Do be aware that surprises are not fun for everyone. While surprises make for some tear-jerking videos online, it can be an overwhelming event, especially if your loved one wanted a low-profile military reunion. If you think your loved one returning from deployment would prefer to not be surprised, talk to them before they come home to plan out what they would like to do and who they would like to see upon arriving home.
No matter what you plan, having your military reunion will be an amazing experience filled with love, joy, and excitement. Enjoy the homecoming of your loved one, and tell them, "Thank you!" from Lincoln Military Housing!