If this is the year you'll be missing the comforts from home at the holidays, then you need to check out my tips for celebrating the holidays away from family. Plus discover how you can help make the holidays special for our U.S. servicemen and women serving overseas.


This year, will you be missing the comforts from home at the holidays?  

Most of us want to be home at the holidays… but it isn’t always possible.  We rarely made it home for Thanksgiving or Christmas when we lived in New York, but the 4th of July, you betcha we were there!

Living far from home, we developed a strategy for the holidays…


Tips for Celebrating the Holidays away from Family.


Tips for Celebrating the Holidays Away from Family

Invite friends and acquaintances to join you for the holiday.

It’s amazing how many people are away from home or alone for the holidays.

Don’t do everything yourself.

Ask your guests to bring their favorite holiday dish or comfort food.  It’s a wonderful way to help make their day more special and yet familiar.  Plus, you just might discover a new recipe to become your holiday favorite.

Keep it simple.

Everyone will feel more comfortable if you make the meal and the table setting casual.

Make dessert easy.

I discovered my supermarket carries Marie Callender’s amazing Southern Pecan Pie.  And with such a great sale, I got several to bless a few people.


Wishing for Comforts from Home at the Holidays and shopping for Marie Callender's at the supermarket pie case.


It’s truly delicious.  And it’s so easy… you don’t even need to bake it.  I know.  That’s ridiculous.  But, it’s true!  Of course you don’t have to call attention to the fact it’s so easy.

TIP.  While the pie is still frozen, slip it out of its cellophane sleeve and then remove the pie from its metal pie plate.  Just flip it over into your hand.  Then… slip it into a ceramic pie plate.  I know!  It’s so easy.  Let the pie thaw for a few hours and place it in the oven for 20 minutes just before serving to warm it up.  Serving a slice of warm delicious Pecan Pie right from “its” pie plate on the table.  Oh yeah!!

Comforts from home at the holidays - Marie Callender's


Put flowers on the table. 

Because you’re not spending vast amounts of time baking pies, you can inexpensively place a floral centerpiece on the table that YOU arranged yourself. And YES! everyone loves fresh flowers and it is still sweetly simple.


Wishing for Comforts from Home at the Holidays ~Tips for holidays away from family


TIPS: for creating a beautiful floral bouquet for your centerpiece.

  ~ Pick up an inexpensive bouquet at the supermarket.  Mine cost $4.84.  Or pick some wild flowers or berries.  I picked these rose hips behind a commercial enterprise.

  ~ Find a small inexpensive vase to hold your flowers.  Mine is just 4 inches tall and was on the clearance shelf for $2.90.

  ~ Cut the flowers so their stems are about the same length.  I separated mine according to color.

Wishing for Comforts from Home at the Holidays ~ Flower Arranging Tutorial

  ~ Fill your vase with water and be sure to add the floral food.

  ~ I placed the rose hips in the vase first and then added in the other flowers by color group.  This makes it easier to disperse the colors evenly.

  ~ Don’t worry about perfection.  It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.

  ~ Place your lovely floral arrangement on the table and enjoy!

Wishing for Comforts from Home at the Holidays ~ Arranging fresh flowers for the table.


Remember the purpose of inviting friends for the holiday.

It isn’t about showing off your home or your culinary skills.  It’s about enjoying a meal with friends and getting to know them better.  It’s about making your friends feel included and valued.

TIP: If your friends don’t know each other.  Make up little cards with conversation questions.  It’s a fun non-threatening way to spark good conversation.


Marie Callender's Southern Pecan Pie


Enjoy your celebration!

Don’t get so caught up in being the event planner for your gathering that you don’t take time to sit back and relax with your guests.  Be sure to have fun and enjoy the day!


Many holidays I missed the comforts from home.

I also missed the stories of the past which are told around the dinner table… the ones that are treasured and remembered.

I’m glad I didn’t miss that holiday dinner where I learned my dad was a patriot.  Not in the usual sense.  He wasn’t the kind of war hero most people think about when they think about war heroes.

Growing up my dad taught me respect for our country and the American flag.  He was involved in local politics, and was well-read and studied on the history and political issues of our nation and instilled his value and appreciation of the military to me growing up. My father was old enough to be my grandfather… so he was either too young or two old to serve in any of the wars. But, because he believed service to his country was important, he left his business during the war to go to work in a factory building aircraft engines. He always honored and valued those who could serve…. and it spilled over to me.  That’s why I’m pleased to participate with the Comforts From Home Project.


Wishing for Comforts from Home at the Holidays - My story of patriotism


This is a wonderful program for countless brave men and women who will miss the comforts of home to serve in the U.S. military.  Because of Marie Callender’s partnership with the United Service Organizations (USO) troops stationed overseas will receive care packages through a $250,000 donation to the USO2GO program.  The program ensures they have a place to celebrate the holidays with seasonal meals, entertainment, and stress-free relaxation.

When you pick up Marie Callender’s meals and desserts from your local store, look for specially marked packages that encourage you to go online to http://clvr.li/1Ga3OXC and support the Comforts From Home Project.


Marie Callender's Comforts From Home Project Screen Shot


You can see how easy it is to enter the code from the back of the box.  For every entry by 1/29/2016 of an 8-digit code found on participating products, Marie Callender’s will donate $.50 to the USO Operation Celebration program. Guaranteed minimum donation: $100,000. Maximum donation: $300,000. Limit 5 code entries per person/computer each day. Valid in U.S. Only.

We may not be able to serve alongside our overseas troops, but we can enjoy Marie Callender’s meals and visit http://clvr.li/1Ga3OXC to bless and encourage our U.S. servicemen and women over the holidays through this wonderful partnership.  Will you join me in partnering with the USO and Marie Callender’s to show our gratitude and bring much-needed encouragement with the warmth and feeling of home to those who miss it most?

Connect with Marie Callender’s on Pinterest and Facebook.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Thanks for stopping by today… I can’t wait to hear your lovely thoughts!

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  1. Colleen says

    As a military spouse, my husband has served for over 20 years. We have been stationed overseas twice. These types of programs help because we cannot travel home, even if our family is together, and it hasn’t always been. Thanks you for your support.

    • Colleen, I cannot even imagine the strain to be so many miles away from home. Thank you for your service as well. You might not have worn the uniform… but you have paid the price… and for that I am grateful. [hugs]

  2. Malia says

    Great post Diane! Thanks for the flower arranging tips. I love seeing you in the frozen food aisle photo!

    • Haha!! Now you know my secret place. 😉
      Thanks for the kind words, Malia! [hugs]

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