HMCS Charlottetown, currently deployed on Operation REASSURANCE, is preparing for a deployed Mediterranean Christmas while continuing to operate with NATO.
Even though the crew has become a family over the course of their deployment, it is the families back home that are on everyone’s minds now that the Christmas season is upon us. It is never easy for someone to be away from their family around the holidays and this holds true for all deployed service members aboard Charlottetown.
While families at home are decorating and preparing to put gifts under their trees, it is important that the ship’s company takes the time to celebrate the season and get into the Christmas spirit. The ship is already planning its Mediterranean Christmas with the Charlottetown family.
There are certain things that cannot be replicated in the Mediterranean, like going for a skate or having a snow day because you can’t get out of your driveway in the morning, but the ship’s company can still break out some decorations and eggnog in order to spread the cheer. So far this has included decorating the interior of the ship with trees and lights, showing Christmas movies in the messes, and preparing holiday meals to remind everyone of home.
Luckily a lot of this is made possible by the support networks that the ship has back home in Canada. Packages from families have included festive sweaters, treats and cards with holiday wishes in order to make sure that the crew is in the Christmas spirit.
It is also important to provide as many means as possible for deployed sailors to connect with their families, especially when they are being missed over the holidays. One such way that holiday wishes are being sent home is through recorded video messages. Sailors have been able to record videos in various parts of the ship which will be aired on CTV Atlantic throughout the month of December. This will allow families to catch a glimpse of their favourite sailor when they may have been limited in their communications for an extended period of time.
The ship’s Entertainment Committee has been busy planning events for the days leading up to Christmas so that everyone can participate in their favorite traditions. Festive activities will include caroling, Secret Santa gift exchanges and decorating competitions, among others. Everyone is being given the opportunity to suggest their favorite traditions from back home that can be implemented at sea.