Military wife cleverly includes deployed hubby in sweet Christmas card to spread holiday cheer

Dec 28, 2018

Christmas is often the most wonderful time of the year for many—a season of joy when gifts are exchanged and families are united. While many Americans eat, drink, and make merry with family and friends, some military families will have to spend this Holiday thousands of miles away from their loved ones on deployment.

Missing her deployed Marine sergeant husband Andrew Smith, who had to spend his first Christmas away from their 3-year-old daughter Charlotte in 2017, military wife Andrea Smith, of North Carolina, came up with a creative way to brighten an otherwise lonely Christmas.

Photo courtesy of Andrea Pritts-Smith

“Deployments are HARD. I struggle A LOT and somedays I want to throw in the towel and beg the Marine Corps to return my husband and her daddy to us, but we all know that’s not how this lifestyle works,” Andrea wrote on Facebook.

Speaking to PEOPLE, she said, “We decided to come up with something that not only brings some holiday cheer to those going through a similar situation as us. But also to share the awareness that there are still so many military families missing their loved ones during this holiday season.”

Hence, Andrea approached photographer Leslie Owen to create a special family Christmas card that would include herself, Charlotte, as well as Andrew, even though he’s far away.

Photo courtesy of Andrea Pritts-Smith

“Andrea had the original idea to take the picture at Target,” Owen told WTAE. Target is Charlotte’s favorite store.

“I have no idea why she loves Target so much, but she is obsessed. Any one she sees, she wants to go in. Every time we drive past she asks, ‘Mommy, can we go in?’” said Andrea.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Owen Photography

In one of the aisles of the department store, Owen snapped a playful photo of Charlotte in her red shoes, standing precariously atop a heaping pile of toys in a grocery cart, with her mom spotting her carefully from behind. A second photo was snapped of Andrea sitting on the floor, strangely enough, drinking a cup of Starbucks coffee.

With creativity, Owen then merged the two pictures together digitally before adding a photo of Andrew in a faraway landscape into the masterpiece.

And what was the result? It was a humorous yet touching montage of Andrew in military uniform, with his arms outstretched, ready to catch his daughter should she fall from her precarious perch, as she reaches for the toys on the top shelf. Meanwhile, Mom lounges about drinking her coffee, blissfully unaware of her daughter’s mischief.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Own Photography

The simple triangular composition and fun humor are charming, and the message is sweet: This dad would always be watching out for his little girl. Never fear, Daddy is watching over you from afar, dear!

Andrew was completely blown away seeing this one-of-a-kind Christmas card. “His first reaction was, ‘This is fantastic,’” Andrea told ABC News.

As for Andrea, she was awestruck by the amazing montage. “When I saw us all together, I thought, ‘This is perfect,’” she said. “There was not another word for it.”

“When you see our Christmas card, we truly hope it spreads holiday cheer & giggles,” she wrote on Facebook.

Photo courtesy of Andrea Pritts-Smith

“The best Christmas gift of all would be for everyone to have everyone home safely, but until then thank you for all you do and please everyone keep our military members and families in your prayers and hearts this holiday season!” Andrea added.

Count your blessings if you’re able to spend Christmas with your family, because many other military families do not have such privilege.

Thank you all military personnel and families for your service and sacrifice! We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a safe return home!

Photo courtesy of Andrea Pritts-Smith


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