From feasts to football, Thanksgiving is loaded with tradition. If a deployment has your family split this season, it may be a bit difficult to enjoy a second helping of stuffing.
You can’t send a steaming plate of turkey, mashed potatoes and a side of pumpkin pie and expect it to last the two- to three-week travel time. Luckily, you can send some tasty treats reminiscent of Thanksgiving and send some great favorites that help bring Thanksgiving to your service member overseas! Here’s how.
It’s all about substituting the real Thanksgiving meal for one that can make the trip.
For turkey, you can send turkey jerky or turkey spam. For mashed potatoes, you can send potato chips or instant mashed potatoes. Instead of cranberry sauce, you can send a canned version or Craisins.
Service members can usually microwave a instant stuffing, and canned green beans or candied yams are usually welcomed with open arms. To complete the meal, you can send packaged desserts and packages of spiced cider or hot cocoa. Or, if you are really creative, try baking some of these desserts in a jar or even pies in a jar!
It’s an American tradition to watch or play football on Thanksgiving. Send a football for the unit to play with in their downtime. (To save space, you might want to send a deflated one alongside a pump.)
You can also choose from multiple football-related movies to add to the fun. Perhaps you can also record some games from earlier in the season, or send a classic game from a Thanksgiving years ago. Put it all on a USB drive or some DVDs.
A little visual reinforcement can go a long way! You can send themed plates and cups, wall hangings and even some stuffed turkeys. Try to get the kids involved and make hand turkeys or decorated pine cones.
Don’t forget to share with your service member the things you are thankful for, including the fact that they are fighting for their country. You can include some of your favorite memories and remind them of how much you love them and can’t wait until they return. Consider including kids, other family and friends’ lists as well.
Fall is all about the leaves changing and the weather cooling. Send some pictures of the season by playing in leaves or dressing the kids in their cool-weather gear such as scarves, gloves and boots. Have kids make hand print turkeys or draw pictures. Even little touches like a few pressed fall leaves from the backyard will turn the holiday spirit up a notch!
Some families host an early celebration and film it for their service member to watch during their own Thanksgiving meal. Send some personal messages to your service member and give them a glimpse of your Thanksgiving fixings.
What else do you do to give your service member a great Thanksgiving?
Photo courtesy crd