Known for family feasts and 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 minimum travel time and of course you can’t let him watch football and nap on the couch next to Uncle Joe. The name of the game becomes “improvise.”
Luckily you can send some tasty treats reminiscent of thanksgiving and send some great favorites that help bring Thanksgiving to your soldier! Here’s how:
For turkey, you can send turkey jerky or turkey spam; for mashed potatoes you can send potato chips or instant mashed potatoes; for cranberry sauce, you can send a canned version or craisins. Soldiers can usually microwave a just add water 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. You can also choose from multiple football-related movies to give a sporty, competitive feel. Perhaps you can also record some games from earlier in the season (this is my husbands favorite!) or send a classic game from a Thanksgiving years ago.
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.
Share with your service member the things you are thankful for, including the fact that they are fighting for their country in a foreign land. 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’ Thankful 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.
Photo thanks to crd via Flickr Creative Commons