Holidays are hard when you spend them apart from the ones you love, especially with all the traditions of Christmas. Packaging up Christmas and sending it overseas may not replace holiday times together, but it can help ease some of the emotions and maybe even be a little fun.
In addition to restrictions and guidelines, USPS recommends “send by” dates to get packages to military members on time. Most dates are before December 10, so see if these ideas can get your mind cranking quickly:
Tree: You can send a mini Christmas tree with decorations and battery operated lights (with plenty of batteries). This way your service member and his/her unit can decorate it together.
Classic Movies/Cartoons: What’s Christmas without Rudolph, the Grinch and twenty-four hours of A Christmas Story? Pick out some holiday favorites and send them over.
Stuffed Stockings: Send a stocking with goodies including essentials like Chapstick, toothpaste, etc. but also send some candy canes and toys. In an AllMilitary.com forum, it was mentioned that deployed members enjoyed playing with toy soldiers, parachute men and squirt guns. Most dollar stores carry these items.
Christmas Carols: You can buy or make your own play-list set of Christmas carols. If you really want to personalize it, record your family singing tunes together for your service member.
Church Sermon: Many people make it a tradition to attend church for the special Christmas sermon. With the Internet it’s easy to get archives of past sermons. Snag one from the previous year and send your member a copy.
Gingerbread House Kit: Many grocery stores will stock winter-themed gingerbread kits during the holidays. It may be a fun activity for your service member and unit to play around with.
Decorations: Get kids involved and send homemade paper snowflakes, snowmen or Santa himself
And don’t forget New Year’s: You may be an ocean or two apart, but you can help your member welcome in the New Year by sending some confetti, blowers, hats and plastic champagne glasses to toast at midnight. You can also share your New Year’s resolutions and ways your deployed service member can be a part of them upon their return.
Are you sending a care package to someone overseas? Did you already send it? What’s in your care package? Leave us a comment and let us know!
Adrienne May is a military spouse. Her husband is an Army soldier and now is serving in the Army National Guard. Together they have three children from preschool to pre-teen. Adrienne is actively involved in family readiness and disaster preparedness on the state level and advocating for military family programs, homecoming transition programs and adequate veterans benefits.
Military Spouse Central aims to be a resource for military spouses as they deal with overseas deployment, sudden PCS orders and everything else that comes with marrying a member of the Armed Forces.
Adrienne May maintains Military Spouse Central for Veterans United Home Loans, the nation's leading VA-approved lender. Adrienne is wife to a National Guard solider and has built up a massive library of resources, tips, articles and contributors for military spouses from all branches!