Having a close relationship with a deployed soldier can make Christmas time particularly difficult. The holidays are perfect for celebrating togetherness, but with a loved one gone serving in the military makes it impossible. While your beloved veteran might be far away, there are ways to give him or her a piece of home. In this post, we’ll give you some tips on creating a Christmas military care package you can send to lift their spirits during this time apart.
Tip 1: Remember whom you’re sending the care package to
Do you plan to send your gift to a friend, a close family member, a spouse, or to a complete stranger? What you include in your care package will vary depending on whom you’re giving it to. For instance, an item that might mean a lot to your spouse may not have the same effect on a random soldier. Focus on the recipient and tailor your present to that specific person to make it more practical and special. The good news is that there are items that veterans would generally appreciate. We’ll be touching on that subject a little later.
Tip 2: Set your emotions aside
It’s normal to feel emotional when putting together a military care package, especially if it’s for your spouse. To help you with the planning and assembly, take a step back and consider what your soldier needs and remember that the care package is for them. What you might view as fun and exciting might not be the same for the recipient. When putting things together, think logically first, then emotionally second.
Tip 3: Cover the essentials first
While a cute Christmas countdown calendar is fun, it may take up valuable room in the package —keep in mind that shipping can be costly, so the bigger the box, the more you’ll pay. When it comes down to it, soldiers often find much more value in functional items, particularly ones that they can’t find overseas. When determining what some of these items might be, try consulting Army veterans who are familiar with how military life is like. What may seem like an everyday item to you might be a luxury to a soldier. Hint: peanut butter is pure gold.
Tip 4: Take your time to assemble the perfect kit
1. Determine box and shipping options
Before you launch into purchasing, it’s wise to start by getting the box and shipping information figured out up front. It’s tempting to go overboard especially when buying items for someone you love, so make sure you know about how much space you have and how much it will cost before you dive in. Keep in mind that larger packages may not only cost more, but also take longer to arrive. Not to mention, they may have a higher chance of getting stolen during transit. The United States Postal Service’s (USPS) military care kit is a great resource. It comes complete with a handful of boxes, tape, address labels, and even the necessary customs forms.
Determining the size of your care package early on will also help you prioritize and narrow down your list to only the most essential and impactful items.
2. Find the right mix
The perfect Christmas military care package will have just the right mix of functional and sentimental goodies. Your goal is to help your soldier have a taste of home and feel less homesick. Finding the right combination takes a little extra effort, but it will make the whole package opening experience a delight for the recipient. Create two lists to get the right mix: one for functional and the other for sentimental. You may find that some pieces fall into both categories. Even better! We’ve also pulled together a quick list incorporating ideas from an actual veteran.
Note: For an added touch, consider turning the inside of the box into something memorable like an advent Christmas tree.
3. Go out shopping
This is where the fun begins. Going out and gathering all the goodies for your special someone can be exciting.
4. Pack it up and ship it off
Once you’ve collated everything, pack them carefully into the box(es). Make sure to properly secure all the items, as your gift will most likely be traveling a long way and may get knocked around in the process.
Tree Classics wishes you and our troops all the best
We hope that these tips inspire you to create and send the perfect Christmas care package to your heroic veteran. We love to help out, not only you, but so many others who share the same experience. For more suggestions and ideas on what goes best into your care packages, here are some great resources to get you started:
- What Deployed Troops Really Want in Their Care Packages
- Christmas Gift Ideas for Military Members
- 75 Awesome Military Care Package Ideas
- 7 Unique Military Care Package Ideas You Haven’t Tried Yet
Happy Veterans Day to you and our admirable troops!