Having a close relationship with a deployed soldier can make Christmas—a time for celebrating togetherness—particularly difficult. While your beloved service member might be far away, you can send him or her a piece of home. A Christmas care package for soldiers is a perfect way to do this. Here are some tips on creating a Christmas military care package you 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 package 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. An item that might mean a lot to your spouse may not have the same effect on a random service member. Focus on the recipient, and tailor your present to that specific service member to make it more practical and special. The good news is that there are items that veterans would generally appreciate. We’ll touch 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 you’re sending it to your spouse. To help you with the planning and assembly, take a step back and consider what your soldier needs. What you might view as fun and exciting might not be the same for the recipient. For example, they’d probably appreciate cards or snacks over games or other things that simply add weight to their packs. 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 care package. Shipping can be costly, so the bigger the box, the more you’ll pay. When it comes down to it, soldiers often find more value in functional items, particularly ones that they can’t find overseas. 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 shopping, get the box and shipping information first. It’s tempting to go overboard when buying items for someone you love, so make sure you know how much space you have and how much it will cost. Keep in mind that larger care 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 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. Here are ideas we’ve gathered 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 these tips inspire you to create and send the perfect Christmas care package to your heroic veteran. For more suggestions and ideas on what goes best into your Christmas care package for your soldier, 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!