What a great idea to send out a military care package this Christmas. This is a perfect time to get involved, whether you are sending one to a loved one or to a package giving organization. Here are a few quick tips that explain what to put in and leave out of Christmas care packages for military members.
Good Gift Ideas:
- Photos and letters – Photos and letters are a great idea because they are a personal connection to the service man or woman. Include candid photos of the family doing activities like making cookies or picking a Christmas tree. These photos are more personal and add a warmth that posed images can sometimes loose. You can also enclose pictures of events that the service member may have missed such as a graduation or other event. When writing letters, remember to hand write the notes rather than printing them out. The handwriting is a personal connection that shows time and effort.
- Homemade treats – Many times a special food or baked good can bring back memories of Christmases past. Think about your loved one and try to remember a food item that they connect with the holidays. This gift will be a great treat while bringing a little piece of home to them.
- Powdered Mix – Drinking water all day everyday can get old fast. These drink mixes add flavor to an old drink. There are plenty of brands and flavors to choose from that are low cost and easy to ship.
- Magazines – Magazines are a great quick read that troops can give and share. Consider giving a wide variety of subjects like cars to sports to entertainment.
Things to leave behind:
- Breakable gifts – No matter how well you wrap breakable items, they will break. Packages have many miles to travel to get to its recipient. Along with these miles, the package will be passed through many hands. All of these variables mean that your gift will break.
- Certain Foods – There will be temperature changes as the package is shipped over its many miles. Because of this, do not send any food item that might melt or spoil. When your recipient opens that package, they might not be as happy as when you packed it up.
- Nothing too personal – Keep personal items small like pictures and leave large personal items for when you see them in person. Leave behind stuffed animals, large paintings of your dog, or any other items that may embarrass the recipient.
- Avoid scents and glitter – Do not spray the envelope with perfume or fill the box with glitter. These sound like good ideas to have your loved one remember you, but by the time it reaches the recipient, they will smell terrible and make a mess.
Other helpful tips:
- You will need special custom forms in order to ship your care package. If you are having trouble, you can ask a postal worker for help.
- Remember to write a list of box contents and the quantity to make customs forms easier.
- Keep the boxes small. The bigger the box, the more costly it will be to send and the more difficult it will be to get it to the desired recipient.
- The earlier you ship the package the better. Priority shipping will only get the package to port faster, not to your final destination.
Have you sent a gift overseas to a service member? Do you have a helpful tip? Leave a post or tell us your story.