Care Packages for the Military

Care Packages for the Military

Here are a few ideas to send to your loved ones.

Recently my cousin, who is serving in Japan, lamented how he missed home during Valentine’s Day, and how he missed making all of those cute glittery valentines. I told him immediately that we’d send him one, and so we did. We filled a large manila envelope with some artwork and valentines from everyone, as well as some dinosaur coloring book pages and games from one of my daughter’s activity books. Then we covered the entire package in pink and red hearts, castles, jewels, and other valentine-y decorations and mailed it to him. I really hope he enjoys it!

Some other things that we could send our loved ones overseas that might not seem as obvious include…

  • Decorations. Depending upon where they’re serving, many can have candles, seasonal decorations, and other mementos from home. My cousin’s mother sent him Christmas decorations last year and I thought it was one of the coolest things!
  • Yummies from home. Favorite candies, teas, cookies, and other tidbits are always appreciated. When I lived in Spain, I didn’t find Pop-Tarts or Peanut Butter very readily in my small town, so my then-boyfriend shipped them to me and it was like tasting home. When you’re away even longer than a semester—if you are serving in the military, for example—I am sure it’s even sweeter. Many websites feature special gourmet gift packages that you can send to troops for a discount as well, and they might even throw in some extra candy!
  • Books. These can be helpful when there is down time. Send something uplifting if you can; horror, though well loved at home, may not be the best choice for someone so far from home who might already be having nightmares.
  • New photos. These are always fun—especially if you are holding messages on signs for loved ones to read. Be sure to include letters to read and any notes of gratitude that family members might want to include.
  • Something fun to do. Again, this could be used during down time, depending upon where your loved one is located. Puzzle books could be good, as could small games. Silly string and other practical jokes can be fun, and they may benefit the whole troop (or group, if your loved one is not in the military) as well.
  • Videos of yourself and your family can be fun, too. You can often even send these via email, though it’s more fun to get real mail.