Being separated is just one of the many difficult obstacles in a military relationship. But a great way to stay connected with your soldier during training and deployments is through care packages. Sometimes they’re so busy that they can’t find the time to get necessary items, making it extra thoughtful for you to send them right over! Many military families have Christmas through care packages, making them a huge part of the holidays. These care packages can be for more than just the soldiers. It’s also a great way for you to feel like they’re still counting on you, even from far away.
Favorite local snacks: Collect a bunch of their favorite treats from home. Typically these are small, so they’re a great little addition to your care package. We are from Maine, and in Georgia they didn’t have things like Whoopie Pies, Fluff, and other “Maine” things, so I sent some to Kyle. Many of his friends were from Texas and California where they’ve never even seen a Whoopie Pie! It’s a great way for everyone to share pieces of where they’re from, and find ways to relate to each other.
Microwaveable meals: If the military is a big part of your family, than you have definitely heard of MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) meals. And if you have, you probably know how much your soldier hates them. A great alternative is microwaveable mac and cheese cups. They’re portable just like the MRE, and all they need is hot water! Trust me, he will love them after months of MREs.
Photo books/scrap books: Make a special scrap book with various pictures of you, friends, family, and pets. This will be easy to store while keeping all of the pictures in one place. Scrap books are a good way to add a personal touch of little quotes and sayings that can motivate your soldier through this tough time.
Socks: When Kyle was in BMT and training he went through socks like crazy doing PT and nav. training. It’s a simple idea, but if there’s no PX (Post Exchange) than they often just have to deal with it.
Gum: When soldiers are overseas in places like Afghanistan, the overall change in climate is like a shock to the body. Many basic care packages contain huge amounts of gum to keep their mouths from getting dry, and sometimes just to keep them awake during watch. A lot of soldiers pick up smoking to stay awake and fight boredom, but gum is a much better alternative.
Pen Hardrive of Music: Pen hardrives are tiny, but you can fit a lot on them. Make a fun playlist, or a romantic one even, that your soldier can listen to during free time. If they’re overseas it will probably be the first time they’ve heard that music in months. You can even add a little workout mix!
Decorate the package: Add a little creativity to the inside of the box so that when they open it up they can see pieces of home. You can use pictures (my favorite), drawings from the kids, glitter, quotes, silly jokes, or anything special between the two of you. That way they can keep the box with all the things you sent, and have a reminder of home every time they open it.
Some other ideas you can add:
- New Towels
- Instant Coffee
- Foot Powder
- Insect Repelant
- Running shoes
- Hand Sanitizer
- Baby Wipes
- First Aid Items
- Drink Mixes
- Pudding Cups
- Plastic Utensils
Whether you know someone personally who’s serving overseas/in training or not, you can send care packages any time through Operation Gratitude. Anything would be appreciated!
Comment your favorite things to send your soldier while they’re away! Any creative ideas?