Deployments are never easy, but deployments during the holiday season can be especially trying.
When you put together a holiday care package, you want your spouse to know that you’re thinking of them and also hope to gift a bit of ‘home ‘overseas.
But, sending large, bulky items can pose an additional hassle as everything a service member receives overseas will eventually need to be packed (or shipped!) on their return. So how do you get around this quandary?
Below you’ll find 5 holiday gift ideas to send to your loved one overseas to remind them of ‘home at the holidays ‘ and eliminate unnecessary obligations.
1. Enlist Your Family And Friends To Send Holiday Cards
Even something small, like a holiday card, can really cheer up a deployed service member. Ask your friends and family if they wouldn’t mind adding one more to the list, and provide his or her overseas address. It’s fun to make it a surprise!
If you’re willing to spill the beans, you might also ask your spouse if there is anyone in his or her unit that might really appreciate a holiday card; young, single service members often appreciate the gesture. Just knowing there are others thinking of them during the season is sure to bring holiday warmth—even in the coldest temperatures.
2. Holiday Treats That Remind Your Spouse Of Home
While it may not be possible, (or at least logistically incredibly tricky) to send an entire pie, there are ways to get creative with baking and shipping favorite holiday treats. Create easily shipped and lasting foods, like chocolate dipped pretzel rods.
Emulate a favorite flavor, like pumpkin pie, by mixing pumpkin pie spice with cinnamon and white chocolate to dip the pretzels. Wrap cookies in foil, saran wrap and tape to keep them fresh during shipping. Or get creative and bake a cake for your spouse…in a jar. There are a number of ‘cake in a jar’ recipes online to get you started; all you need are the ingredients to make your favorite cake and a mason jar.
Just make sure all your mason jars are properly wrapped to protect them from breaking during shipping.
3. Record A Story Book
Many deploying parents record a story for their children to read while they are gone. During the holidays, flip this tradition upside down and have the children record a holiday themed story to send to their deployed parent.
While technology like Skype has made access to deployed parents more available, having a book that your spouse can open any time and hear his or her children is an invaluable gift.
4. Gift Cards
Amazon and iTunes gift cards are a favorite of deployed service members. While it may not feel completely personal, gift cards will allow your spouse to rent or purchase movies, e-books, and games—all great for passing downtime. You can send gift cards in care packages, or you can even send gift cards via email so there’s no shipping whatsoever.
5. Small Thoughtful Gifts They Can Use On Deployment
Remember, every gift you ship is a gift they will likely have to bring back with them, so it’s best to send small, easy to pack gifts. Items that can be used in everyday life that remind them of you make excellent holiday gifts.
This might include a durable watch, a multi-tool pocketknife, a multicolored flashlight or a pendant. All these gifts are easy for you to include in a care package and will be easy for your spouse to bring back with him or her on their return.
Of course, don’t forget that disposable items make useful gifts, (even if it doesn’t sound romantic or filled with holiday charm).
Candy, chapsticks, magazines, Gatorade powder, razors, hand sanitizer and wipes actually make excellent gifts. Not only will your spouse likely use all these items, but he or she can distribute the extra ‘goodies’ to other colleauges in his or her unit.
If you feel ambitious, send an extra box filled with these travel sized items for your spouse to distribute.
Do you have any other festive ideas? What has worked for you in the past? Feel free to add to our list!