You know me– I love writing about care packages! When I sat down to write this post, I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t written it before. I mean, come on. The holidays. Care packages. They’re two of my favorite things! I’ve got ten care package tips that are especially for the holidays– and there are some important ones here. Let me know what you think of them in the comments!
Know the Deadlines
Every year, a list of holiday mail deadlines are published. These guidelines give you the last possible date that you can send mail by to get to to a particular place by Christmas. Of course, these guidelines aren’t guaranteed– lots of things can happen and mail can be delayed. However, it’s a good bet you’ll be fine if you adhere to them. Make sure you read them carefully– they’re separated by APO/FPO zip codes.
Christmas pine air fresheners might make your loved one feel at home, but they’ll ruin the sugar cookies they were packed next to. If you’re sending food and perfumed or scented products, ship them in two separate boxes. (Don’t forget the rest of these care package no-nos.)
Know Their Situation
It might seem like an awesome idea to send a small Christmas tree, but if your loved one has nowhere to display it, they’ll probably end up throwing it away. (Check out the alternative tree and ornaments I sent John when he was deployed.) It’s helpful if you know how much storage space they have as well as what items are needed (or not wanted).
You might be really missing your loved one (and they’re missing you too!), but try to make your care packages joyful and festive. Of course, sending a note that says, I miss you is okay, but sending a “It’s a Blue Christmas Without You” package will probably just make you both homesick.
Carefully Package Cookies
There are quite a few ways to package baked goods so that they’ll get to your recipient:
- Place a piece of bread in the container. It should go stale and keep your cookies fresh.
- Use a vacuum sealer. Just be careful– if you suck all of the air out, you’ll squash the cookies flat. This is the one that I used throughout John’s deployment.
- Wrap in plastic wrap, then place in an air-tight Ziploc bag (try to squeeze all of the air out) and then store in small, sturdy boxes or containers.
Consider the Foods You’re Sending
If your box has a really long trip, avoid sending baked goods that are wet (like really chewy cookies), crumbly/delicate, or have icing on them. (Send the icing in a separate jar!). Consider also sending things like trail mix (sprinkle in festive M&Ms or other colored candies), Rice Krispie treats (they’re pretty long-lasting), or pre-packaged items like holiday versions of TastyKakes or Little Debbie’s products.
Make the excitement of the care package last longer by wrapping all of the items (even if you don’t consider some of them “gifts”).
Don’t Forget the Others
If your loved one is serving with a group of people, consider sending a box of treats and goodies to share. Not everyone gets mail at the holidays, and it’s always nice to spend some time sending a little more goodwill and cheer to people who could use a little brightness in their day.
If you belong to groups or organizations that want to support your loved one, let them. It’s okay to ask for or accept help. When John was deployed, my students wrote letters to his command and sent boxes of holiday decorations and treats. Even if you don’t want to take on an activity like that, if you have kids, have them help create the care package and the decorations you’re sending
Sniff Out Dollar Stores
A lot of people snub dollar stores, but they’re a gold mine! Especially for decor and gifts that will be thrown away before your loved one returns from deployment, dollar stores are a great way to keep your budget low and still send a lot of holiday joy and love. Make sure you check out the seasonal items, but also make your way to the regular items too. Things like hand sanitizer and toothbrushes can be used as stocking stuffers.
Need more holiday inspiration? Try these:
- 8 Military Spouses Reveal How to Deal With the Holidays During Deployment
- 60 Holiday-Inspired Deployment Bucket List Goals
- When Everything Feels Uncertain During the Holidays
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Unilever & Operation in Touch via MSB New Media. The opinions and text are all mine.