The holidays are right around the corner, but it’s not too late to find the perfect gift for the deployed service member in your life. Here’s a smattering of ideas to help you find that ideal gift to send to an FPO.
It sounds boring, but the best things to send in gift boxes are the most practical ideas. Now’s not the time to send a new piece of tech or some gadget that’s going to take a lot of mental concentration to figure out. The most important thing to remember is to keep the gift light. Think about what your service member is dealing with on a daily basis and try to find ideas that will lessen the load.
Of course, don’t stress yourself out too much about what you include in your care package – the idea here isn’t so much the gift as it is the thought. No one wants to spend the holiday season deployed, so sending a care package can help bridge the distance between your home installation and a forward operating base.
All of these gift ideas can fit right into a box for your service member, and right now, the Post Office is offering a free Military Care Kit that has everything you need to get your box to the right place, on time.
Twelve Days of Christmas in a box
This is a great gift idea for little ones to assemble, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. Head to your nearest dollar store and find twelve different things that remind you of your service member – candies, chocolates, even small Christmas decorations. Have your little helpers write a number on each package and then wrap them all up. This way, your loved one will have twelve different “gifts” to open and might help the season feel a little more festive.
Hug in a box
Speaking of little ones, a great idea is to send a hug from your kids to your deployed family member. To do this, have your child lie on a piece of paper and then trace their body with their arms in the shape of a hug. They can decorate the image and write a message, too, making it even more festive.
If you can’t find any paper that’s large enough, you could always buy a small pillow and do the same thing. Just make sure the pillow is small enough to fit in the care package box.
Get ready for Christmas in a box
This tried-and-true gift idea is sure to help your loved one remember that they’re a home waiting for them after the deployment ends.
To assemble this gift, gather up the following items:
- A family picture in a festive holiday frame
- Personalized stocking filled with candy canes, treats, and other small gifts
- A funny Christmas t-shirt or pair of lounge pants
- A mini Christmas tree
- Battery operated Christmas lights
- Mini ornaments
Wrap the small gifts and write a note asking your loved one to set up the tree with the lights and ornaments. Then package everything together and get it in the mail. You can rest easy knowing your loved one will know you’re thinking of them.
Time is of the essence!
Don’t delay on sending these packages. USPS shipping times are extended right now, so the sooner you get these gifts in the mail, the greater chance they’re get there on time.
If you’re totally short on time or don’t feel creative, or if you just want to spread some extended holiday cheer, check out Operation Gratitude. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude has sent over three million care packages to deployed service members. Wish Lists items are always in need and always appreciated.
What you send is definitely less important than sending something at all. Deployments are already tough for everyone; sending a gift might help the months apart suck less.