10 Military Care Package Gift Ideas
A military deployment can be a trying time for a family. Having a mother, father, spouse or other family member away can be stressful for both the family and the soldier. A good sense of camaraderie among the unit while on deployment helps, but there's nothing like that care package from home to really get a soldier in the right frame of mind. Remembering what's important back home can go a long way toward helping families stay connected through extended absences. When putting together a care package, it's important to put some good thought into the contents. To help you out, here are 10 gift ideas you can include in your next military care package.
10: Digital Picture Frame
Digital Picture Frame
A great way to load up the soldier in your life with plenty of reminders from home is to send them a digital picture frame. These are a recent trend in the digital photography realm and a good idea if you want to send thoughts of home. The pictures are loaded onto a small built-in hard drive and play on a framed digital screen as a slide show. The good thing is, all that special someone in your life needs to do is open it and turn it on. You've already done all the legwork on your end, loading it with images that will be sure to get them through their long deployment.
9: Old Photographs
Digital photographs are a great way to send hundreds of photos at a time packed onto a tiny thumb drive. But if you really want to send a great reminder of home, make sure you take the time to root out some good photographic prints to include in your care package. Pick out some childhood photos of friends and family, or choose specific shots from memorable travels or important life moments. Make sure you package the photos in a plastic bag, and try to tuck them in another part of the care package, like a hardcover book.
8: Favorite Sweet Treat
Favorite Sweet Treat
One thing you might not think about when it comes to military deployment is the lack of availability of certain special food items. Sometimes soldiers are out in the battlefield for days or weeks at a time. Or they're confined to aircraft carriers or submarines for weeks and months on end. While the U.S. military does a fine job in supplying some special food options, they can't compete with mom's home baked cookies. Just pack enough for them to share with their comrades.
7: Something Homemade
Have the kids make something to send to mom or dad. In fact, every one of your care packages should include this. Not only does it help the deployed soldier, it gives the kids a way to connect with him or her. One of the challenges is keeping young children aware of and thinking of their mother or father (or any other family members). Tying in activities like this is a great way to maintain that awareness. And imagine the look on the face of the recipient -- even a simple crayon drawing can go a long way.
6: Favorite T-shirt
Military clothing does its job, but it's not exactly built for maximum comfort. Including a favorite T-shirt or some other much-loved piece of clothing can be very special to someone away for long periods of time. There are times when the military can kick back and relax a little bit, and having your favorite old shirt on can be an excellent source of comfort. Make sure you pick something small, as they'll have to keep up with it for the remainder of the deployment. That huge Christmas sweater probably isn't a great idea.
5: Sports Memorabilia
There's no specific polling on the topic, but it's a pretty well-known fact that a lot of military service men and women are also fans of their local sports teams. Sending some memorabilia from their favorite team can help them to feel connected to home. Think T-shirts, small pennants, magnets and hats. And if their team of choice has had success in recent years, then you can bet there's a DVD documenting that special season, which takes the sting out of missing the games.
4: Home Movies
If a picture says a thousand words, then what does 30 pictures per second say? That's the frame rate for home videos you can send your loved one overseas. And you don't even need a fancy video camera. New technologies let you use your phone to shoot and edit a short HD movie and send it via e-mail with a few taps on the touch screen. If you have them, include some old home movies in the care package. If they're on other formats like VHS or even film, there are transfer services that can bring you into the modern age.
3: Favorite Movies
While a great deal of time abroad is spent keeping the United States safe, there's also some down time here and there. A great way to escape is settle in for some movie entertainment. Comedies are obviously a good choice, but send the movies they love best no matter what the genre. Make sure you find out what format is easiest for them to watch. Most laptops have a DVD player option, or sometimes there'll be access to DVD players. If digital files are best, load a few on a thumb drive and send that instead.
Music is the backdrop to many special memories, and it can snap us back to a certain period of our lives in a mere second. Sending the gift of music in your military care package is an excellent way to boost the mood of your favorite soldier. In the spirit of a mixtape, you can compile song lists for different occasions, or just load up an entire MP3 player and send it on over.
1: A Piece of Your Clothing
A Piece of Your Clothing
To finish off your military care package, add a special piece of your own clothing. Choose something that they love to see you in, whether it's your own favorite T-shirt or something to conjure up more romantic thoughts. Having your scent on that item is a great idea, too, so either wear it for true authenticity or spray it with any kind of body scent you may use. Smell is an overlooked sense when it comes to memories, so don't leave this out.
Military Care Package Ideas: Lots More Information
Military Care Package Ideas: Lots More Information
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