Our Thanksgiving this year was spent together, the 4 of us around my table. Thrilled to be together, but thinking of those, that are enduring a deployment over the Holiday Season.
DH's mind kept traveling away from the table. We spent a lot of time talking about those that are serving, and those they left behind on this holiday. My Husband was very melancholy, even though he was here with us. He said the Holidays are hard for our men and women serving, he also told me that when in theater, there are soldiers that try and ignore the holiday, those that go over the top, and the rest just try and get through it. (Almost sounds like how we spouses survive them.)
How can we make the Holiday a special one for those that are away from family and friends?
Please go to the comments section, and tell us what your Mil-Spouses Favorite Care Package Contained. We are certainly a creative group, and you might give someone a great idea!!
1) I traced my children on wrapping paper, so he could see how big they were. (Mind you they were both under 2). But I think even older children would love this. They could color clothes on, glue real buttons on shirts, use yarn for hair etc. Heck, it might even be fun to try and get an outline of a pet. DH left his tracings up in his room, so he could look at them. Kind of like the "flat daddy project". But a "flat child" project.
2) There is this company that makes foam picture ornaments you can put pictures in. I sent my Husband about 50 of these! He loved them, they are foam, so they did not beak, they were inexpensive to ship. (He ended up leaving these up year round on 550 cord in his room! He loved them) The other great thing about these, they are inexpensive, and fool proof. No glass frames to worry about shipping! The kids can keep busy with these while Mom gets her Christmas cards, or baking done!! You can get them at most Walmarts, or Michaels crafts stores!
Those were his FAVORITE things, out of EVERYTHING I had sent.
He also listed the following items, these items surprised me, because they take such little time or money.
-photos of friends and family out fishing and hunting.
-a Sunday newspaper. DH said even with the Internet news, hometown newspapers really got passed around and enjoyed!
-he also suggested that service members should go ahead and make an Amazon list. I always had a lot of people calling to ask what DH needed, or wanted. I wished I would have had a list to go from.
One of my friends from the blogopshere, has a great and EXTENSIVE list of tips and suggestions. I asked her, if I could post her suggestions, and she was thrilled to help with this project.
Here is her list!!
Christmas Stockings.- Individual packets of hot chocolate, cider or hot soup mix...- Candy (bite sized, individually wrapped, all kinds)- AT&T Phone Cards- Hand held games (battery games with batteries, please)- Small puzzle books- Small, signed Holiday cards from you and your families (include your name and address!)- Cigarettes (no lectures, please. I don't smoke, but most soldiers we know do)- Cigars (good ones!)- Books (current titles are greatly appreciated- Magazines (cars, trucks, men's health, exercise, business, computing...)- Microwave food items (popcorn, all-in-one pan microwave deserts, heat & eat soups, etc.)- Cereal bars- Granola Bars- Home baked goods (pack brownies and cakes in bread slices or package in tins and wrap in plastic wrap- Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) Gift Cards- Pre-paid gift cards or gift certificates from American Express, Visa, Amazon.com, or from specific stores - Best Buy, Staples, Barnes & Noble, Circuit City, etc.) These soldiers have a range of things they need or want over the course of their deployments...
Under Armour is preferred but also (less pricey) Dri-Release shirts (Soffee, Anvil, etc.) (but good luck finding them in brown). You can also order t-shirts and other deployment items at AAFES (click on the "Gift from the Homefront" icon in the right column!)Holiday decorations. Look around your homes and see your most cherished reminders of the holidays... and replicate those for our troops.- Garland- Shatterproof ornaments- Tinsel- Lights (small wattage)- Small artificial treesCold weather items (it's cool there now -- Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, Germany -- and getting colder).- Stocking caps (black only)- Long sleeve t-shirts -- (M, L or XL) but must be Army brown...
- Gloves (tactical gloves are preferred... which you can also find online or at gun stores or military or police supply stores) - Lightweight fleece blankets.DVDs, Music CDs... new releases are greatly coveted... and believe me, they pass them around and trade them so one DVD or one CD makes its way to a lot of soldiers...Footballs, baseballs, baseball gloves, soccer balls, volleyballs...Holiday Cards that they can send to friends and families back home (they do not need postage!)**************************Now for some practical suggestions: Use FLAT RATE BOXES from the US Postal Service. $8.10 no matter how heavy you make the boxes (don't use this if you're sending lightweight things -- but if you use these Flat Rate boxes stuff 'em as heavy as you can and get
Her entire post on Holiday Packages is HERE . Go over and take a look.
LEt us try and make the Holiday Season a special one for those we love and miss!!