There isn’t any time to waste when it comes to putting together your Christmas Care Package for your deployed or mobilized loved one. A good rule of thumb to ensure your package arrives on time is to have your package(s) mailed by Thanksgiving.
The deadline to ship Priority Mail ® to zip code 093 (Afghanistan) is December 3rd.
Here are four essential tips for a memorable Christmas Care Package:
Find out the living conditions of your loved one.
If they are in a remote location with a small living space, then you might not want to send a 4’ Christmas tree or lots of Christmas lights. They might not have any place to put the tree or plug in the lights. Find out where they are living, what they are doing and if they want to share their tree. Perhaps they have a place where the tree can be in a community space.
Try to duplicate your family traditions as much as possible.
If you open one gift on Christmas Eve, send a separate gift to honor that tradition. If your loved one collects a certain Christmas item each year, find a mini version. This item could be a Santa, snowmen, snow globe, nutcracker or dated ornament. Make their favorite Christmas treat. Start baking now, so you don’t miss the mailing deadline. Freeze the items prior to shipping and vacuum seal the bag if possible to maintain freshness.
There are a lot of good little things you can send as gifts, get creative.
- High quality pocketknife – by sending a good quality version they will use it for years and less likely to become a throw away item.
- High quality LED flashlight that can be carried in their cargo pocket or on their belt. I don’t understand the fascination with new and different flashlights, however they traditionally get the best reaction from my husband.
- Thick boot socks, these can run you $10 a pair. You don’t need to send a dozen pairs, consider sending 2-3 pairs.
- Be sure to ask your loved one if there is anything they specifically want or need and include that in the box. Keep in mind you can always ship direct from Amazon.com and other online retailers.
Easy to Execute Decorating ideas:
- Small string of LED lights (less heat) and mini-Christmas tree with mini ornaments (send this as early as possible).
- One of my husband’s favorite decorating items they had in their admin office was a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. You never know what will be the big hit, think in terms of what your loved one would like and not necessarily anything that would resemble your taste.
- A Santa hat that is branded to their specific service, college team, or favorite sport.
Keep in mind anything you send over, they will have to send back.
Holiday Dates for Military Mail:
Priority Mail Deadlines and Destination Zip Codes:
- December 03 - APO / FPO / DPO AE (Afghanistan) ZIP 093
- December 10 - APO / FPO / DPO AE (all others) Zip Codes 090-092, 094-098, 340, 962-966
By the way, have you ever shipped cookies that arrived in one piece? I’m still trying to figure this out. Share your tips for shipping cookies and creating a memorable Christmas care package in the comments.