Shopping for holiday gifts for your deployed spouses can get tricky. One year I sent my husband a hooded sweatshirt with one of our favorite college basketball team's logo on the front. Since I couldn't buy a sweater, jeans, jacket, or basically any other clothing items I was running out of ideas. My husband actually has more clothes that me if you can imagine. I thought I was doing a great thing; only to find out the only place he could wear it was in his little hut. It became just one more thing to ship home.


I'm not sure where the time has gone, but the deadline to ship overseas is already here. The deadline to ship to zip code 093 (Afghanistan) is December 3rd.


Whether you have already shipped your care package and wanting to send something extra or if you need to put together your box filled with love, here are some ideas to get you started:


Ideas from other military spouses:

  • Baked goods - Elizabeth
  • Cookies, children's artwork, candy, music CDs, iTunes cards, and books - Michele
  • Snacks, toys, magazines, perfumed letters, non-perishable microwaveable meals, candy, games,...and anything else he asks for. - Jeri

Creature Comforts:

  • High thread count sheets
  • Memory foam mattress topper
  • Thick wool socks


  • Include current photos of you. Have a girlfriend come over and take some fun candid shots at home or outdoors. If you have kids and pets, send photos of them as well.
  • Record a short video with your holiday message and tour of Christmas lights in your neighborhood. If you have family nearby include them in the video. Transfer the video to DVD and include in your care package.
  • Include a small Christmas tree with mini ornaments. I sent little Star Wars ornaments and white lights. You can also include fake snow.

Additional tips:

  • Send enough to share. If you are sending baked goods, candy, or any food item, don't just enough for your loved one, make sure there is enough to share!
  • Pack home baked goods tightly in a sturdy container/cookie tin versus in a shoebox. The tighter the cookies/treats are packed the less likely they will arrive as a big box of crumbs.
  • Include favorite staple items: Batteries, beef jerky, unscented baby wipes, flavored drink packets, mixed nuts, hard candy (candy canes), etc...

Have fun getting creative!


What are your ideas for holiday care package? Share them here


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

Related links:

Mailing Deadlines - USPS Web Site

New Member
I am a deployed soldier here in Afghanistan. I was wondering how i can sign up to receive care packages from you?
Wendy Poling
Frequent Contributor
Dear Soldier / USAA Member, I don't have a traditional "sign up" for care packages, however for you please send me an email (wendy(at) and I'll get Santa's elves working on it right away! I've also participated/adopted at - so be sure to sign up there. Stay safe! Blessings, Wendy