Omni Military Loans Blog:
10 Tips for a Better Military Holiday Care Package
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 36 seconds.
Do you know a service member who will be overseas during the holidays? Now is the perfect time to start preparing the perfect military holiday care package to send that special person. The more time you give yourself to prepare your package, the less stressed you will be –and the more likely your care package will arrive on time.
Here are some step-by-step tips on how to create and send a military care package filled with holiday cheer and personalized touches from home.
- Request a free Military Care Kit from the United States Postal Service. This kit includes two APO/FPO flat rate boxes, four medium flat rate boxes, Priority Mail tape, address labels and customs forms.
- Choose a theme for your care package. Some popular themes include favorite sports teams, hobbies, music, movies, cartoons, and food – but the ideas are really endless! While of course you can put together a care package without a theme, a theme can give your care package a focus which can help guide your decorations and the package contents.
- Decorate the box based on the theme. This is where you can really get creative. Cover the inside flaps of the box with wrapping paper or stickers or let your children draw or paint on them. Write a poem or include a special message or quote. Embellishing the flaps of the box is an easy way to create a “wow” moment when the recipient opens the package up for the first time.
- Select the care package contents. Go shopping, get crafty, and have fun! Fill your military holiday care package with a combination of items that your service member wants, needs and that would find meaningful.
- Photographs, artwork by children, and letters/notes are always favorites
- Video games
- Foods such as beef jerky, condiments, protein bars, soup and drink mixes
- Hand sanitizers
- Baby wipes
- Lip balm
- Know what to leave out. There are certain items that should not be included in a military care package, such as:
- Anything prohibited or restricted by the country, which depending on the country, may include pork products, coffee, or cigarettes. Visit the USPS website for a list of prohibited items by country.
- Aerosol products
- Anything too expensive
- Carbonated beverages
- Food or items that could be negatively affected by extreme temperatures
- Pack the contents carefully.
- Seal any liquid, scented or food items separately in zip-style plastic bags. Not only will this prevent a mess or seepage of scents, but plastic bags are items that can also be reused by the service member. In general though, packing food items with toiletries in the same box is not recommended. No one wants to eat granola bars that taste like deodorant.
- Put the heaviest items on the bottom.
- Use scrap newspaper, garland or wrapping paper to fill void spaces which will prevent items from slipping and sliding in the box during transit. Plastic grocery bags also make good void material and are also reusable.
- Make sure the box isn’t too heavy or overstuffed.
- Seal the contents and the package. If you are not using a new box from the USPS, make sure your box is sturdy and undamaged. Use clear or brown packing tape to seal the box. Other types of tape may not be strong enough or may be too sensitive to extreme temperature conditions. Stamps.com has additional tips on the best way to seal a package.
- Fill out the customs form correctly and completely. Click here for an online Customs Form.
- Address the package and include a second shipping label within the box, just in case the outside of the box gets damaged. Visit the USPS website to learn how to properly address military mail.
- Send the care package on its way! The USPS website posts the delivery deadlines for military addresses overseas. Keep the dates in mind to ensure that your military holiday care package will arrive on time.
A military holiday care package will lift the spirits of a deployed service member and is a wonderful way to show him or her that they are in your hearts no matter where in the world they may be.
For more tips on military care packages view our Holiday Military Care Package Dos and Don’ts Infographic and visit our Pinterest board, Military Care Package Ideas for some fantastic care package theme inspiration.