Military Care Packages – Dos and Don’ts

Military Care Packages – Dos and Don’ts

Military Care Packages – Dos and Don’ts

Are you getting ready to send your deployed loved one a holiday care package?  Here are some of the dos and don’ts to keep in mind.


  • Know the shipping deadline to ensure timely arrival of your package. Visit for latest information.
  • Get free Priority Mail supplies from the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Seal everything separately. Placing items in Ziploc bags can be helpful for preventing damage if package contents leak or melt.
  • Include a second shipping label inside in case the exterior of the box gets damaged.
  • Fill out the customs form completely and accurately.
  • Make sure the contents of your box are secure and that the entire package is sealed well with packaging tape.
  • Double check the address. One small mistake may mean your package will never get to your recipient or will arrive months later.
  • Include photos and personal notes.
  • Get your children involved in filling the package and decorating the interior of the box. Encourage them to make a drawing or card, or write a poem or letter.
  • Send some of these recommended items:

Recreational items

  • Dominoes
  • DVDs
  • Magazines
  • Paperback books
  • Playing cards
  • Video games


  • Beef jerky
  • Condiments
  • Gum
  • Microwave pasta
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Protein bars
  • Soup mix
  • Your recipient’s favorite single serving snack packages (chips, cookies, nuts, candy, etc.)

Health, beauty & hygiene products

  • Anti-bacterial hand sanitizers
  • Baby wipes
  • Boot socks
  • Cough drops
  • Exercise resistance bands
  • Foot powder
  • Hair bands
  • Hand warmers
  • Lip balm
  • Over the counter pain relievers
  • Razors
  • Sweat-proof sunscreen
  • Tissues

Misc. items:

  • Stationery (no stamps are needed)
  • Water bottle
  • Pens
  • Batteries


  • Overfill your package. Boxes that are overstuffed may open during shipping.
  • Send scented products like toiletries and food in the same package. If you must include them in the same mailing, seal them separately. Products with strong odors can cause other items to smell as well.
  • Send these items:
    • Aerosol can products
    • Food or anything else, such as chocolate, electronics, etc., that could be negatively affected by extreme temperatures. Keep in mind where you are sending your package (desert temps can climb to over 100 degrees) and that your shipment will be in transit for some time.
    • Items that are extremely valuable or sentimental. Many things stay in the country when a soldier has to leave, so you don’t want to risk losing something important or expensive.
    • Bulky items – servicemembers have limited space
    • Items that are restricted or prohibited by the country. For example, pork and pork by-products are prohibited in many Middle Eastern countries.

For inspiration on what to include in your care package, read these Omni articles for creative military holiday care package ideas or how to send a taste of home with a dessert in a mason jar.