Here is a post on Creative Care Packages
written By: Amanda Daniels
Amanda is a stay-at-home mom living in Detroit.
Care packages help your deployed spouse feel connected to you, your family and home. With the average deployment being about 9 months, you may quickly run out of ideas of things to send. While staples like deodorant and toothpaste are always needed—and anything from home is always appreciated—soldiers love creative care packages that show how much you care. Next time, try one of these themed care packages full of fun things.
There are a few different routes you can go when putting together a reading care package. One is to choose titles strictly from the New York Times best-seller list; another is to stick with a favorite author or genre. You can also select books that were made into movies that you saw together. This is a personal, loving trip down memory lane, especially if you put an inscription in each book reminding him of when and where you saw the movie. If brand-new books are too expensive, visit a second-hand book store to stock up on titles. If budget permits, you can include a book light, a few of his favorite magazines, word search or crossword puzzle books and a bookmark made by you or the kids.
For occasions like his birthday, your anniversary or the holidays, you might want to send something different than a typical care package. The fruit baskets at FTD.com are a great idea—what soldier doesn’t like edible goodies from home? FTD has a wide array of specialty fruit baskets to choose from, including fresh fruit, nuts, chocolate-dipped fruits and kosher items. Baskets start around $35.
Movie Night Package
If your soldier has access to a DVD player, consider sending him a movie box. Choose either the latest action-adventure, comedy or mystery thriller, or pick up an oldie-but-goodie you know he loves. Throw in some bags of popcorn (microwavable, if he has access to one) or candy, and add some of his favorite soft drinks. Again, new DVDs will cost you about $20-$25 each, so pick up some at a thrift sore or pawn shop for cheaper options.
Beach Party Package
To send him a beach party in a box, start with a beach party CD (a store-bought one will run you about $15, or you can make one yourself). Then add powdered drink mixes in beach-inspired flavors (think fruit punch, mango and piña colada), canned pineapple, leis, inflatable beach balls, sunglasses, sun hat, and small water toys like squirt guns and soaker balls. Hit up a 99¢ only store to get these items on the cheap.
Toys can be a great way to help your soldier unwind and pass the time. Consider sending Nerf footballs, Frisbees, mini travel games, chess, checkers, jacks, yo-yos, dominoes, brain teaser games and handheld electronic games with extra batteries, and card games like Skip-Bo, Uno, Pit and Phase Ten. Many classic board games, like Monopoly and Scrabble, now have card versions as well. You can find most of these items for under $10 at the big-box superstores.
Finally, decorate the inside of the box to match the theme, and have the kids help. If you’re sending a night-at-the-movies care package, use movie-themed decorative paper to line the inside, and add stickers, printed photos of movie stars and personal messages to inside of the box flaps.