Support Our Troops: Send ‘Em A Fun Holiday Care Package

fun-care-package-for-soldiers.jpgLast year was the first time we sent a care package to U.S. soldiers we didn’t even know.

We were inspired by all of the responses this article I wrote which included dozens of fun ideas for soliders’ care packages.

So Jim & I went shopping with a couple hundred dollars… we loaded up the biggest box we could find… and mailed it off to some medics in Baghdad.

Our care package was very well received, so I thought I would share some of the items we included inside in case others are still looking for ideas…

 

Is There Still Time To Send Packages?

Perhaps the best news is… it’s not too late.

I know they said the last date to send packages to soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq was a couple days ago (mid-November is usually the cut-off, ideally speaking).

But if our experience last year is any indication, then you can actually send packages as late as December 7th (that’s what we did last year) and they’ll likely still receive them by Christmas (December 19th in our case).

NOTE: Erin posted a comment stating that December 11th is the last possible date to send military packages overseas in time for Christmas.  And here’s a list of USPS holiday package delivery dates.

In my opinion, the date isn’t as important as the thought and whatever gift(s) you might be sending, anyway. Remember, the Troops will appreciate your gifts any day and any time of year… not just Christmas!

 

Some Of The Things We Sent Last Year

  • Poker cards & chips set
  • Bouncy balls
  • Bubbles
  • Stress balls to squish
  • Chewing gum
  • Frisbees
  • Caramel candies
  • DVD movies
  • Cracker Jacks
  • Athletic balls to play catch (soccer, football, basketball)

fun-toys-for-military-gifts.jpg

  • Water balloons
  • Cribbage game
  • Dice & Yatzee game
  • Crackers
  • Hard candies
  • Chapstick & Carmex
  • Jenga game
  • White chocolate-covered pretzels

food-games-toys-for-soldiers.jpg
 

TIP: If you’re planning to send a care package, it’s best to send several of the same items — that way lots of soldiers in the same unit can participate and enjoy all of the fun surprises.

 

Some Of The Things We Might Send This Year

army-mail-clerks-sorting-mail-by-TheUSArmy.jpgOur nephew is currently serving in Iraq… so we’ll be sending our overstuffed care package to his unit this year.

We plan to include some of the same items mentioned above, plus some of these:

  • Flea collars
  • Chex mix
  • Gatorade
  • Hand Lotion
  • Toothbrushes & toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Oreo cookies
  • Pop tarts
  • Granola bars
  • Batteries (AAA and AA)
  • Baby wipes
  • ThermaCare heat wraps
  • Pillows
  • Mouthwash
  • Foot powder
  • Christmas candy
  • Ziploc baggies
  • Twizzlers
  • Tootsie Pops
  • Hacky sack footbags
  • Instant oatmeal packs
  • Pistachio nuts in the shells
  • Hot chocolate
  • Canned chicken salad
  • Peanut butter
  • Pillowcases
  • Peanuts in the shells
  • Tootsie roll candies
  • Sudoku puzzle books
  • Canned microwavable foods
  • 15-in-1 game set

 

UPDATE: 11/17/07:
Here are some photos of the items we packed into our 2007 Care Package:

gift-ideas-for-soldiers.jpg
 

military-care-package-fun-stuff.jpg
 

More great gift ideas for soldiers away from home here, here, and here.

 

UPDATE 11/30/08:
Here are some of the things we sent this year:

military-care-package-holidays.jpg

 

P.S. For the record, this year our local Post Office said they wouldn’t accept our box filled with goodies because it was too big. (Even though it was a tad smaller than last year’s box.) They said the maximum sizes allowed were: 20″ long x 12″ wide x 12″ high or 68″ total. Fortunately, our local Mailboxes Etc. delivered it for us without a problem.

 

 

 

And Finally, A Gentle Reminder…

When you are making out your holiday card list this year, you may want to include the following:

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20307-5001

Happy holidays, everyone. Thanks to all who have generously continued to Support Our Troops!

Lynnette Walczak

I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money -- so I frequently write about "outside the box" ideas that most wouldn't think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed several years until switching gears to pursue things I was more passionate about. I've worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo -- to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun websites).

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Fun From Around the Web

  • Lauren

    My brother is in the Marines and will be deployed in March, and I’ve already started thinking of what I could send, and this website helped me a ton. Thank you.

  • Nancy

    Hi,

    I know this post is old, but since it can be found (as I just did) it would be very good to remove the post about sending cards to the hospital.
    They get THOUSANDS and throw most out since they must be opened by Red Cross volunteers first.
    We’ve been asked not to. It’s been difficult to stop the spread of this otherwise good idea.
    We do have other ways to support them.

    “Aunt” Nancy
    of Aunt Nancy Support The Troops
    (facebook: AuntNancyUSA

    “And Finally, A Gentle Reminder…
    When you are making out your holiday card list this year, you may want to include the following:
    A Recovering American Soldier
    c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
    6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
    Washington, D.C. 20307-5001
    Happy holidays, everyone. Thanks to all who have generously continued to Support Our Troops!”

  • http://www.nebraskalandmoving.com/ movers Nebraska

    With properly packed goods in delivery and shipping boxes, the items that we send to our troops such as food will remain in good condition when these arrive in their intended destinations.