There is one thing military families learn during the first deployment, and that’s how to pack a box of goodies for a soldier. I never realized it was such an art form until I began sending packages to our son on his deployments to the Middle East. And I learned the truth of the old saying, many hands make light work.
Sending Christmas boxes to our son when he was a Marine was bittersweet. I was glad to be spreading some holiday joy, but I hated the fact that he was so far from home. By opening up the event to friends and family, it lightened—and brightened—the load. Here’s how I planned it and as well as some tips to make sure boxes arrive in good shape.
Plan a Packing Party
- Pick a date.
Choose a convenient date. Don’t worry about making sure everyone can attend. There will always be some who can’t make it.
- Choose a place to meet.
Depending on the size of your party, a dining room table may provide enough space. If it’s a bigger event, you may need a bigger area.
- Send the invitations with a packing list.
Even if you plan to provide the bulk of the supplies, everyone will want to contribute. It helps to have a written list. A phone call for the initial invitation is fine, but always follow up with a written list.
- Use the free boxes provided by the post office.
The shipping isn’t free (it costs approximately $18 to send a box), but the boxes are the best size to send.
- Send your package to a specific person.
The military no longer accepts packages without being addressed to a real name.
- Pack the boxes as tightly as you can.
The contents of a loosely packed box are much more likely to arrive damaged. Beyond that, a lot of our men and women overseas don’t ever receive a single package. So when a soldier does get one, he’s likely to share with those around him.
- Package liquids in several layers of sealed plastic bags.
As I shared last week, there’s nothing more disappointing than opening a box filled with sticky, inedible Christmas goodies. Truthfully, if you can send two boxes—one with edibles and one with non-edibles, that’s the best option of all.
- Include a personal note and/or card.
Handwritten notes and letters mean a great deal, and notes from kids are the very best!
Don’t miss the opportunity to bless our men and women serving in the military during this holiday season.