Sending Military Care Packages this Holiday Season
Close to 170,000 U.S. troops are currently deployed, which means that nearly 170,000 American men and women will be far from home, far from loved ones, and far from the comfort of their holiday traditions this December. For these brave service members, there is nothing quite like a thoughtful package from home. Here’s everything you need to know about sending military care packages for the holidays.
How to Send a Care Package
Wouldn’t it be a bummer if your thoughtfully curated, beautifully wrapped holiday care package didn’t survive the trip overseas? Here are a few tips to ensure your gift has the best chance of arriving as intended.
- Group like items and seal in Ziploc bags. The bag will protect the contents from external elements and everything else in the care package from potential leaks or spills.
- Use quality packing materials. You can take advantage of the free USPS Military Care Kit which includes 6 boxes, packing tape, and labels.
- Make sure you have the mailing address correct. Include service member’s unit, rank, full name, DPO/FPO/APO, and complete nine-digit zip code. (Do not include a country name.)
- Complete customs forms. The forms are included in the military care package kit from USPS or can be downloaded and printed at home.
- Don’t forget to include a return address!
When to Send a Care Package
Under normal circumstances, military care packages must be sent a couple of weeks in advance to ensure timely arrival overseas; however, shipping delays are a major concern as of late. As you plan, consider delivery timing for your military care package kit. USPS shipping dates for holiday military mail will give you your deadlines. Many packages must be sent by December 9th to ensure they arrive by December 25th.
What NOT to Send in a Military Care Package
Nothing will stop a package in its travel tracks quite like the detection of unauthorized items within. Before you seal that box, review what you cannot put in a military care package. This includes:
- Drugs, alcohol, or nicotine
- Carbonated beverages
- Aerosol containers
- Explosives, including fireworks and matches
- Lithium batteries
- Hand sanitizer
What to Send in a Military Care Package
The best things for military care packages are a combination of day-to-day comforts from home and thoughtful gifts. You know your loved one the best, so you probably know better than anyone what they’d like to receive. But a little inspiration never hurt. Check out these unique gifts for military members or thoughtful gift ideas for Veterans and active duty service members, alike. And, stay tuned for our Holiday Gift Guide, coming soon!