Sending a gift to a soldier is perhaps the most selfless, thoughtful thing anyone can do. It doesn’t really matter whether you have a relative in the military or not; you can still give soldier gifts as an act of goodwill.
Sending a gift to a soldier is perhaps the most selfless, thoughtful thing anyone can do. It doesn’t really matter whether you have a relative in the military or not; you can still give soldier gifts as an act of goodwill. Nothing will warm the hearts of our soldiers better than to receive a soldier gift package, especially in a place where they’ll most definitely miss the warmth of the family and the company of their friends. However, sending soldier gifts may seem rather tedious since it’s not as if you can simply send the packages directly to the soldiers. As with most thing, sending soldier gifts requires you to follow proper procedures (for one, these stringent procedures protect the soldiers from receiving potentially harmful gifts; you’ll never know who can use the soldier gift postage as a means to cause harm).
Sending soldier gifts
So does this mean one has to have relatives or at least know someone from the military to send soldiers care packages? Not exactly—while you can directly send your soldier gift package to a specific individual, you can still give gifts to the military in general. However, these two have separate procedures.
Sending a soldier gift package directly is easy. First, you need to obtain the gifts you will include in your soldier gif package. While this step seems rather obvious, the reason why you need to take of this is because you will have to list down the items on your soldier gift package on the customs form. You need to list down all of the items on the package as well as its quantity.
Now, if you’re using the flat rate boxes, it would cost you a little less than nine dollars. However, take note: the United States Postal Service actually offers free postage materials (hence eliminating the need to buy those boxes and envelopes). The package includes 10 boxes, custom forms, as well as “Mili-Pac” envelopes. These materials are specific for soldier gift postage.
However, if you do not have a relative or even an acquaintance in the military, you will have to send gifts in a different fashion. This is because soldier gifts can no longer be addressed to “Any Soldier” as a means of security.
It is suggested that you can send your soldier gift package through another relative or friend. Still, if this isn’t possible, you can find organizations and groups that will send your soldier gifts to the military. Websites such as TreatsftheTroops.org accept the soldier gifts and will send them by bulk to the military. The American Red Cross also has a similar program called the “Holiday Mail for Heroes.”
Soldier gift tips
Once you’ve decided you will give soldier holiday gifts for sure, you have to consider the gifts you need to give them. Of course, anything you give will be appreciated. But wouldn’t you prefer that the soldier gifts you send will be used as well as appreciated?
There are three things you can consider when sending a soldier gift package: gifts that are not gender specific; gifts that can be used easily and immediately; gifts that are practical.
Of course, these considerations do not apply when you are giving a gift to a specific soldier. However, if you want to give soldier gifts simply out of good will, these considerations should ensure that majority of those in the troops who received your package will be able to enjoy them. Sending a soldier gift package filled with women’s toiletries will be very useful for the ladies in the military, but what about the men?
Your soldier gift package should be enjoyed by everyone. This means that you should try to include more than one of every item to ensure everyone can enjoy it. Usually, this should be applied when sending soldier gifts such as crossword puzzle books or Sudoku puzzle books (which many gift senders are including in their packages).
There are also certain gift items that are not permitted. For instance, pornographic and obscene materials are not permitted to be included in the soldier gift package. Materials that are against Islam and Muslim are prohibited too—remember that the soldiers are in a Muslim country. Because of this, pork and other pork-based products are also not allowed as well.
Should the soldier gift package always contain practical items? Not quite—many people who send gifts to soldiers usually include some gifts for leisure. In fact, as mentioned earlier, a lot of people are sending in Sudoku puzzle books and crossword puzzle books for the soldiers. Some even send paperback books too, as well as DVD movies and other forms of entertainment. These gifts will help soldiers spend the time while they are not in action. This isn’t to give the impression that our soldiers are not doing anything outside the country. They are—but they do it by shifts. And when they are not in action or assigned to do the tasks, what else can they do?
Surprisingly, some people also send holiday decors as their holiday Soldier gifts, to boost the troops’ morale during the holiday season.
Be careful with food items as well. Obviously, it’s not wise to send permissible items. Chocolates, candies, canned goods, and beef jerky, for instance are good items for a soldier gift package because they will not spoil easily. Of course, if you want to send your loved one some baked cookies, for example, you can; just make sure you wrap it properly so it would not spoil so easily. Be sure to mark any goods you made yourself. Indicate if it has nuts or any possible allergens so soldiers with allergies to prevent any medical problems.
Other non-food gift ideas include practical items such as toiletries (because they always need toiletries), underwear (try to include male and female underwear), newspapers and magazines, notepads of paper, microwaveable plates and bowls, coffee, Ziplock bags, chewing gum, and even seemingly not practical items such as disposable cameras, dice, and playing cards, among many others.