Deployments are tough all the way around. While I think it is tough here maintaining the home front with our first baby on the way and the typical new homeowner issues, I know that my husband is dealing with his own issues of adjusting to a new environment and his new job down range.
The care package was invented, I believe, to be a way for both parties to provide cheer through small, personal items. Each time I send a care package I think of it as sending a little bit of me that will hopefully make my spouse’s day brighter when he opens it.
My husband deployed in November before Thanksgiving, so my first few care packages were full of things he either forgot (how do you forget that extra package of socks you just bought) or of treats that would remind him of the holidays (biscotti, brownies, sugar cookies, etc.). After he received them he said thank you of course, but then he said something I wasn’t expecting. He said he really didn’t want any sweets for the next few care packages.
Jaw dropping I know! I mean, what do you send someone down range besides homemade goodies? Well this got me thinking about how to make a more well-rounded care package with healthier food options. Here’s a list of what I put into his Valentine’s Day care package, as well as some ideas to help you build your own:
Care Package Content List
- 4 magazines – National Geographic Traveler, Garden & Gun, Men’s Health, GQ
- 3 small jars of honey from theSavannah Bee Company
- 1 box Charleston Breakfast Tea from the only tea plantation in the United States
- 1 greeting card with nuts on it
- 1 package of nuts to go along with the card
- 1 bar of soap, also from the Savannah Bee Company
- Ultrasound photos – It’s a girl!
After my husband told me no more sweet treats, I asked him what he would like instead and he gave me some pretty good options. Here are a few ideas that he gave and some that I thought of too.
- Nuts – pistachios, almonds, cashews, peanuts. Basically anything that has a crunch and is a healthier option than potato chips.
- Crackers – My husband requested wholesome crackers so I plan on gathering up different varieties of crackers next time I make it to the grocery store.
- Honey – In recent years my love for honey has grown. Luckily I live in Savannah and have access to the Savannah Bee Co. which has locally grown honey and honey products.
- Granola – I recently realized that I can easily make granola at home. It is a sweet crunchy food alternative that provides energy all day. This is definitely something that I will be packing in the next care package.
I know that my spouse doesn’t have a lot of down time down range, but I know that when he does have some time he loves to pick up something to read.
- Books – This is an obvious idea, but sometimes it can be difficult to figure out what kind of books to send. I usually forward books I found interesting or entertaining. That way we can either talk about them together or laugh about how much he didn’t like my silly books. Another idea is to give ones that talk about home or enjoyable places to visit.
- Travel magazines – I love perusing through magazine sections for ideas to send to my husband. One of my favorite types to send is travel magazines. My husband and I love traveling so when it comes to dreaming of R&R locations or vacations when he returns we are constantly coming up with ideas. It is always fun learning about new places to visit. I get excited just thinking about planning a trip.
- Health magazines – My husband recently told me that he is running more so I went on a hunt to find health magazines that would help him achieve his goals. Plus these are great magazines to pass to other service members so they can encourage each other to stay healthy during the deployment.
It is always nice to add a personal touch to a care package. There are so many ideas that you could add, but here are some of my go to items.
- Card – I like receiving hand written notes, so I like to send them. It is a way for me to write the mushy stuff that I don’t feel comfortable saying on the phone when I am at work surrounded by co-workers. Plus they are good mementos for your spouse to have throughout the deployment.
- Pictures – I love sending photos to my spouse. I print off old photos of things that we have done together over the years or from our most recent trip together to put into a small photo album. I know that you can look at Facebook or other social media, but having something tangible to hold helps keep spirits lifted. The photos I sent in my Valentine’s Day care package were a little more special since they were ultrasound photos of our first baby, a baby girl.
- Health care products – I don’t know about you, but I enjoy smelling new types of bars of soap. Nothing too girly or flowery smelling, but the fresh scented ones can change me from grumpy to happy. I know that my husband likes trying new soaps, so when I find one that I think he will like I grab it and add it to the “mail to spouse” pile. I mean I’ve got to have my man smelling good down range, right?
What other healthy alternatives do you send to someone you care about down range?