If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that I’m a huge fan of putting photos in care packages. I add them to almost every single one of my husband’s care packages and always recommend them for just about any care package theme. Why photos? First off, they get you as close to your loved one as possible when he or she is away from home and give your loved one something physical to hold onto when they miss you the most. They’re small, easily packed and fairly inexpensive. But more than anything else, I love how creative you can get when you ship photos. There are so many unique ways to send pictures!
There are a lot of websites that sell photo products, but I’ve primarily used Shutterfly for my photo projects. Shop around as most sites have frequent coupon codes or sales going on that can help you save money. With custom photo projects, shipping time can be a bit longer than regular prints so I would definitely plan to shop early.
Unique ways to send photos
As a calendar: time can tick by slowly during a deployment so help your loved one mark off the days with a photo calendar. You could get as creative as you want for this: staging photos for each month that represent a major holiday or theme or using photos from the same month/day in previous years. Or you could just randomly pick some of your favorite photos to use. No matter which method you choose, make sure you think through any space limitations your loved one may have and whether or not it will fit in your care package.
As a magnet: as someone who knew absolutely NOTHING about the military prior to my husband, you can imagine my surprise when I learned that sometimes the walls are made of metal during a deployment. Mind blown. But as weird as that sounds to a civilian, it actually offers a unique opportunity for photos: as a magnet! You can do a collage of different photos on a magnet backing so your loved one can display them.
As a keychain: if you need to keep space-saving care packages in mind, then a photo keychain could be a great way to go. It’s small enough that your loved one could probably carry it with them on a daily basis. Plus this item is useful even after they return home. Your photo will be small, so pick just one to use.
As a “day in the life” book: while there’s nothing wrong with the traditional photo book at all, a “day in the life” book can be a little more fun. My husband often says that he misses the little moments the most while deployed so I’ve taken photos of me doing all the normal stuff throughout the day and compiled them into a small book. He loved it! You could do this with a special occasion (like Christmas or a child’s birthday/first day of school) or maybe with a family trip that your loved one is missing.
As a puzzle: not every deployment is action-packed 24 hours a day and there aren’t a whole lot of distractions depending on where your loved one is located. A photo puzzle could be a lot of fun for your loved one to put together to pass the time, especially if you used a collage of different photos. Odds are the box the puzzle comes in will be a bit bulky so if it doesn’t fit in your care package, empty the pieces into a plastic baggie and ship that instead.
As a coffee mug/water bottle: another functional item both overseas and at home is a coffee mug or water bottle. As a gift, a personalized mug (or Mug Personnalisé as they’d say in France) for the people who love coffee and tea, this will be great! I highly suggest getting a travel mug so it won’t break during shipping, but you should be ok with just about any water bottle that you choose. An insulated one that keeps things extra cold, especially during the hot summer, would probably be much appreciated by your loved one.
As a deck of cards: another way to pass any free time while deployed is to play cards, which you can also put photos on! I’m telling you, photos go with everything!
These are just a few unique ways to send photos in your next care package, but let your imagination run wild! Whether it’s a photo book, an envelope full of prints or life size poster version of yourself, photos bring a little piece of home to your loved one no matter where they are. They are one of the easiest things to send and one of the things your loved one will enjoy the most. How do you like to send photos in care packages?
Want even more care package ideas? I’m giving away 165+ ideas (plus what to put in them) here.