When I learned that not everyone has a loved one at home who sends them care packages during deployment, it honestly broke my heart a little bit. Being away from home is hard enough, but if your mailbox always stays empty? That’s got to make things even harder. Sending things for my husband to share with others quickly became a must for me. An extra box of cookies, a few extra toothbrushes, whatever I thought folks would enjoy. It made a difference, but eventually I realized that there’s another way to send some comfort from home: mini care packages!
Why mini care packages?
Extra items to share are great, but there’s something special about having your very own care package. Sending mini care packages give each person the enjoyment of opening their own surprise. You never know when that will be the bright spot in someone’s day!
Mini Care Packages for Groups
Mini stockings at Christmas
I’ve actually sent this very mini care package to my husband’s co-workers and included jingle bells, candy canes and hot chocolate mix along with a few staple items like granola bars and water flavor packets. Packaging all of the contents into mini stockings really ups the festive feeling. My husband actually held onto these until Christmas Eve and everyone took a break from working to open them.
Mini plastic pumpkins at Halloween
You could send these little plastic pumpkins empty with candy packaged separately. This way, your loved one’s co-workers can trick or treat. Remember to avoid chocolate in this mini care package as it may still melt! Another option would be to choose Halloween-themed goodie bags and pre-fill them with treats.
Filled plastic eggs at Easter
Depending on the size of the plastic eggs, you could send things like a small package of jellybeans, maybe an individually wrapped Peep or even a non-holiday snack. If your loved one is really cooperative, you could even have them hide the eggs in their co-workers belongings to mimic an Easter egg hunt.
Mini toiletry kits
These could be sent at pretty much anytime during a deployment, but the journey out and back are great times to send mini care packages filled with toothbrushes, toothpaste and deodorant. You could also add gum or breath spray!
Tips for Mini Care Packages
Send neutral items.
If you’re sending mini care packages to a group, it is not the time to send your loved one’s favorite things. Unless you know otherwise, look for gender-neutral items and avoid items that have super specific tastes. For example, maybe don’t send those pickle-flavored sunflower seeds your loved one is obsessed with because they may not be popular with everyone. Generic items like water flavor packets, granola bars, beef jerky and simple toiletries will appeal to the largest number of people. You could have little ones participate by writing notes or coloring pictures to include as well.
Ask for contributions.
If you’re putting together 20-30 mini care packages, it can get very expensive! But people are always so anxious to help during a deployment and this is the perfect way to include them. By assigning each person a specific item to contribute, you reduce your overall costs and keep their monetary contribution manageable as well.
Use an assembly line to pack them!
Keep all those kind people involved by having them help you pack all the mini care packages! Put on some fun music, buy a pizza or two and start stuffing bags. It makes it easier and gets you out of your deployment bubble to spend time with other people.
Mini care packages are a great way to make service members feel appreciated when they’re away from home. This is especially important for the men and women who don’t receive care packages regularly or at all. Have you ever sent mini care packages for your loved one to share with others?
Want even more care package ideas? I’m giving away 165+ ideas (plus what to put in them) here.