Care Packages, Military Life

A Year of Care Package Ideas

The very first item on my Deployment Bucket List was to send my husband 12 care packages. It would have been one care package for each month of his hardship tour to Honduras, except that his 12-month tour turned into a 15-month tour (stupid Army).

I suppose I should have made 15 packages, but truth be told…

He didn’t get the last care package until he was already home because I kept procrastinating taking it to the post office. However, I did reach my goal of making him 12 packages AND managed to have fun doing it.

Here are the 12 easy care packages I sent him while he was away and an idea of what I put inside each box.

#1 Hey Sweet Thang

Hey Sweet Thang Care Package

We sent this package shortly after Easter, not long after he arrived at Soto Cano. So, it was full of clearance Easter candy (no shame in my money saving game!), apple sauce, notes from me and the girls, individual servings of cereal, and some other snacks that he likes.

The letters that I used to decorate the flaps were self-adhesive letters that I bought at the Dollar General. I ended up using these on most of the packages and they were such a time-saver!

#2 Decorated by the Kids

care package decorated by kids

The kids were insanely obsessed with the first package we sent. I had let them help me pick out goodies for daddy at the store, but when it came time to decorate the box, I pretty much did it all. They begged to do the next one and I let them have free reign. I used the same wrapping paper and let them go to town with stickers and markers from their art cabinet. They loved it and it kept them entertained for a good 2 hours. (Mom win!)

This package contained beef jerky, two candy-scented candles that the kids found at the Dollar Tree (I tried to tell them that boys don’t like candles, but what does mom know?), a sketch pad & colored pencils, a new t-shirt, and some good old fashioned letters from home.

kids decorating care packages for daddy

(They stayed in their pajamas aka big t-shirts all morning and decorated this box for daddy!)

#3 Happy Father’s Day – We love you!

Father's Day Care Package

I wanted to make his Father’s Day package special. So, instead of spelling out Happy Father’s Day on the box flaps, I took pictures of the girls holding signs that said it. The lighting looks weird in this photo of the package, but these pictures turned out really cute and he loved it! He took the pictures off of the box and taped them up in his room.

This box had his Father’s Day gift – a new Hydroflask, dried fruit, candy, Father’s Day cards, Little League Pictures, a photo album, and some requested boxes of Yoo-Hoos.

#4 Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Care Package

His birthday package was fun to put together. My daughters picked out the background paper – I tried to explain to them that we need to find ‘boy paper’ for daddy, but they are girly girls at heart and the closest we came to ‘boyish’ was the blue background with gold hearts. He loved that the kids helped make the packages though, so that’s all that matters.

I made the letters on this package with my Cricut. I liked the way they looked, but they were more time-consuming than the stick on ones I mentioned earlier.

This package was full of his birthday gifts (i.e a couple of books), more dried fruit, a can of boiled peanuts, candy, birthday cards, and some money.

Normally, I wouldn’t send cash in these packages since they are opened and inspected in Customs. But since it was his birthday, I thought I would try it and it worked! I put $20 in one of the balloons and amazingly it wasn’t stolen.

Check out this big list of creative birthday care packages!

#5 Happy Halloween

Halloween Care Package

The hardest part of making this care package was finding Halloween wrapping paper. I ended up finding this black and colorful chevron paper at Wal-Mart.

Instead of spelling out Halloween, I used some of the art work the kids had brought home from school to glue on the flaps of the box. My husband loved it! He cut off the flaps and hung them in his room.

This box consisted of Halloween candy, some new shirts and undies, cards from us, and some fall-themed Little Debbies he was missing out on. (Those pumpkin smiley faces are his favorite!)

For more Halloween care packages look here!

#6 Splish Splash. You Need a Bath. We Love and Miss Your Stinky Ass

bath-themed care package

My husband says that this was his favorite care package (probably definitely because it had a bad word in it). I found the shiny blue paper at the Dollar Tree and cut the letters and bubbles out using my Cricut. Again, it wasn’t nearly as easy as the peel-and-stick letters, but totally worth it when he laughed out loud after opening the box.

This box contained shampoo, body wash, letters from me and the kids, a tooth brush, new towels & wash cloths, and some new swim trunks I had picked up for him. Fun fact: the pool is open year-round on Soto Cano, so it didn’t matter that it was November!

#7 Merry Christmas

Christmas Care Package

I kept his Christmas care package simple for 2 reasons. (1) He got to come home for 2 weeks at Christmas, so he was going to get the whole Christmas experience anyway and (2) because the holidays are busy and stressful enough!

This package contained Christmas cookies, notes from me and the girls, a new shirt, some new books, some fruit squeezes, and some more dried fruit.

#8 Open When Letters

Set of Open When Letters for a deployed service member

Any time I looked up care package ideas on Pinterest, open when letters always popped up. After getting the news of his tour extension, I knew I had to make some. They were much more time-consuming to make than a regular package, but the final product was worth the effort.

You can see everything I put inside his Open-When Letters here. Also, check out this post with 21 Ideas for Awesome Open When Letters.

# 9 Soldier Boy, Brave & Fine, Won’t You Be My Valentine?

For this package, instead of wrapping the whole interior of the box, I just cut paper to fit on the flaps of the box. I used the peel-and-stick letters again, because I’m lazy, but I’m still happy with the way it turned out.

This package contained the open when letters that I made in January, Valentine Twinkies, Valentine chocolates, beef jerky, vitamins, supplements, coconut oil, some more Yoo-Hoos, and of course Valentine cards from the girls and myself.

Check here for more Valentine Care Package Ideas!

#10 Happy Easter…Again

Yet again, we made another Easter care package, but this one made it to him on time! I used some scrapbook letters that I had laying around and let the girls do their thing with stickers again.

This package contained Easter candy, more individual cereal bowls, boiled peanuts, and lots of travel-sized items that he could put in his flight bag. He went on a lot of TDY missions, so I sent him travel-sized medicines and toiletries.

#11 We Are Wild About You

This package came together after I found the cheetah print wrapping paper at the Dollar Tree. I added peel-and-stick letters and some leftover Valentine stickers and voila! 

We filled this package with homemade deer jerky, a new Yeti cup, a box of cookies, more Yoo-Hoos, Cracker Jacks, notes from me and the kids, and other miscellaneous snacks.

#12 You Are Back

His final care package was probably the most exciting to put together….but then again, everything about his homecoming was exciting! The girls helped me make the checklist of things to do when he got home.

This box contained some water toys to use at the pool, his favorite candy, Moon Pies, new books, and some new clothes. Unfortunately, we waited too late to mail this package, so he opened it at home with us. But he didn’t mind one bit!

Care Package Ideas

I love crafting, so making cute care packages is right up my alley. I actually miss doing them since he’s been home!

For more creative care package ideas check out these posts: