How To's, 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  (Life happens….& unfortunately, it happens a lot faster and harder during deployment.) 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 a general idea of what I put inside each box.

#1 Hey Sweet Thang

Hey Sweet Thang Care Package

This package was sent shortly after Easter, not long after he arrived at Soto Cano. So, this package 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 bottle, some 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 were involved in making the packages though, so that’s all that matters.

The letters on this package were cut out using 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 in customs. However, 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 hadn’t been 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-themed or even Halloween-suitable wrapping paper. I ended up finding this black and colorful chevron paper at Wal-Mart. In the future I will try to order Halloween wrapping paper ahead of time.

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 (what’s Halloween without candy, right?), 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 – he’s such a child ). I found the shiny blue paper at the Dollar Tree (the Dollar Tree easily becomes your best friend when you have 12 packages to fill) 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 was filled with 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

open when letters for deployed soldier

Any time I looked up care package ideas on Pinterest, open when letters always popped up. After we got the news that his tour was being extended, I knew that I had to make him 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 the Open-When Letters in this post. Also, check out this post with 21 Ideas for Awesome Open When Letter.

# 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 got lazy, what can I say?) The saying on this box was one that I had found on Pinterest and thought was super cute. Again, I used the peel-and-stick letters, because….lazy….but I’m still happy with the way it turned out.

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

#10 Happy Easter…Again

Here we were, again, making another Easter 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 was doing a lot of TDY missions and having to stay overnight in the field and in hotels, so I sent him travel-sized packages of medicine 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 were done!

We filled this package with homemade deer jerky from my dad, a new Yeti cup, a box of cookies, more Yoo-Hoos (the man likes Yoo-Hoo, what can I say?), 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 a checklist of things that he had to do when he got home and we glued them to 2 of the box flaps.

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 had to wait to open it when he got home. But he didn’t mind one bit!

Care Package Ideas

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

For more creative care package ideas check out these posts:

12 Unique Care Package Ideas A year of creative care package ideas
a year of care package ideas