Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. Benji is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent Benji Carr

UPDATED: Mar 3, 2022

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To Sum It Up

  • Christmas care packages for soldiers can help lift spirits while serving or being deployed overseas
  • Instead of sending generic holiday items, send your beloved military member personalized gifts
  • Make sure to send out your Christmas care packages in plenty of time before the USPS deadline
  • Look for things they use every day that may be packaged in a festive holiday theme

Christmas care packages for soldiers may include all the regular items you would normally put in a care package, but you can add a splash of Christmas spirit to liven things up for the holidays.

It can be a challenging time for your service member to be away from family and friends over the holidays, especially when overseas. The cultures in other countries may not celebrate Christmas, so sending some holiday cheer in a care package can really help the morale of our troops.

In this guide, you will learn about military Christmas care package ideas, how to properly ship your package around the holidays, and how to make your Christmas care package extra special for your veteran.

Shipping a Christmas Care Package to Troops

Proper packaging, correctly filled customs forms, and completed addresses will help ensure that your Christmas care package will arrive intact and on time to your military service member. Over the holidays, there is very little room for error when shipping with USPS. Make sure to follow these best practices, and your care package should arrive on time and in perfect condition.

Shipping Times Over the Holidays

It is important to look up the shipping deadlines for your package to be received by your military loved one in a timely manner for Christmas.

Over the Christmas season in 2021, the USPS deadline for shipping Priority Mail in the contiguous States was December 18th. For shipping abroad, specifically to the Middle East, the deadline for Priority Mail was December 6th. These dates do not leave any room for error.

It is recommended to ship domestic Priority Mail at least two weeks in advance before Christmas, and International Mail five weeks in advance, or even longer. It is always better to receive a Christmas gift early than late.

Use Proper Packaging

USPS has a military packaging kit that is free and includes the Priority Mail box, tape, address labels, and customs forms. USPS also has festive holiday prints on their Priority Mail boxes during Christmastime, so no gift wrapping is needed.

Even though you may want to ship fragile holiday items, like an ornament or snow globe, it is recommended not to pack anything that can break easily, especially if you are shipping overseas.

Prohibited and Restricted Items

There are a few things you do not want to send in your care package at anytime. Do not send alcohol, carbonated beverages, perishable foods, or anything that could melt, like chocolate.

Lighters, lithium batteries, and aerosols are restricted items and should be avoided in care packages.

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Making a Christmas Care Package Special

When you are contemplating about what to put in a Christmas care package, lots of ideas come up about holiday themed candies, treats, and indulgent goodies. However, keep in mind that many generic care packages are sent to troops from churches, schools, and civic groups that contain manufactured items.

You want to make your Christmas care package special by adding personal touches that mean something to your military loved one.

The holiday season can stir up lots of emotions for troops that are deployed in the States and abroad. The loneliness of missing family and friends, or the sadness of missing out on traditions and holidays events, can all make your service member feel out of sorts.

Instead of packing up cheesy Christmas decorations and factory made candies, send things that really come from the heart.

Some ideas for meaningful Christmas care package items include:

  • Hand drawn holiday cards from the children
  • Favorite Christmas movie DVDs
  • Audio recording of holiday messages from loved ones
  • A thumb drive with recent photos and videos of family and friends
  • A recording of Christmas carols sung by the kids
  • A holiday scented candle that smells like home

You can also gift wrap a present and tell them not to open it until Christmas. This gives them something to look forward to on Christmas morning.

Essentials and Personal Care Items for Christmas

When your family member is away from home on active duty, they will have access to essentials. However, there is not much of a choice, and they may find themselves missing their favorite brands of personal care items.

You can ship them their favorite essentials in small travel-sizes, so you can pack more things into the box without it becoming too heavy. Just remember to put liquids and powders into extra packaging, like a zip lock baggy.

Some essential items that are always helpful are toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, razor, shaving cream, lotion, facial products, and foot powders.

Grooming items, such as nail clippers, tweezers, and hairbrushes are always welcome.

Add some holiday cheer by packaging these essential items into a festive Christmas stocking. You can also look for toiletries that come in festive holiday packaging and bottles during the season.

You can also send Christmas themed essentials that they can use, like holiday socks and underwear, Christmas themed wash cloths, or even a personalized Christmas coffee mug.

Holiday Food and Drink Care Package Items

Chances are there will be a flood of manufactured candy canes, peppermints, granola bars, and other typical Christmas sweets from generic holiday packages sent from organizations all over America.

You want your package to be special, so why not send some baked goods and sweets that you made? This is a great way to add a personal touch to your military Christmas care package.

Just make sure your baked goods are non-perishable. And don’t send anything that can melt, like chocolate. Some baked goods ideas that don’t spoil are gingerbread, sugar cookies, popcorn balls, biscotti, and peanut brittle.

You can also send homemade savory snacks that do not perish, like beef jerky, roasted nuts, and homemade crackers.

You can send homemade drink mixes in a plastic jar, like hot cocoa mix with marshmallows and peppermint candies, or powdered holiday flavored coffee creamer.

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Other Ways to Provide Support to Military Service Members

Showing that you care for your beloved troops over the holidays does not always have to mean opening a care package full of Christmas gifts.

You can help them maintain important business in their lives back home by helping them with home and vehicle insurance, paying bills, and filing taxes.

You can help them save money by finding discounts on services they already have, such as emergency deployment auto insurance discounts.

You can also help your soldier keep up with vehicle maintenance while deployed. This can be anything from washing the parked vehicle to taking the vehicle for a drive once a month.

The Last Word on What to Include in Christmas Care Packages for Soldiers

The holidays can be a tough time for active service members and troops deployed overseas. More than anything else, our military members miss their family, friends, and traditions of the holidays. You can provide them some Christmas cheer by sending personalized gifts and essentials that provide quality and thoughtfulness into their lives.

Make sure to properly package your parcel and avoid shipping anything that can break. Send out your care packages well before the deadline as marked by USPS.

Instead of sending generic candy and decorations, make meaningful home baked goods, handmade Christmas cards, and thoughtful recordings of friends and family.

You can also get Christmas themed essential items, like holiday socks and underwear.

Showing you care doesn’t stop with gifts. You can provide support by helping with important tasks that they cannot do while being away from home. Taking care of another’s personal business is one of the most thoughtful gifts a person can provide.

Just remember, anything you give over the holidays to our troops shows support, no matter how small.