There are several articles on how to decorate and what to include in a package to a deployed service member. They need and desire the comforts of home, and this is something that should be shared. The other group who enjoy care packages from home are the military families serving overseas. While there are amazing places to explore and new foods to try, it is nice to get a taste of the American home every now and again. If you have military friends living overseas, curate a care package for them with a taste of home with these items.
What To Send
What to send depends on the friends you are sending the package to. If there are favorite items from a local store that they enjoy, send those. Here are a few suggestions of items that those who have lived overseas or are living overseas enjoy:
–Chick Fil A Sauce – while there are plenty of copycat recipes out there, there is nothing quite like the real deal. Now there are even bottled and sealed bottles of sauce that can be purchased at grocery stores and Chick Fil A branches. Whether you are sending sauce packets or bottles, make sure to seal them in plastic bags to avoid leakage from ruining the entire contents of your bag.
– Local Coffee – If your friends are caffeine aficionados, it is fun to send some local treats. Make sure the bags or canisters are sealed. If you are sending grounds, place the bag or canisters in a plastic bag to catch any loose grounds that may escape with shipping.
– Local treats – Like local coffee, if there is a local candy or chocolate shop, support the small business near you and send some fun treats. Even if your friends are living in a location with good chocolate, it doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy something different from home.
– Spice Mixes – While Armed Forces living overseas do have Commissary privileges to purchase American products, the long period of shipping sometimes leads to empty shelves from shipping delays. Making homemade spice mixes in little jars is a nice way to share a personal touch along with providing a sometimes-needed item. If you are sending glass jars, make sure to cushion the items. Cleaned peanut butter containers are plastic, seal well, and can be used in lieu of glass. Again, make sure to put the jar in a plastic bag as pressures in shipping can sometimes lead to loose lids.
–Comfort Treats – If your friend enjoys tea, or a certain cookie they may not be able to get where they are currently living, it is a nice gesture to include these in their package.
– A taste of where you are living – Include a couple of other local treats to showcase where you are currently living. Maybe a BBQ mix when living in the south, or a locally made candle (be sure to seal it). Sharing a piece of where you currently call home is a fun way to keep in touch with your friends no matter where they live.
What NOT to Send
It should go without saying, but going to say it for old times’ sake. Do not send any alcohol, cigarettes, loose batteries, hazardous material or any fresh item that will go bad before its arrival in your boxes. If you are sending items with batteries in it, it is best to send it in the original sealed packaging for safety.
Don’t Forget to Decorate
If you are sending seasonal treats in the box, decorate the sides of the inside of the boxes with seasonally appropriate stickers. Write jokes on the inside of the flaps for a fun addition – don’t forget to add the punchline on the flaps as well! Decorate the outside sides of the box with drawings and stickers as well – just be sure to leave the address area clear of clutter so the address can be read easily.
Don’t Forget the Customs Form
When sending items overseas, a customs form must be included. Even if you are sending to armed forces overseas who are receiving mail through the military post, it is leaving the United States mail and everything must be declared. The package will go through the United States Postal Service and then change hands to a military post. The military post then ships the mail to the appropriate location when moving other goods to that base. Make sure to check the USPS guidelines for what items can be mailed internationally and specifically to that country. You will need to know the item types and approximate cost. No need to write each item individually. You can group items like “books” or “coffee” with approximate costs on each line.