Being separated during a military deployment proves challenging, but special occasions such as birthdays often serve as a reminder of the soldier's absence. A special birthday care package isn't as good as celebrating together in person, but it can lift the spirits of the soldier. Keep in mind the tastes of the soldier as well as the general restrictions for packages sent to deployed soldiers.
Homemade birthday cards add a personalised touch to a birthday care package for a deployed soldier. Ask all of the soldier's family and friends to create a homemade birthday card. Encourage them to include a personal note of encouragement or a birthday wish inside the card. Photos of family and friends are also a good option for adding to the cards. If the soldier has children, ask the classroom teacher if the students can decorate cards as well. A package full of cards will greet the soldier on her birthday for a sentimental gift.
Put together a care package full of the soldier's favourite items. Unlike birthdays at home, he'll spend his deployed birthday without the creature comforts that others take for granted. Supply him with all of his favourite basic necessities including toiletries and snacks. His favourite homemade treats or cookies from a local bakery offer an alternative to a birthday cake for his birthday dessert. Bake Me a Wish is a cake company that ships birthday cakes to soldiers. This is another option for surprising the birthday soldier.
Create a small scrapbook for the deployed soldier. Choose a small size for the scrapbook so it's easier for the soldier to keep while he is deployed. Include pictures from before her deployment and pictures of her family and friends since she has been gone. Another idea is to ask each of her family and friends to create a separate page for the scrapbook. Compile them all together to create a collaborative scrapbook. Make sure to add lots of captions and journaling in the scrapbook to help the deployed soldier feel closer to home on her birthday.
IOU Birthday Party
The soldier may be deployed on his birthday, but that doesn't mean you can't celebrate when he gets home. Send him an IOU birthday package to let him know there will be a birthday celebration waiting for him at home. Make a personalised invitation for the party with a date after his scheduled return. You can also fill in the date with something general such as "when you return." Include cards, a party hat, confetti and other small birthday items to give him a preview of the party he will come home to.
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