It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And the most frantic for military spouses struggling to get presents and packages shipped in time.

Finding that just-right item for everyone on your list can be a struggle when you’re many miles from home. Add in the shipping deadlines or hefty rush fees, and military spouses need to act fast!

Holiday Care Package Gift Ideas for Everyone On Your List

Instead of stressing, use this fun guide to create lovely, thoughtful care package gifts for everyone on your list.

For Your Deployed Spouse

Make this holiday extra special with a box full of cheer! Pack up:

  • mini fake Christmas tree or small menorah
  • a short strand of twinkle lights and/or tiny candles
  • mini ornaments
  • mini stockings

Your loved one will be able to set up for Hanukah or Christmas no matter where they are located!

Add in some thoughtful gifts, too. Consider:

  • Gift cards for digital products: ebooks, audiobooks, online games, music
  • Luxury self-care items: lip balm, hand creme, face masks
  • Touches of home: cake in a jar, photo book, video messages on a thumb drive
  • Upgraded essentials: fancier versions of products they always need, like toothpaste or shampoo

For Your Mom

Moms totally make the holiday season merry and bright!

Treat your mom, or special mother-figure, to a spa box. Include:

  • Bath salts or bubble bath
  • Bathtub pillow
  • Plush towel wrap
  • Face mask(s)
  • Body lotion
  • Luxury nail polish or a gift card for a local nail salon
  • A fancy box of tea with a new mug

Another idea is to relive favorite holiday memories together. Include:

  • Framed photos of your family from holidays’ past
  • One half of a set of matching ornaments; you keep the other part
  • Holiday movie classic, along with a promise to Skype while you watch it together
  • Favorite holiday beverage, like tea or cocoa

For Your Dad

Dad might not seem like he’s into the holidays, but he can “Ho ho ho” with the best of them!

Build an interest-based box for your dad. This will look different for everyone, every time. Here are a few that we’ve sent in the past:

Luxury Bespoke Cocktails

  • Handcrafted drink mixes from Bittermilk
  • Upgraded shaker set
  • Drink rocks
  • Cut glass tumblers

Day on the Links

  • Golf balls from a local course
  • Gold tees
  • Clothing or accessories from the on-base pro-shop

BBQ Master

  • Monogrammed grill press or brand
  • BBQ apron just for Dad
  • High quality, locally made grill accessories
  • Locally grown spice blends and marinades

For Nieces & Nephews

Kids are hard to shop for over long distances! It’s hard to gauge interests and sizes, even if Mom or Dad are feeding you their best intel.

For the kids in your life, try these ideas:

  • Shirt or memorabilia from a local attraction (ex: FC Ryukyu shirt from Okinawa)
  • Locally made toy or kid-friendly item (ex: puzzle, handcrafted wooden car)
  • Fun local food (ex: chips from Asia, chocolates from Europe, Boston baked beans candy from Massachusetts)
  • Small gift card to an attraction near them (ex: zoo, children’s museum)

For Your Travel Buddy

Have a friend or family member who loves to visit you? Make their next adventure easier with a travel survival kit!


  • Luxury lip balm
  • Travel pillow
  • Compact travel blanket
  • Foldable travel shoes
  • Durable, and fun, luggage tag
  • Starbucks gift card for layover lattes

For Anyone on Your List

Sending a little piece of your current hometown is always a good choice! It will help your loved ones peek into your daily life. Plus, you’ll be supporting local farmers, artists, and businesses. Total win-win!

Try these creative ideas:

Local Eats:

  • Locally famous or familiar herbs, spices, and seasonings
  • Ingredients (non-perishable) + recipe for a favorite local food
  • Local pantry staples, like honey or olive oil

Tourist in a Box

  • Postcards of famous local attractions
  • Magnet(s) from famous local attractions
  • Local favorite snack foods
  • Typical tourist souvenir (ex: Ghiradelli chocolate from San Francisco)

Handcrafted Here

Gather your favorite items from your favorite local makers and artists. Think paintings, art prints, woven scarves or blankets, frames, or jewelry. Send it to your loved one with a thoughtful note about where you purchased the product, the small business owner, and why you love it. Include the business card or contact information for the shop, too.

This holiday season, what most of your loved ones want is really just a little piece of you. By creating personal care packages connected to your current location, your friends and family will get exactly that.

If you’re in doubt, take a trip to a local farmer’s market or another handcraft collective. Poke around and see what appeals to you. Or play tourist for a day. Ask yourself, “What would I want to see, do, and buy if I only had a few days here?” Box up whatever strikes your fancy (within budget) and ship it off!

What was your favorite Christmas present care package? Share your memories of gifts sent, or received, in the comments!



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