When packing for deployment, consider leaving a gift with your service member — it might be the most precious treasure they bring with them.
Sentimental messages: Any message from your heart can bring a smile. Is there a phrase, poem or song lyric that is particularly meaningful? Use a business card-sized love note or an engraved “coin” to inscribe a personal message. You can also write a simple, “I love you,” inside their boots, where they will see it daily.
Photos: Give portable, waterproof images that can be taken anywhere. Order a small flipbook of family photos or laminate favorite shots for your service member to carry in their uniform. A Polaroid fits perfectly into a pocket or a Kevlar helmet.
Trinkets: A small token of your love can be carried as a daily source of inspiration. Would they appreciate a locket with a tiny photo inside? Or a key chain that represents your relationship? They might like a religious emblem to wear with their dog tags. Whatever you choose, make it personal and meaningful, and purchase a matching trinket for yourself.
High-tech gifts: Technology can make deployment life easier. Consider gifting noise-canceling headphones before the deployment. Or, a Wi-Fi puck gives them the gift of internet anywhere. Spring for a Nintendo Switch with games downloaded, so they can relax. Upload videos from family and friends onto a flash drive, so your service member can hear supportive messages. Other useful gifts include portable charging packs, extra-long cords, battery-powered fans and snacks for their journey.
Cuddle buddy: Matching small stuffed animals can serve as a cute reminder. If you have children — or a childish sense of humor — it’s fun to pose the toy and take silly pictures throughout the deployment. This can be a great conversation starter while they are away. Not into stuffed toys? Give them a personalized pillowcase instead.
‘Open when’ letters: Give the gift of encouragement with sealed letters to “open when” they are facing specific moments. Popular topics are “Open When It’s Your Birthday,” or “Open When You Really Miss Me.” Inside the envelope, include any message or small item that might help in that moment, plus waterproof sheets to protect the letters. If you wish there was a stack of “open when” letters written directly to you, read “Open When: Letters of Encouragement for Military Spouses.” Inside, you’ll discover inspiring messages for many challenging moments of military life.Read comments