The holidays are just around the corner. If you haven’t already began thinking about what to send to you love ones serving away from home AND when to send your package in order for it to get to them on time, check out the information below!
The U.S. Post Office has provided information to assist you in the process of sending mail, including key dates to remember:
If you are unable to view this chart, visit https://www.usps.com/shippingdates/.
Military Care Kit to Send Presents and/or Care Packages
With Priority Mail supplies as the packaging of choice for families preparing care packages for service members overseas, the Postal Service created a free “Military Care Kit” based on the items most frequently requested by military families.
The kit contains:
- Two Priority Mail APO/FPO Flat Rate Boxes.
- Two Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Boxes.
- Priority Mail tape.
- Priority Mail address labels.
- Appropriate customs forms.
Mailing tips to ensure your package(s) arrive safely and undamaged
- The Box: Choose a box with enough room for cushioning material around the contents. When reusing a box, cover up or black out any old labels and markings.
- Cushioning: Place cushioning around items. Close and gently shake the box to determine whether there is enough padding.
- Sealing: Tape the box shut and reinforce the seams with two-inch-wide tape. Use clear or brown packaging tape, reinforced packing tape, or paper tape.
- Size: The weight of a package cannot exceed 70 lbs. When using Priority Mail Express or Priority Mail services for faster delivery, length plus girth (distance around the thickest part of the package) cannot exceed 108 inches. When using Space Available Mail, the total cannot be more than 130 inches.
- Correct Address: Write out the service members full name in the address. Include the unit and APO/FPO/DPO address with the 9-digit ZIP Code (if one is assigned). Be sure to include a return address.
What to put in your package:
Don’t know what to put in your package? Here are some ideas and images to help you along the way!
- Send your soldier a small Christmas tree that they can decorate for themselves. Send lights that can be put on the tree as well as hung around their living area. Be sure to pack fun ornaments that can be hung on the tree. If you got your soldier any small gifts for Christmas, wrap them up and write a note saying to put these gifts under the tree and they are not to be opened until Christmas morning!
- Hard candies and firm homemade sweets such as pralines and toffee are safe to mail because their high sugar content prevents bacterial growth.
- Dried fruits, such as raisins and apricots, and commercially-packaged trail mix and nuts, need no refrigeration.
- Dried beef or poultry, such as beef jerky, turkey jerky or beef slims, are safe to mail. Bacteria cannot multiply in food preserved by removing moisture.
- Dehydrated soups and fruit drink mixes are lightweight and safe to mail.
- Regional condiments, such as hot sauce and Cajun seasonings in packets, are useful for spicing up Meals Ready to Eat (MREs).
- Dense and dry baked goods, such as fruit cakes and biscotti, are good choices for mailing because they will not become moldy.
- Commercially-packaged cookies in airtight tins, dry cookies such as ginger snaps and specialty crackers are good choices.
Getting to the Soldier:
After checking and double-checking the address label and making sure the cookies are wrapped extra tight, your package has finally made it to its destination…well almost! The video below from Soldiers with the 371st Headquarters Headquarters company explain the process of collecting and distributing mail to service members deployed.
We hope these tips and reminders help you make this holiday season great, for you and your Soldier!