Deployment care package ideas for the military loved one at home
We have all seen beautiful and creative ideas for care packages to send to deployed service members. But what about their spouses and loved ones that stay behind? What kind of things could they use to help them get through deployment? A deployment care package is a fun and creative way to show support for a military spouse during a deployment. But when I asked military loved ones what they REALLY wanted, it was more than just snacks and cards.
There are some things that are especially important to someone going through deployment: time and helping hands. During deployment, most people experience days where they feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and lonely. Many military loved ones live far from family and feel alone or unsupported during deployment. Many work full-time jobs, are enrolled in college classes, or care for young children. They can’t always vocalize exactly what they need. They just wish they had some help.
During deployment, military loved ones need courage, strength, energy, a positive attitude, self-confidence, and the ability to creatively entertain themselves. People can learn to become resilient and handle almost any situation, but it is a skill that is learned over time. It doesn’t happen automatically on the first deployment.
That’s where deployment care packages come in. What kind of gifts encourage these skills? Almost anything could, if it is given as a thoughtful act of love.
What can I do to help someone survive deployment?
If you want to encourage a military loved one going through deployment, your actions speak louder than your words. We often hear the phrase, “let me know if you need anything!” It is intended as a kind gesture, but the problem is that this leaves all the responsibility on the person going through deployment to vocalize their needs and humble themselves to ask for help. And sometimes, when they finally summon the courage to ask… they are told that it’s inconvenient or the other person can’t help them today.
So if you truly want to support someone going through deployment, then go ahead and suggest something you can do to help. Be specific! Think of a chore, task, or service you are willing to offer, and just tell them you want to do it for them. Can’t think of anything? Try these:
“I would like to make dinner for you this week. Do you have any food allergies?”
“I’m sending you some gift certificates for food delivery on busy days! Do you use GrubHub or Door Dash?”
“Would you like me to take the kids to school or bring them back from practice next week? I could do it on Tuesdays.”
“I’m sure the new baby keeps you busy! Can I come over tomorrow afternoon to hold her while you get some rest or a shower or whatever you need?”
“My teenage son can mow your lawn while your spouse is away. What is a good time for him to stop by?”
“I’m stopping by the grocery store. Do you need anything?”
When you ask a direct request like this, you are taking all the stress and responsibility of planning off the shoulders of the one going through deployment. I can tell you that is truly a breath of fresh air for someone who feels like they are barely keeping their head above water.
When I had baby #3 during a deployment, a friend volunteered to come over and clean my house! I never would have thought to ask, but she asked in such a direct and polite way that made it easy to accept. My house wasn’t even that messy, but she knew it would be helpful with all my little ones. I left for 2 hours, and came back to sparkling bathrooms. It was amazing!
Please consider helping a military loved one with a direct offer. It will make their day and save them the shame of begging for help when they truly need it. An offer like this can be the true lifeline during deployment, and might mean more than any deployment care package.
Deployment care package ideas for a military spouse
If you prefer to send a gift rather than do an act of service, that can brighten someone’s day too! Whether you send them a package “just because” or participate in a secret sister exchange, it’s always exciting to receive mail and know that someone is thinking of you. Getting a care package during deployment is a reminder that you aren’t alone. Your gift can give someone the courage to face another long and challenging month without their service member.
A wonderful gift for any spouse going through deployment is the book, Open When: Letters of Encouragement for Military Spouses. I wrote this to offer hope, empathy, and strength during common challenges of milspouse life. You can buy “Open When” on Amazon, from the publisher, or order an autographed copy here.
What do military spouses request the most for deployment care packages? Chocolate. And wine. Those are the top priority for just about every military wife I have met!
Here are some of my ideas of great gifts to encourage a military loved one during deployment :
– caffeine, any source, but especially coffee
– food, especially a homemade meal
– dessert, any type!
– alcohol, any type!
– movies or TV shows on DVD
– a coloring book or enjoyable craft project
– offers of free childcare
– offers to get them groceries
– offer an oil change
– a thoughtful comfort item like a blanket or stuffed animal
– potted flowers
– gift cards to anywhere
– scented candles
– a hand-written note telling them they are strong and admired
If you want to make a military spouse’s day, give them any of these things. If you want to make the whole deployment, send all of them! Wouldn’t it be fun if spouses at home got care packages too?