January 25, 2013

Themed Care Packages: Valentine's Day

We all love to send care packages, and themed ones are my special favorite! If you haven't sent a Valentine package to your soldier yet, there's still time... and I have some helpful ideas to get you started (of course!).

Most of these ideas (heck, probably all of them) are great at home too, not just for care packages. I also shared some fun ideas for budget-friendly, romantic notions several months ago on my anniversary. I am all about saving those pennies! Plus, homemade gifts are the best, yes?

Now, onward to the most famous of all love holidays...

Valentine's Day Care Package Ideas:

1. Decorate the Box - If you're mailing a care package, then a box is a necessity. Why not make it fun by decorating the inside of your box? There are so many ways to do this. You can use stickers or wrapping paper. You can line the box with "100 reasons why I love you..." Be creative!

This doesn't need to be the least bit expensive. If you're crafty, transform bits of old scrapbook paper, ribbon, etc. If you're like me (with none of those items lying around), then utilize places like the Dollar Store. I decorated the Hubs' boxes this year with items I found for $1 or less.

Also, for the remainder of this post, there shall be no comments or snickering at my lack of DIY skills, kay? Just humor me and pretend this looks professional.

I love you guys.

2. The Happy Jar - Last week, I gave you a sneak peak into this post with the Happy Jar. If you haven't read it yet, then do it now, peeps!

The Happy Jar is exactly what it sounds like: a jar full of happy. And who doesn't need one of those in their life?? The link (above) even provides you with the downloadable PDF to use my fun and funky poem.

3. Sweets and Treats - Candy, candy, candy! Valentine's Day is practically synonymous with chocolate and sugar. Choose your soldier's favorite candies and load them up! Have fun creating lollipop bouquets, or using only pink and red candies. For a special treat, send along a cup of dipping chocolate and some marshmallows.

Another fun idea is to package the candy yourself. Search through the dollar store for cute boxes and bags to package the candy in, like these:

Personalizing candy is one of my favorite ways to say 'I love you' in a care package. You can do this inexpensively, or you can splurge. Search great sites like Pinterest for inspiration:

On the left: Bubbles and Hershey kisses. Tag reads: Blowing you a kiss!
Top right: Gummy fish candies. Tags read: You O 'FISH'ally have my heart and 'I'm hooked on you'
Bottom right: Jar of pistachios Tag reads: I'm nuts about you!

I made these tags with two different colors of cardstock (about $0.50 each). With one piece of paper per color, I could easily have made ten or more tags.

If you're willing to spend a bit more money, you can also personalize just about anything, including M&Ms! 

The choices here are endless. Choose your colors, phrases, and even photos. Of course, be sure to order these with enough time to ensure delivery.

4. Fun and Games - Again, this is a category where you can be typical or sentimental, budget-friendly or extravagant. The bookstore sells plenty of puzzle books, like soduko or crosswords.

If you're sticking with a color theme, look for books in either red or pink.

You can also send your Hubs computer games or video games. Since the menfolk tend to be more into macho games, sticking to your valentine theme may be a bit more difficult. However, you can always wrap those types of games in Valentine themed tissue paper or wrapping paper!

For the more economical in this group (um, ME!), you can print many personalized puzzles right off the internet. My favorite site is : Discovery Education Puzzlemaker. Not only is it free, but they offer a large variety of puzzles.

The best part is that your puzzles can be all about you and your Hubs. It only takes a few minutes to create a basic puzzle. For other puzzles, use my favorite friend: Google. It works!!

5. Photos - Everyone loves to get photographs! Print out a dozen, or choose only one. Create themed borders or picture frames. There are great websites, such as Snapfish and Shutterfly, which offer countless photography services. Everything from photo books to blankets (made from your pictures) can be found on sites such as these.

One of my personal favorites are table-top panels. These photos are printed on a hard surface, so there is no need for frame or glass. Plus, they are durable enough to handle the rough conditions our soldiers are in.

As with other personalized gifts, check your timetables and order in advance.

6. Handmade Gifts from Your Children - Gifts from your kids are treasured keepsakes. Paintings and drawings are easy and fun to send. Many craft stores offer simple, inexpensive kits that are a great way to spend a rainy day... and then you can pass them on to your hubs!

I found this foam love puppy kit for $1 at our local store. Keep your eyes peeled for the good deals, and pick up when you can.

Other gifts can be made at home with basic supplies you probably already have. How about sending a bear hug to your spouse?

Im not sure exactly where I first saw this idea, but it's a great one. Plus, your kids will get a kick out of it!

Tape together pieces of computer paper, and then outline each other with your hands outstretched (hugging position). Label with the family member's name, and perhaps add some doodling or coloring. The Kid and I added a poem to ours. I found a basic one on the net which we adapted for our purposes. Feel free to use it yourself:

I'd give you a big hug,
Every day if I could,
Along with some kisses,
You know I would!

So I hope you like this,
What I made for you.... 
Kisses when needed,
                    And a giant BEAR HUG too!!                     

7. The Basics - You can still send all of the basic items to your spouse. You know... snacks, toiletries, etc.  Wrap them in red paper, or look for packaging that's already colored to match your theme:

This way, you're sending a themed package, but still including items your spouse will use regularly.

8. DIY Fortune Cookies - This is another way to send inspiring/loving messages. I discovered them on Pinterest, and eventually followed this tutorial: DIY Fortune Cookie Tutorial.

Since you can write your own fortunes, the cookies are easily made personal. Some ideas for romantic fortune sayings?
      1. It isn't where you go in life, it is who you have beside you that counts.
      2. You are cherished
      3. Only you can make my heart tremble
      4. If love is great, and there are no greater things, then what I feel for you must be the greatest
      5. To the world, you might be one person; but to me, you are the world

9. Other Doodads and Doohickies - There is no way I could possibly cover all the great Valentine's gifts you can send your hubs. BUT, here's a list I've received from readers, friends, family, and OF COURSE... Pinterest.

          1. Stuffed animals
          2. Love coupons (either purchased or handmade)
          3. Coffee mugs (and coffee)
         4. Message in a bottle
         5. Deck of cards with 52 Reasons Why I Love You (found on Pinterest)
         6. Article of clothing with your perfume on it (sealed in a ziploc bag)
         7. Romantic movies
         8. A mixed CD
         9. The "To Do" List: A list of all the things you will do together when your Hubs returns home
        10. Socks, underwear, new pillowcases (these make great packing material!)

10. Cards and Letters - Always remember to include a note to your soldier in the box! You can make your own or buy one that sings and dances, but don't forget. The little touches are what really make a care package special.

And that's all for now, folks! I'd love to hear your ideas, even share your photos with fellow readers. What have you made or purchased for your Valentine's boxes? What items does your soldier request? What do your kids like to send?

Until then, I hope this gave you some fun ideas. Happy packing, my friends!

Thanks for reading, everyone!
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  1. Where is the link of the pdf for the happy jar? Such a cute idea!

    1. The PDF file is in the original post, which you can reach by clicking the link above 'The Happy Jar'. Or here: http://armylifefromthewife.blogspot.com/2013/01/valentines-sneak-peek.html