March 7, 2013

Themed Care Packages: Easter

Easter comes early this year (March, 31st), so if you're sending a care package to a soldier it needs to be in the mail very soon. Remember, packages can take several weeks to reach their destination, especially in the more remote areas of the world.

But have no fear! I'm here to help with some great ideas...

Easter Care Package Ideas:

1. Decorate the Box
- If you keep up with my blog, then you know I always include this as the first step in your holiday care packages. Decorating the inside of your box isn't expensive, and takes hardly any time at all. Plus, it makes your soldier smile!

I use bits of things from all over the house (old wrapping paper, markers, scrapbook and construction paper), and I also pick up a few things from the dollar store (stickers mostly). Be creative!

A fun way to personalize the box is to use your kid's artwork or school projects. If you don't have kids, then fill in the blank spaces with silly Easter jokes or your favorite Bible verses. If you don't know any jokes, then google! That's a verb now, right??

2. The Traditional Basket - Filling your box like a traditional basket is a great way to say 'Happy Easter' to your soldier. Don't let the box format get in your way! Use Easter grass, soft baskets, and fun bags to really give it the traditional feel.

Instead of traditional Easter grass, try out the edible kind! 

Again, discount stores are a great place to find these items. Packed correctly, the eggs and baskets will survive the long journey overseas. Here are a few tips and tricks for you:

           - Tape the edges of plastic eggs together after you've filled them.
           - Wrap baskets/boxes with plastic wrap to keep the items inside secure
           - If you buy edible grass, leave it in the package!
           - Plain grass is a great filler to help cushion other items
           - Try using practical items to hold candy (like a plastic tumbler)
           - Fill all available space. The less room for items to shift, the better

Because there are so many popular basket items, I'm going to give each one their own section! Let's start with the obvious...

3. The EGGS - Nowadays, plastic eggs come in all shapes and sizes. They're neon, camouflage, and polka-dotted. I've found eggs shaped like carrots and bunnies. There is no end to the possibilities.

When it comes to fillings, the list is even longer. Some of the most popular ideas are candy (of course), love notes, bible verses, travel-sized hygiene items, and letters from family/friends. Here are a few ideas (with links) that I've found from Pinterest. I'd make these myself, but there's not always enough time in the day, ya know?

100 Eggs Why I Love You - Unfortunately, this particular pin had no link attached to it, but I think the idea here is pretty self-explanatory.

Make your own Paper Mache Eggs from Not Martha. If I had time this year, I definitely would make these, I love them! If you make these for shipping overseas, I'd suggest careful packaging. Perhaps inside a smaller, well-padded box?

4. Sweets and Treats - An Easter basket just wouldn't be the same without CANDY!!! I know the Hubs loves any kind of junk food I send him. Even if he doesn't eat it himself, he shares with all his buddies.

Though chocolate is traditional, you have to be very careful when shipping at this time of year. Keep track of the changes in climate. Even if it's cold where you are, it may be too warm where your spouse is. Remember, your box will spend many hours in a cargo hold somewhere, which won't be climate-controlled.

Luckily, there are plenty of chocolate alternatives:

Try jelly beans, lollipops, hard candy, gummy candies, Peeps, even Pez dispensers!  I know a chocolate bunny is traditional, but it is likely to melt. I found a substitute at Target this year, a cool gummy bunny:

If your spouse isn't into candy, don't worry! There are plenty of options for you too:

(yes, I realize some of these are still sweet... but cookies don't count as candy, do they??)

Many stores sell your favorite snacks with holiday packaging. Look for spring colors, or even use the bunny theme with Annie's Homegrown products (lots of them are bunny shaped).

For those of you who like a little creative flair, add tags or cute sayings to your food offerings. On that note, let's jump right into the next section!

5. Easter Tags and Sayings - Even traditional food products can be turned into something special with a little extra effort. I've browsed the web and found a list of great printables for you! Even if there are no free downloads, you can always make your own tags with fun easter sentiments.

                    a. Easter Bags (top left) - These great baggies come from More Style Than Cash. I tested  them myself, and the bags print well.                           Though the tutorial teaches you how to build the bag yourself, I'm much too lazy for that nonsense, ha! Instead, I printed                                      directly on a white paper lunch sack... it worked great!            
                    b. Bunny Tails (top right) - I purchased these at my local World Market, but you could easily make a tag at home and attach to a                           bag of mini marshmallows!
                    c. Goldfish Carrot (bottom left) - I made this 'carrot' using a disposable icing bag, Goldfish snack crackers, and some green                                   ribbon. The tag was a download from Sarah Hearts.
                    d. My Favorite "Peep" - Turn a plain box of Peeps into a cute gift. I found this printable tag at Darling Doodles. There are actually                          two printables available. The other says, "Just peeping in to say Happy Easter"
                    e. Some Bunny Loves You - This is my favorite tag! Too cute, and a great sentiment for a deployed soldier. This tag is also from                           Sarah Hearts.

There are lots of cool tags you can use inside your package, even if you make them yourself. Here are a few popular sayings:
                   a. Bunny Bait - Put this tag on your soldier's favorite food
                   b. "Have an egg-celent day"
                   c. "Hoppy Spring!" or "Hoppy Easter!"
                   d. "Some bunny loves you!"
                   e. "You are eggs-tra special to me!"
                   f. "You are some bunny special"
                   g. "I'm egg-cited to wish you Happy Easter"
Goofy? Yes. But also very cute.

6. Easter Dinner - Does your family have a traditional Easter dinner together? I know the Hubs and I do. Often, those family traditions are the ones your spouses miss the most when they're gone. We can't re-create all of them, but luckily you can come close with this one!

Ok, so first things first.... no making fun of my rhyming skills, kay? I did my best.

If you're wondering how to fit Easter dinner in a care box, I'll tell you. Look for canned food, like ham and vegetables. Powdered mashed potatoes only require water and a microwave (please be sure your soldier has access to a microwave before sending). You might even be able to find a complete, microwaveable ham dinner. I added a nukeable mac-n-cheese, and even an appetizer. All beef summer sausage, crackers and cheese... it's weird that some cheese doesn't need a refrigerator, but hey, whatever works!

Be creative with your dessert. I chose Girl Scout cookies. Not only is it the right time of year, but the Girl Scouts have a great program that donates cookies to soldiers overseas. Other choices include Betty Crocker's microwaveable minis, individual fried pies (like Little Debbies), or cake in a jar (which can be made at home).

I know my poem is a little cheesy, but you're welcome to use it for your care package. The handy, dandy printable can be found here.


7. Spiritual Gifts - Let's not forget the reason for this particular holiday. Though everyone doesn't celebrate or believe, a spiritual gift can have deep meaning for a soldier that does. Consider sending a bible with a personal message inside, or a book of devotions. Many churches offer their sermons online or on CD. Copy those and send them (if your soldier has a laptop to view them on). Rosary beads make a great gift for a Catholic believer.

If you'd like something a little different, send them the Jelly Bean Prayer! I've seen this in several places online, but no printables were available.

Naturally, I made one for you. Just click the link (above) to print it out.

8. Fun and Games - I think all care packages should have a little something fun in them. Often, I look for disposable games (things you don't really mind breaking, getting lost, etc). Even a few minutes of entertainment can break up an otherwise dreary day.

For Easter, places like Walmart and Target sell LOTS of these little games (and fairly cheaply too!). I also send goofy bunny ears/masks, word games that are Easter-themed, movies, and... spoons!

Yeah, that sounds weird.

But, depending on the soldier, they may actually use those spoons to have egg relay races (plastic eggs, of course, sent by you). You just never know what mischief those guys will get into! I tend to look for the silly and ridiculous when I'm shopping. What's the worst that will happen? A $1 game may not be used. Oh well then.

9. Photos - I also suggest these for every care package. Your soldier likes to see your face and the faces of your family members. Lots of things can change over the course of a deployment, and photographs help keep him up to date.

Of course, you can make some great Easter-themed photos for your package. Take a picture with all of you wearing bunny ears or eggheads. Use an Easter frame. If you're an all-female family, label your picture as "cute chicks". Or (for my racy pals out there), run with the 'bunny' theme and dress yourself up as one... a Playboy bunny, that is.

Um, if your Hubs gets in trouble for that one, you didn't get it from me!

Whatever you choose, be creative and have fun.

10. Cards and Letters - Also another one of those must haves. Even if you Skype and talk on the phone everyday, include a little note in your care packages. Let your kids make cards. Or, if you're me, buy your cards and write a love letter on the inside. It doesn't matter what you write, it only matters that you took the time to do it.

Ha ha

And so, that concludes the Easter care package post... I really hope you found some good ideas or inspiration here. Feel free to send me your photos and ideas as well! I'll post them (with credit to you included) so we can all share our ideas and help each other.

Happy packing!
An Easter care box, complete! 

Thanks for reading, everyone!
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1 comment:

  1. Aww, very crafty and creative ideas for easter packages! Love them all!

    Cheers xxx