If you and your Marine have made it through his or her first PCS (Permanent Change of Station), maybe  you’re looking for ways to celebrate without breaking the bank account.  One way to send a little love is by putting together a care package, regardless of where your Marine is stationed.  While usually associated with deployments, care packages can offer a little taste of home while your Marine makes the transition to on-base living.  Close out of that Pinterest tab and follow along for instructions on sending a care package that is more than pin worthy.

  1. Find out what you’re allowed to send. In boot camp, care packages are generally frowned upon, so it’s best to wait until your Marine is in career training or receives his or her assignment to send one.  Still, there may be certain restrictions on what you can send, like snacks or glitter.   If you’re unsure, it’s probably best to leave it out.
  2. So what should I send? Gift cards, instant coffee (if allowed), photos, or clothes are usually great options.  Just because example care packages are chock full of food and fun gadgets doesn’t mean that’s what you need to send.  To combat home sickness, include something from one of his or her favorite shops, like a T-shirt from a business back home. Tip: Pinterest is not the best resource for care packages. The posts are often different military spouses trying to outdo one another, and your Marine will appreciate the practical gifts.
  3. Pick a theme. This is one way to have fun with your packaging, especially if you can’t send very much.  You can decorate the inside of the box with construction paper and wording.  A summer box might be yellow inside and say “fun in the sun.” Keep in mind instructors often inspect mail sent to base with themed boxes, however.
  4. Buy themed gifts.  If you’re sending a package that is not going to be heavily inspected, you can buy candy or snacks in the same color. Or decorate the packages yourself.  A small can, such as tuna can be a rabbit face or a round sun with a little imagination and colored paper.  Dollar stores are one of the best places to find fun little knick knacks to include in your package – and at low prices.
  5. For the finishing touch, include something handwritten. Whether it’s a love note, a card, or a long letter, place it in an envelope and include it in the package.  It will add something more personal to the box and brighten your Marine’s day.

About the author: Kelsey Ghering received a B.A. in English from Gannon University in Erie, Pa and works as a freelance contributor.  She is engaged to a Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune.