For many people, fall is their favorite season. It’s cool enough to wear a jacket, but not too cold where you have to wear a parka. It’s warm enough to wear a short-sleeved shirt with jeans, but you’re also not frying in the summer heat.
If your loved one is deployed during the fall, he or she will miss out on all the fun activities like hayrides with the kids, pumpkin and apple picking, roasting marshmallows over the bonfire, going for a stroll amidst the falling leaves, and drinking hot apple cider by the fireplace.
But you can still give him or her a taste of fall with a fun themed package that includes at least one of the important elements of the autumnal season!
1.Apples, Pumpkins, and Bonfires
Apples are distinctly a fall item whether you find them in cider or pick them in an orchard. It’s definitely not quite a prominent as pumpkin, but I think nearly everyone uses fall as an excuse to drink delicious apple cider!
If your service member has access to a Keurig machine, you could send him or her apple cider K-cups. One of my former students loved apple cider, and the K-cups she used tasted just like the hot apple cider your mom might make. If your loved one enjoys chips and likes apples, you could also send apple chips.
You could also send apple breakfast bars or an apple bakery item, if you can preserve it. I was just talking to a military family who sent Italian bread to her husband in a vacuum-sealed bag, and she said it worked perfectly. You might be able to do the same thing.
Finally, if your service member is like my fiancé and loves dried fruit, you could send dried apples (or any type of dried fruit for that material). I personally love to make my own dried fruit, so if you’re interested in making your own dried fruit and jerky, consider getting this dehydrator. It could really jazz up your care packages and maybe cut down a little on expenses if you use the dehydrator a lot!
Depending on how cutesy you’re feeling, you could send a little baby pumpkin if you go pumpkin-picking with the kids. Your husband or wife might appreciate getting something small that you (and/or your kids) picked. But it’s also an additional item to have to put somewhere.
You could send pumpkin seeds, if your husband or wife enjoys healthy snacks. And again, you can try sending pumpkin bread in a vacuum-sealed bag or opt for the easier pumpkin cookies.
Finally, if you don’t want to go to the hassle at all of sending pumpkin something, you could send pictures of you going pumpkin picking or of the pumpkins you carved!
Since your husband or wife is gone during the fall, he or she is missing out on bonfires. If your loved one is in a cold area (or in an area that gets cold at night), you could send him or her a nice light fall-ish jacket. You could also send the most important part of bonfires: marshmallows!
Obviously, marshmallows might be harder to send if your service member is in a hot environment like Afghanistan, but in that case, you could send the hot chocolate packets with marshmallows. Then he or she could enjoy both the marshmallows and the hot beverage. You could also send his or her favorite type of tea, coffee packets (check out our product review of Starbucks VIA), or K-cups for tea or coffee.
A lot of people love s’mores, so you could send all the components for s’mores: marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers. Or you could send one of a variety of s’mores flavored items like Little Debbie cakes or breakfast bars. It’s not quite the same as s’mores, but it at least invokes the flavor! Or if you know your wife, fiancée, or girlfriend would enjoy them, send s’mores socks!
If your loved one just really misses the autumnal scents like the smell of falling leaves, you could try an autumn scented candle or room deodorizing spray. There are some great options through Amazon for apple, pumpkin, and pine scents.
If you’re interested in supporting a cause through your autumnal candle or room spray, you should check out Knickers for New Life on Facebook, which sells Asante candles to benefit children in Uganda.
2.Sunday afternoons, Monday nights, and Thursday nights (Yes, football!)
In my family growing up, Sunday afternoons and evenings in the fall were reserved for football. And like many families, we were a divided family: my dad rooted for the Bengals and my mom and sister rooted for the Steelers.
For so many military members, Sundays are for football. Depending on their WiFi situation where they are deployed, they might have some opportunities to watch snippets of games or at least watch the movement of the football.
If your deployed loved one enjoys football, consider sending him or her anything with the team’s logo: jacket (perfect for fall!), scarf, pennant, poster, mug, or jersey. Your service member may also enjoy the football schedule and perhaps even DVD recordings of the games as the season progresses.
You could also opt football food like queso dip and tortilla chips, any type of potato chips, nuts, or jerky. Or perhaps you could include candy or clothing in the colors of your loved one’s team like Reese’s for Browns fans.
Finally, Sports Illustrated is always a great option, and we can’t forget the logical idea: a football! If your service member has downtime when he or she can gather others for a game, a football might be a great option.
3.Costumes, Candy, and Halloween
Halloween isn’t until the end of October, but if you have kids, your service member might be particularly sad to miss out on the trick-or-treating. Obviously, the most apparent choice for Halloween is sending candy, and you know what candy your loved one likes best.
But if you’re looking for new ideas, check out the map of the United States that we included in our Constitution Day themed package post for the most prevalent candy for each state and add the candy for your loved one’s home state or the state you’re currently living in to your package.
There’s also always candy corn and, if you’re feeling really corny—no pun intended, you can wrap a tissue over some tootsie roll pops to make “ghost pops.” And you can include some DVDs of your service member’s favorite scary or horror movies.
What do you plan to put in your fall themed package? Are you going to focus on just one element or include all three? What elements of fall are most important to you and your family?
If you have any great ideas of fall themed items that I missed, just shoot me an email at [email protected] I’ll update the post and give you a shout-out!