Coping with Military Deployment on Valentine’s Day: 7 Gift Ideas
We know a lot of our StorageFront users are in the military, and we also know that Valentine’s Day is just a couple weeks away. No holiday is fun when you’re away from your loved ones, but Valentine’s Day can be especially tough on couples who aren't able to spend the day together. With all the rules and restrictions in the military, it can be difficult to know exactly what to send to your valentine deployed overseas. Fortunately, there are a lot of great ideas for long-distance Valentine’s gifts.
What to SendThe best guideline available is to be creative. Do something that will have resonance in your specific relationship. Connect this gift to previous gifts and experiences. Sometimes the smallest gestures have the biggest impact. Some popular ideas include:
- Write a letter. Letters are always a great way to communicate with your spouse overseas. If you already write letters with some regularity, do something to make this one standout. Write one a day for the two weeks of February leading up to Valentine’s Day. Or print it on paper and ink designed to look old and distinguished.
- Send an audio letter. Instead of simply writing a letter, dictate one to a recorder and send the tape or disc to your loved one. Hearing your voice might be the gift they want more than anything.
- Make a picture collage. Your loved one no doubt wants to see your face again. Make a picture collage to celebrate your time spent together or to show what’s waiting for him or her back home.
- Make something with the kids. If you have kids, take an afternoon and make something fun to send overseas. A long-distance hug is almost as good as the real thing. You can also paint or draw a picture – or even an entire little book! The options are limited only by the attention span of the children involved.
- Candy. Indulge your significant other’s sweet tooth a little, but be sure to send something that won’t melt. Conversation hearts are perfect, as are any other small hard candy, but try to avoid chocolate.
- Give “open when” cards beforehand. If your military valentine hasn't left yet, write a series of “open when” cards for him or her to open at specific times. This will ensure the letters reach their destination, and the sight of the soon-to-be-opened letters might provide some much-needed comfort.
- Send stuff he or she will need. If nothing else, you can at least send things that will come in handy on base or out in the field. From clean sheets to sunglasses, there are plenty of things that your military valentine will be happy to see in your care package.
What Not to SendWhile the number of Valentine’s Day gifts to send overseas is virtually limitless, there are still some to avoid. Most food, for instance, will either melt or spoil before it reaches your spouse. Keep in mind the location where your valentine is stationed. Do they prohibit certain foods or entertainment? There are also a number of items you might not realize most bases are already well stocked with:
- Cookies and other snack foods
- Small electrical appliances
- CDs, DVDs, and magazines
What to Do on Valentine’s DayOnce you've sent your gift, you might then wonder how to actually spend the day. Chances are your spouse or significant other will be busy or without the technology for a virtual meet-up. If he or she finds the time, however, the two of you could plan to watch a movie at the same time to help make the distance feel a little smaller.
It’s easy to get down in the dumps about not seeing your valentine, so make plans to occupy your time and mind. Find other military spouses in the area and meet up. Spend time outside in the sun or, if you prefer, relaxing at a spa. Even an evening watching television at home can be good if you’re in the right frame of mind.