Going through deployments is not an easy task, but there are some ways we found to soften the blow. One of those ways is by keeping each other “close” over the distance with special personalized gifts that remind us of our loved ones.
Below, I share some of these products that have been a blessing to us and hope they are a blessing to your family as well. Stay strong and preserve those memories of each other to pull out in times of struggles.
A lot of these below would make for very special Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthday, and anniversary gifts to send overseas or to the homefront.
Build-A-Bear has always been one of our favorite go-to products during separation. The family experience in store alone provides great quality time, but what we really love is that you can add a Build-A-Sound. This means that Daddy or Mommy can record his/her voice to be played back over and over (even over the phone.) Hearing the voice of a loved one, especially when there is not much communication, can be a huge comfort. It was to my children, husband, and myself. This product is great for everyone.
I have recently discovered some really neat and unique products from Minted. Photo gifts are always a comfort and they have some great ones. We love the State Photo Gifts from Minted’s Art Marketplace. Send a small one to your service member overseas to remind them what they can look forward to when they get home and that they have family back home supporting them. Get one with pictures of your deployed spouse to hang at home so he can “be there” even when he can’t be there.
We also love the personalized wrapping paper. You can add your own text and photos to it. Use this to decorate a flat rate military box from USPS so when your loved one opens the care package he will see his loving family. To fit the paper inside, we had to leave a little area at the bottom of the box and wrap two pieces around on their sides. Cut the pieces and tape down the edges.
Personalized stationery is always great as well. We opted not to do the photo versions because we found one with a love bug. In our family, a love bug means a blown kiss, so when we send the stationery we send it with a kiss knowing that kiss will be blown back to us when received. It’s just one more special comfort we can have while apart.
Keep Them Close With Minted
Since I started selling Usborne Books & More, I found that we have some neat recordable books. Have your loved one read through the book, recording his/her voice, so your child can have a story read every night by their Mom or Dad. Guess How Much I Miss You is my favorite book for this. Learn more here.
Shutterfly has gotten a lot of new products that are very cool. The ones that we love for separation are the blankets, pillows, phone and tablet cases, calendars, desktop plaques, puzzles, journals, photo books, bags, and jewelry.
The blanket that we have holds a picture of my husband with his arms outstretched so that when we wrap up in the blanket it’s like he is giving us a warm hug. The pillows decorate our couch so it is almost as if our loved one is seated beside us. The jewelry (my favorite is the necklace) dangles close to our heart with pictures of the one who is very missed.
Phone and tablet cases come in a few different types and they are definitely something I would love in the future. Give one to the deployed service member so it can remind him that his/her loved ones are just a phone call or message away.
The puzzles are currently a must-have for me. They are 252 pieces so you can almost do one or two pieces a day as a deployment countdown. Print a photo of your deployed service member on them so that by the time the puzzle is complete you will see your loved one in the picture and in person.
They also have a deck of cards which would be fun to send overseas so your loved one can play cards to pass the time as well as candles which you can put around your home.
That’s right. The toy company. One thing that helped my oldest son through time away from his dad was getting letters in the mail just for him. What we would do was, when my husband sent a package or card to me, he would include a little hand-made postcard (that my son colored) with a message just for our son. Instead of just handing it to him out of the package, I would sneak it in his little mailbox and put the flag up. He really loved getting his very own mail. The Melissa & Doug My Own Mailbox is awesome for this and can also be used in practicing writing letters to send. There is even a spot on the side to write a name (or for us, “Air Mail” for the Air Force.)
6. OneDay App
This smartphone/tablet app is really cool. It allows you to record video interviews of your child or loved one with question prompts. You can even send the videos online or post to social media!
Conduct an interview with your child to send to mom or dad using the prompts on the app like “About Daddy” or “About Mommy”, to send a special clip from yourself using “About Your Spouse”, or your spouse can send to your and your children like “For My Love” or “About Your Daughter” or “About Your Son” or “Advice for Your Kids.” I also requested a special prompt for military families during deployments, so hopefully we will see that soon!
Yet another photo gift company with more unique products. I have gotten a couple things from them in the past and there are some really neat new products that would make great gifts during deployments.
Photo clocks are a great way to remember to cherish all the time you have together. The travel alarm clock is perfect because your spouse can wake up to pictures of his/her family each day. The watches are great for the one overseas or to give as a gift to the acting “man of the house” if you have a son who will be given the very important responsibility of taking care of Mommy and siblings while Daddy is away.
They have a dog tag USB flash drive that is a great way to store even more pictures to send to your loved one. They also have a large selection of phone and tablet cases. The body pillow case can also be a comfort with a picture of your loved one to hug and hold.Know someone who could use this? Hit the “share” buttons below! Be sure to follow Arts & Crackers on social media (buttons at the top right of the page.)
You May Also Like
- Deployment Freebies and Resources (HUGE List)
- As We Were, But Even Better
- Pregnancy Freebies for Military Families
- Keep Them Close With Minted
- MetLife TRICARE Dental Program Serving Those Who Serve
- A Build-A-Bear Goes to Afghanistan
-What is your favorite product for deployments or family separation?
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