Holiday Challenge – Time to be Mailing!
November 16, 2008 · Filed Under Care Packages, Mamaw, Military Parents, National Guard Parents, Parents News, This & That
I was at the Dollar Store today looking for some Holiday decorations to send to my son overseas because this is the very first Christmas that he won’t be here at home. I started to think of all the other Christmases when he was little and how I always bought each one of my boys an ornament with the year on it that represented what their major interest was that particular year. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, the Baby’s First Christmas 1981, a Football hero, 1994, etc. But there was always one for each year for each one of the boys. I always bought them at the local Hallmark store and couldn’t wait for them to put it on the tree which was hard for me to do, the waiting that is, because I’m an early Holiday shopper. So, while at the “D” store I put some items in the cart to send over to him because he more then likely won’t be home this year and that’s when it hit me. They had Christmas music playing and the song “I’ll be home for Christmas” was serenly wafting over the shoppers and I actually realized that I wouldn’t see him….at all….for the first time, in 26 years. I had to blink a few times and swallow my tears because well, quite frankly, I can’t read labels without my glasses anyway and people always look at you strangely when you cry in the store because they don’t know what is wrong with you.
So, not wanting to make a spectacle of myself I concentrated on trying to read the labels of some peanut snacks and then figured the hell with it, threw them into the cart and kept on going. (After I got home I realized the labels were in Spanish!) So I was shopping for home and shopping for him, trying to find what I could for him that would remind him of home while he is there in the sand. Then I found the black beanie caps and bought six of those because I figured he would have a few buddies who could use a new beanie cap at Christmas. I know, I know, it’s like getting underwear for a present which is a no-no in our house, but that is all that they had at that particular store.
I also purchased some sparkly blue snowflake ornaments, some candy, a summer sausage and crackers to send over. That’s when I spotted the Christmas stockings. Hmmm, I thought, it would be great to get one for each of the guys in the platoon, but I can’t afford 20 much less 150 of those by myself and fill them up with goodies too for the ones with him who have no one to send them anything. That’s when I thought it would be a great challenge to see how many people I could get (entice? challenge? badger?) to go out and buy a Christmas stocking for a soldier and fill it with things like socks which are a true necessity now, or a black stocking cap, candy, cards, crakers, cookies, whatever!
When my boys were younger, we would always go to the local mall and each one of them would find a name on the tree of a child their age in need, and I would pick a mom and we would set out to find them something for their Christmas. We would take our time and pick the “perfect present” and then take it back to be placed under that huge tree and then we would go have lunch knowing that we had done something for someone we didn’t know but cared enough about to send them a little happiness.
After the “D” store today, my next trip was to Wally World (Wal-Mart) to see how the prices and selection were there, and lo and behold, they have a ton of stuff for $1.00 that would fit perfectly in a stocking, and they have ornaments with the year on them as well. I was truly a happy camper! So, even though I will be baking cookies again for them, I will be sending a couple of stockings too. My thought is, how about others? Do you think we are all up for a little challenge? Let’s see what we can do for those who are unable to be home with their loved ones this year. Especially the single soldiers. Let’s send a little bit of home, a little bit of happiness for them to share. I would love to know if you are able to do this, I think it would be a great way to start out the Holiday season. Even if you don’t know their name, if you know someone, anyone, who is serving away from home, send them two, three or four stockings (get your family, friends, work involved) and send them to your loved one with instructions to pass them along to others. I know that Soldier’s Angels also has items that can be purchased and you can adopt a soldier through them too.
And while we’re at it, maybe we could all contact the Red Cross and set up a date to donate the gift of life as well. We have set up the 18th thru the 22nd in our area, in honor of a soldier we received word about who was injured in October. It is our way of giving back, maybe the only way we have right now.