Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Box in Time for Boxing Day!

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were so wonderful! I hope that you enjoyed them, surrounded by family and delicious food, too! 

Now, as I struggle to stay awake on Christmas Day night while I wait for John to hop online, I'm finally able to publish a post about the Christmas Eve care package I sent him! 

John will be home on leave soon. (What an exciting sentence to type!) Instead of  Christmas box with Christmas presents, I opted to send items John could open Christmas Eve-- a stocking and cute stocking stuffers. This way, he was able to celebrate and we still were able to keep Christmas for ourselves when he's home on leave.

Almost a year ago today, John and I were sitting in my parents' family room when he told me he was most definitely being deployed to Afghanistan. There are no words to adequately describe those moments, except to say that that conversation is one I never want to have again.
But there was a silver lining in the timing of the announcement. After-Christmas sales. For the next month, I combed over Christmas sales and was able to grab a few things at 90%-off sales, including a stocking and a cookie plate and cup. (Yes, I did, in fact, start planning care packages a year in advance. I have issues.)

The basic theme of the stocking stuffers? Foods that Make John's Life Less Boring. John is the first person to say that he is thankful for the food he eats at the DFAC; still, it can become monotonous to always eat at a cafeteria (and eat the same basic foods) day after day.
The solution? Trader Joe's!

Trader Joe's is one of my favorite places to shop-- especially for slightly off-the-beaten-path items-- and it was perfect for a shopping spree for John's care package! I thought  including alternate salad toppings (like crab meat, clams, tapanade, salsa verde, and bruschetta) and fun surprises (fig butter, cookie butter, and the coolest thing ever-- a combination sugar, chocolate, and coffee bean grinder that I imagine John will use on everything from coffee to oatmeal) would make things a little less boring. As for non-edibles, John got sudoku puzzles, stationary, new flannel PJs, and a DVD of A Christmas Story.

I wrapped the outside of the box with Christmas wrapping paper, tied a bow, and then covered the entire thing in packing tape (and I blogged about it here). 

It's not the most creative package in the world, I admit. To be quite honest, I couldn't muster the energy, emotional capital, or time to come up with a spectacularly creative Christmas box and meet the USPS' delivery cut-off dates for APO/FPOs. The Advent box was the height of my creativity for the season. I'd like to think that despite it's ordinariness, it brought a little bit of home and Christmas cheer to Afghanistan.


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