It's easy to get caught up in the holidays and put blinders on until you've got your list finished and your halls decked. Don't.
There are thousands of people who won't make it home for the holidays this year. They're the men and women in the United States military. And they deserve a happy holiday too.
So set aside a spot on your shopping list for some holiday gifts for the troops overseas:
$25 Donation to the USO
That's all it takes to sponsor one care package for a soldier overseas packed up with a personal letter and a box of goodies. The donation is even tax-deductible, and you don't have to try to figure out the pesky postal service rules for mailing to military. They took care of it for you.
Food Box to Operation Support Our Troops
Stephanie Johnson is a mom to two Army captains, and for nine years she's been head of the Sullivan County, New York chapter of Operation Support Our Troops, a national organization originally born at the United States Military Academy at West Point that sends care packages to the troops. Send trail mix, Slim Jims, beef jerky, granola bars/breakfast bars, peanuts, hard candy (individually wrapped), “Chiclets”-type gum, pop-top canned pasta, ready-to-eat tuna pack, microwave popcorn, or drink mix (individual single-serving packets for water bottles) to her home, and she'll get them to a soldier. Her address is 279 Cantrell Road, Monticello, NY 12701, or you can e-mail her about setting up your own chapter: Osot2004@aol.com.
Beanie Babies to Operation Shoebox
Spread the joy of the holidays beyond our borders with a little goodwill for the children living in a war-torn area. New dolls are handed out by the soldiers to kids who could use a little pick-me-up.
iTunes gift cards to Give2theTroops
They're far from home, but they shouldn't be stuck without their tunes (or stuck with that gawd-awful stuff they can't understand). A gift card picked up at any major chain (or purchased online) can be sent for almost nothing to the troops by the group Give2TheTroops.
Your undies to a soldier you know
There's nothing that's going to put a smile on his face like a pair of black lace panties from his honey. Especially if you don't happen to wear those very often (hello motherhood!). One soldier confessed to The Stir that he carried his wife's g-string in his rucksack ... hey, it reminded him of home!
Is there a soldier on your list?