Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Everyone Deserves a Little Holiday Cheer

I have always been passionate about supporting our soldiers. Without them, we wouldn't have anyone to defend our great nation. And it is even more meaningful that most of them do it voluntary because they want to protect us! They spend many months(some even years)away from family, friends, and the safe comfort of being at home. They also miss out on holidays. While we are all enjoying the warm feelings of family, friends, and food, they are probably in a dangerous situation wishing they could share in the treasures of the holiday season as well. I even was thinking how little things like enjoying Christmas lights throughout my neighboorhood, and just smelling the signature holiday scents are all missing from a soldier's December month. But thankfully we have something called the Postal Service and they do ship overseas! Which is why I see no excuse not to share some holiday joy with our soldiers. Whether it be a little care package of holiday cheer or you could go all out sending them a buffett of holiday goodies, I think it is the least we can do to show that although they will not be in our homes this season, they will be in our hearts.

This is a new idea that came about a couple weeks ago for me. A woman came into a store where my grandma works and was buying up a BUNCH of random things. My grandma looked on curiously and she explained she sends care packages overseas to some soldiers. As I told you in one of my first blogs, my grandma, mom, and I bake tons of goodies all through December to deliver to the less fortunate, friends, and families around our area. So my grandma with her giant heart for giving, got the soldiers' addresses and volunteered us to send cookies to them! When she told me I was more than excited; not only would this change up our routine a little, it would mean baking more cookies(yay!)and being able to give back to these wonderful people who are certainly giving more than we could ask for to us and our country.

If you like this idea and would also want to take part, you can visit and register to be paired up with a soldier to send things to. This doesn't even have to be just for the holidays, you can do it all year long! =) They have a branch on their website called "Angel Bakers" which you could join if you want to specialize in sending baked goodies.

So this left me having to research the best goodies to send and how to package them up the best way possible to keep them fresh and in good shape. Here's what I found:

*Instead of using packing peanuts(which are bad for the environment)why not try using air-popped popcorn? It honestly works and is a fun twist on the boring ol' packing peanuts.

*If your ever unsure if your packing method will hold up for your goodies, shake it a few times; if the packaging holds shape and your cookies are still as they were before, they should ship well.

*You should get a big packing box to ship in, and littler ones to put the wrapped cookies in just to provide some more cushion.

*How to wrap the goodies? I would suggest stacking everything(cookies back to back, wrap bars individually, then stack)first with a layer of plastic wrap, then tinfoil to ensure freshness upon arrival.

*Now to choose which service to ship your package. You may want to visit the websites of USPS,UPS,FedEx,and DHL to compare shipping rates based on the estimated weight of your box/package.

*What goodies are good for sending?

Cakes: Fruit cakes, Pound cake, Spice cake, Carrot Cake(layered cakes do not ship well) Pour-on icing is a good choice also because it keeps things moist.

Candies:Hard candies generally work better than fudges.

Cookies:Generally any cookies that are not crispy, but moist will do well. Try to use eggs, which hold up the cookies better. Some examples to send: Molasses, Rangers, Oatmeal, Sugar, Peanut butter, Nut cookies.

Breads:Any quick breads ship well!

*Also make sure to label the cookies so the soldiers will know what flavors they are. =)

I hope anyone with members in the military have a blessed holiday season and know that those of us back home are sharing the joy with our loved ones overseas.

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