12 Days of Service

I’ll never forget the Christmas my brother in-law Joe was serving in Iraq. The entire holiday season felt off because we were all so worried about his safety on the other side of the world. We built care packages for him and included items for him to share with the members of his unit. We wanted to be sure if anyone was missing letters and packages from home there was enough for Joe to share. Thankfully, he was only gone for the one Christmas and returned home safely shortly after.

During his time on active duty I helped host a collection drive and assembled shoe boxes of supplies to send to our soldiers. Since then I have remembered to send letters and cards at Christmas. This year, I have found a great organization that makes it really easy for parents and kids to give back to members of the military: Operation Gratitude.


There are several ways you can share your support through Operation Gratitude. One of the easiest and least expensive ways is to assemble a care kit. This small kit of personal care items is included in care packages shipped to 150,000+ deployed Troops, Recruits, Veterans and Wounded Warriors. These kits are a valued contribution to the packages. Most requested items include: Lip Balm, Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Roll-on Deodorant, Razors, Individual packets of moist towelettes, Hand/Foot Warmers, Foot powder (travel size).

You and your kids can shop for and fill one bag, or invite friends to donate items and have a stuffing party. Fill a gallon sized Zip Lock bag, or a clear toiletry travel kit with your care items. (All of which can be found at your local dollar store). Be sure to include a personal letter, or card for the recipient.

write a letter

If you are unable to assemble kits because of the cost, or maybe you just have really little ones and it’s hard to get everyone out of the house, write a letter! Your words of encouragement and gratitude will go a long way. Yes, even the scribbles and stickers from a small child will help brighten someone’s day!

Sharing in this simple activity is a great reminder for children how important it is to lend our support and say thank you to our military. It helps instill gratitude for those who are serving to keep us safe.

Related posts:

One The First Day of Service Host a Food Drive

On The Second Day of Service Host a Coat Drive

On The Third Day of Service Make a Special Delivery

On The Fourth Day of Service Send Some Cheer

On The Fifth Day of Service Give Some Swag

On The Sixth Day of Service Rise Together

On the Seventh Day of Service Make a Furry Friend


The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy



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24 Comments on On The Eighth Day of Service Express Your Gratitude

  1. I love Operation Gratitude. When I lived out in LA I volunteered for one of their box packing days. I also hosted a party with my friends and we all wrote cards for the service men and women. I should do that again …

    • It’s a great way to connect! I was fortunate that there was a military mom in my group who helped us out. She was so grateful to give back since her son came home safe. She was a great help!

  2. You always have such worthy causes on here, but I think this is the best so far. War is never easy, for the soldier or the family left behind, and it’s felt all that more on holidays.

    • You’re right! It isn’t just the soldiers making a sacrifice. It’s the families too! They have to miss a holiday, or months of their lives without their loved ones!

  3. Wow! This is a really great option for gift giving. I know so many would be so happy to receive these. I’m so glad a program like this exists. Most of my family is in the airforce. It can be difficult to be away from those you love during the holidays.

    • I am not a fan of war myself. But, I can definitely appreciate someone else volunteering to put their life on the line for my safety! I am forever grateful to those who have lost life and limb so I can sleep in my safe, warm bed at night. 🙂

  4. Wow I can’t imagine having my brother gone for Christmas, nevertheless doing something so amazing and serving to our country. That is such an incredible way to give back. Glad he is home safely now!

  5. I love this series that you are running! So many great ideas. I love the work of Operation Gratitude. It is the organization that I sent our excess HAlloween candy to.

  6. Such an amazing thing that you are doing and what a great organization. It is so important to give back to those that are putting their lives in danger for our freedom. Thank your brother in law for his service on behalf of myself and my family. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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