It’s been years in coming but this year I did not buy my parents (or my grandparents) Christmas presents. My parents have become notoriously hard to buy for. People always give me nasty looks when I say I’m not buying them anything so for years I’ve tried. Movie gift certificates, vodka, fuzzy slippers. The problem for me is they just don’t care about getting presents. They’ve done well in life and have money to buy the things they want when they want them, they don’t need to wait for Christmas to roll around.
My mom finally just came out and said it this year “Don’t buy us anything” followed by “I’m serious”. She explained that she never could understand why my grandma always gave her the same lecture. Trying to explain that there was just nothing she wanted or needed so don’t waste your money buying her anything. I hope to one day reach that point in my life, where I feel there is nothing more I need.
Unfortunately, this makes for a boring Christmas day gift exchange.
She made this declaration on Thanksgiving and it wasn’t long after I found the website http://www.anysoldier.com. So this year, I took the money I had set aside for buying my parents and grandparents Christmas presents and I went and bought items that are commonly requested by troops on the website. Soaps, Hand Sanitizer, Boardgames, Playing Cards, Shaving Cream, Novels etc etc. I made three gift packages one in honor of each of my parents and one in honor of my grandparents. And I mailed each one to a different post in Iraq that had requested packages for troops that weren’t getting mail. I’m going to give my parents and grandparents cards on Christmas day with the request letter from the troop, the list of the items in the package I sent and a copy of the letter I put in the package letting them know my family appreciates their contribution and sacrifice. I think my parents will finally be happy with their gift for once!
Just about every generation of my family has served in the military (not always by choice) All the way from the civil war up through the Iraq war. My father was drafted into Vietnam just before marrying my mother, and my grandfather met my Grandmother while on leave serving in WW2, so I thought this was a gift they could all appreciate.
You may or may not know that at one point in time it was legal to send packages and address them to “Any Soldier” and it would just be handed to a random soldier. This is the first war you can’t do that, because of safety concerns. The Anysoldier.com website is really a neat idea. They have troops register themselves as distributors, so you send the package to a specific person and underneath write “Attn: Any Soldier” or “Any Female Soldier” then the distributor in turn gives the package to someone at their post who hasn’t been recieving mail.