Thursday, November 03, 2005

If Only in My Dreams

One of the definite drawbacks of a deployment is missing out on the holidays with your sweetie. Last year was Gene's first Christmas away from home - and it was mighty depressing for him. Granted, it was only OUR first Christmas as a couple - but it still felt a little depressing to know that I wouldn't be snuggling near any yule-log with my soldier.

As soon as the Christmas crap went on sale at the local Walmart, I was down there picking out various holdiday-related things for Gene's care package. My roommates and I made a day of it... Christmas in November. We bought non-perishable gingerbread cookies and candy canes - which we wrapped individually with long strips of holiday paper. (My sister thought it would be a riot.) I bought him a little foot-tall fold-out christmas tree, with a little garland of battery-operated christmas lights -complete with batteries, and little cheap ornaments, so he could trim his own tree while in Iraq.

A problem with trying to bring Christmas cheer to a deployed soldier is that an innocent act of goodwill might backfire and depress him. To counter this risk, rather than sending him the traditional CD of sappy christmas songs - I sent him a gag mix of parodies and comedy tunes. (Tunes that made the list included "Chipmunks roasting on an open fire" and "Mr. Hanky the Christmas poo".)

Hey - anything to make him smile.

We took pictures of the entire packing process, and included print-outs in the package.

To make the silliness of the package even more evident, I printed out a colorful instructions as to how to enjoy his "Christmas in a Box!"

I shipped the package about a week and a half beforeThanksgiving, and it got there ON Thanksgiving day. It worked out perfectly - that Gene would be able to trim his tree on Thanksgiving, like so many other families do. Granted, shipping packages to Iraq can takw anywhere from a week to a month - so it is best to plan these things in advance.

In gratitude, my soldier came online Christmas Day (Granted, it was still Christmas Eve where I was...) and showed me on his webcam, the tree that he and his roomates had trimmed: With various shrapnel hanging from its branches, and mortar fins resting beneath them. Now THAT'S a soldier's X-mas tree.

This year things are gonna be different for Gene and I this Holiday season. Since he is stateside, he will be coming home on block leave for Christmas, Hannukah AND New Year's!!! I am looking forward to forcing that boy into lighting the menorah with me, as I am sure he is excited about me helping his mom with Christmas dinner.