Give Back: Family Christmas Project: Holiday Mail For Heroes

Property of Coco Cana & My Tales From The Crib - 2013
This weekend my family and I took some time to make out some Christmas cards. The kids colored and painted them with watercolors and added colorful Christmas stickers (and my lil guy insisted on putting some of his Disney Planes stickers too), we wrote long, hand written messages and included a beautiful quote about bravery and courage. This isn't too far from the norm during this time time of year when our Christmas cards get written, only this time we weren't including little tidbits about the kids and how we spent our year and there wasn't a family photo of us at Disneyland or riding our longboard at the beach. Actually, we don't even know the people we are sending them to. We were writing letters to active duty service women and men serving in the US Military during Christmastime for the Red Cross Holiday Mail For Heroes project.

We've had many military men in our family from our grandfathers on both sides of my husband's and my family who fought in WWII to uncles and my father-in-law who fought and served during the Vietnam War and cousins and my brother who served in various branches of the military protecting this great country of ours. In the late 90's my brother was in the Military Police - K9 division and he and his trusty bomb sniffing dog, Tanja would work alongside secret service helping to protect then President Bill Clinton, Senator Hillary Clinton (then First Lady) and then Vice President Al Gore who were speaking or visiting in a particular area. 

We consider ourselves to be a pretty red, white and blue loving, patriotic family and love the beautiful USA so writing Christmas cards to women and men serving our country and helping to protect our freedom was a perfect thing to do as a family, especially since they are away from their families, friends and loved ones at Christmas. I found some silly cards from Trader Joe's I bought last year in one of the Christmas boxes we had gotten down to decorate our tree. (We were really on top of it this year and decorated everything the weekend of Thanksgiving!) I had 6 cards left so I decided to write out 6 in order to get them mailed off today so it will make the Dec. 6th deadline. 

My husband and I figured it would be fun to get a silly card and a picture the kids made for them. I found a beautiful quote by Alexander Hamilton on bravery and wanted to include that as well. I considered typing everything up and pasting it into the card since I do not have the best handwriting, but I wrote them by hand instead. I think it will mean more that way. My husband actually has very beautiful handwriting so I will get him to write some out next year. This time he was helping me by entertaining the kids with hanging Christmas lights and decorations around the house. Our goal is to double our card load next year. I'll be sure to stock up on cards during the after Christmas sales and will get an earlier start. 

You still have time to send out your own cards. They need them in their P.O. Box by Dec 6th. So if you send it today it will probably get there. It only takes one card to make a difference and brighten someone's day!  Here are some specific guidelines from the Red Cross website that they would like you to please follow:

Card Guidelines:

Every card received will be screened for hazardous materials and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working around the country.
Please observe the following guidelines to ensure a quick reviewing process:

  • Ensure that all cards are signed.
  • Use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.” Cards addressed to specific individuals can not be delivered through this program.
  • Only cards are being accepted. Do not send or include letters.
  • Do not include email or home addresses on the cards: the program is not meant to foster pen pal relationships.
  • Do not include inserts of any kind, including photos: these items will be removed during the reviewing process.
  • Please refrain from choosing cards with glitter or using loose glitter as it can aggravate health issues of ill and injured warriors.
  • If you are mailing a large quantity of cards, please bundle them and place them in large mailing envelopes or flat rate postal shipping boxes. Each card does not need its own envelope, as envelopes will be removed from all cards before distribution.

All holiday greetings should be addressed and sent to:

Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

The deadline for having cards to the P.O. Box is December 6th.
Holiday cards received after this date cannot be guaranteed delivery.

 These are the cards we made for them this year. 

Property of Coco Cana & My Tales From The Crib - 2013

Property of Coco Cana & My Tales From The Crib - 2013

Property of Coco Cana & My Tales From The Crib - 2013

Property of Coco Cana & My Tales From The Crib - 2013
This one is my favorite. 

Property of Coco Cana & My Tales From The Crib - 2013
This is what we wrote on all of our cards this year. 

Property of Coco Cana & My Tales From The Crib - 2013
This was the bravery quote we chose this year.

Property of Coco Cana & My Tales From The Crib - 2013
The cards get removed from the envelopes so I stuffed each envelope with 2 cards and didn't decorate them with stickers, etc. like we would usually do. Next year when we send more I'll just put them all into one puffy mailer without any envelopes to make it more efficient. 

Property of Coco Cana & My Tales From The Crib - 2013
This is the masterpiece colored by my lil guy who is 3 years old. And of course the Disney Planes movie stickers he wanted to add. 

Property of Coco Cana & My Tales From The Crib - 2013
This was one of the watercolor masterpieces my 5 1/2 year old made. She is really into black cats right now. I think it's a hold-over from Halloween. I normally give her free reign with her artwork, but for the sake of this being a cheery Christmas card I was "strongly encouraging her" to add a little color to lighten the mood!  haha!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you!  May you have fun spreading some love, joy and Happy Holiday wishes to people around the world who could use a little extra love.  We are all so fortunate and have so much and it doesn't take much to give to others. Sometimes (like these cards) all it costs is a little of your time. I hope this inspires you to Give Back this year. Please let us know what you did as a family in our comments section!

Here are some more ideas to inspire you! 

Peace, Love & Light

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