5 Picture Presents We’re Ordering for our Holiday Care Packages

top 5 military photo presents for deployment care packages

It’s that time of year again. When the rest of the world starts buying Halloween candy, and we start thinking about what on earth we can put in a Christmas or Hannukah box that might take the bite out of holidays away from home. This year, we’ve been totally impressed by how many awesome and affordable presents we can put together with our Instagram/Phone pictures… and we think they’re too good not to share.

The best photo presents for military care packages

Clockwise from left, we have the Cubee, a fabulous little portable light made from your Instagram photos. For $30, you’ll get this tiny little (and adorable!) light that measures 3″x3″x3″. In other words, it’s perfect for deployments – tiny to pack to send home, and cheap enough that no one (read: you) will cry if it doesn’t. Plus, it’s pretty perfect for providing just enough light to re-read all your love letters at night. (We’re sappy. What can we say.)

Top 5 picture gifts for military deployment care packages

The Cubee

If your love is short on space, these old-school photostrips by Social Print Studio make an awesome present. Not only could they decorate walls, but they’d fold up pretty well for a cover or helmet. (We think about that kind of thing too.) You can get 9 strips for $10.

Top 5 military deployment care package photo gifts

Photostrips from Social Print Studio

We’re also total suckers for photo albums, and Chatbooks are the perfect deployment-friendly option: For a whopping $6, you get 60 pages of photo book. For that, you could basically make one a month of everything that’s happening at home. Plus, if they don’t make it home, again: six dollars. The quality isn’t as good as you’d get from Artifact Uprising, but in terms of bang for your buck, they’ll make your servicemember’s day the minute he opens the box.

Chatbooks are a great option if you want to send a photo album

Chatbooks are a great option if you want to send a photo album

If your service member gets to spend most every night in the same place, you might want to consider making a photo blanket to send! They come in quilts like the one below or you can also get a (much cheaper) fleece option. We’re pretty sure this is the closest thing to snuggling up with the family when you’re on the other side of the world. The Novogratz (a family of uber-cool designers who also recently launched a colab with Walmart) have teamed up with Shutterfly for this one, which is happiness personified. But the look on your spouse’s face when he or she opens a box to find his favorite faces staring back at him? Happiness personified times ten. Prices range from $54-$159 (sigh).

A gorgeous photo quilt from Shutterfly, which has lots of different photo blanket options

A gorgeous photo quilt from Shutterfly, which has lots of different photo blanket options

Our last pick is perfect if your sweetie has a sweet tooth: Your pictures printed onto actual chocolate bars. We really can’t get over this enough. It’s like the shippable face cake! (Face cake!) Cocoagraph chocolates start at $14 and you can add in all sorts of awesome: dried strawberries, coffee bean crumble, sea salt, salted almonds… and you can choose from basically every kind of chocolate you can think of.

Top 5 photo gifts for military presents or deployment care packages

Cocoagraph. Your pictures on chocolate. Not on the wrapper. ON THE CHOCOLATE.


What about you? Are you doing any picture presents this year? Is there anything you’re already plotting for a holiday care package? 

About the Author

Raleigh Duttweiler
Raleigh Duttweiler is a writer and social media expert living just outside the gates of MacDill in sunny Saint Petersburg, Florida. A Marine Corps wife, she has navigated the stress of Active Duty moves, trainings, and deployments, and now that her family has transitioned to the Reserves, she's experiencing the "weekend warrior" side of military life. (NB: It's not quite as part-time as advertised.) When not writing about benefits and military families, Raleigh posts here about truly life-altering, important issues like What Not to Wear to a Military Ball (visible thongs), Military Halloween Costumes We Love to Hate (ones that generally resemble both military uniforms AND thongs), and how to pack awesome care packages. She is passionate about spouse employment, higher education, and helping families navigate the often-bumpy transition back into civilian life. Raleigh also manages the SpouseBUZZ and Military.com Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest pages, so be sure to say hi!