Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Operation: Christmas

Happy Tuesday!

I am so excited to announce that I will be teaming up with the fabulous Amy from One Artsy Mama for the first annual Operation: Christmas event.

Soo.. what is Operation: Christmas? I'll tell you!

Operation: Christmas is a wonderful way to thank the troops for all of their sacrifices for us and our country by sending them a Christmas card, letter, or care package. I'll give you a little history on why I believe this is so important.

I have always had a love and respect for the US military. Both of my grandfathers served during World War II; one of them was a medic for the US Army and the other was an Air Force fighter pilot. I grew up hearing their stories of courage and honor and skimming through their incredible pictures.

When I was a senior in high school, I became involved with the Soldiers' Angels program. I was assigned a soldier who I mailed letters and care packages to. My soldiers name was Jeremy and he was serving our country in Iraq. I still to this day keep in touch with Jeremy via Facebook--he is newly married and has a beautiful baby boy. I felt a great sense of pride and accomplishment by giving back to somebody who was fighting for the freedom and liberty that we so often take for granted.

Fast forward a couple of years.

I had just started my junior year of college and was living with my friend, Abby. One night, we made plans to have a small get together at our apartment. Abby notified me that one of her best friends, Brandon, was home on his two week leave from Afghanistan and would be coming to the party. I didn't think a whole lot about it and went about my work and school day (in sweats). I went and ran a couple errands that evening before coming home--when I got home, I was greeted by Abby and her very cute friend. And I was in sweats. Ugh. I quickly changed and got ready for the party. Brandon and I hit it off from the start and talked the entire evening. Actually, we stayed up until about three in the morning (after everyone else had left or gone to bed) gabbing about our families, dreams, achievements, etc.

The night we met. Aww, were we ever that young? Side note: why did I ever wear my bangs like that?
It seemed like as soon as we met, he had to head back overseas. We had a really strong connection that we didn't want to lose--so we began calling, texting, emailing, Facebooking and (my favorite) writing letters as often as we could. He'd send me flowers and notes, and I'd send him care packages and pictures. I worried about him every minute of every day and counted down the days until he'd be home (we met at the end of September, he went back at the beginning of October, and wasn't home for good until February).

Only a few of our letters/cards/notes
I so love having all of these letters to look back on--they represent the first four months of our relationship when we were thousands of miles apart (and had a time difference of twelve hours). Brandon has a huge bag full of letters from his time in Afghanistan. Many are from his family and friends, but some are from strangers who just wanted to say 'thank you'. Those are letters that he will always be able to look back at--it's also something our children will one day enjoy.

The months seemed to drag by but Brandon finally came home on February 18, 2011. I surprised him by meeting him at his bus with his family (I had never met his family before but I got in touch with his wonderful mother and she helped me arrange the surprise).

February 18, 2011--My awful bangs and I have never been so happy at 4:30am!
We were finally able to pick up where we'd left off and go on actual dates (versus our Skype dates that we'd so often plan). We made a list of things we wanted to do/places we wanted to visit when he was overseas and one of those places was Disney World. So in December of 2011, we went to Disney World--and this happened!

You can read more about that amazing proposal/nervous vomiting story here

One time, Brandon and I were talking about his time overseas and he'd mentioned how so many soldiers don't receive any letters or care packages. This broke my heart. I feel that all of our armed service members deserve something as small and powerful as a letter just saying 'thank you'. A small gesture like that can have a huge impact on someones life.

Please join in our mission to thank these heroes and wish them a Merry Christmas.

Here's how Operation: Christmas works.

  1. Click here to sign up for this event (sign up ends November 30, 2012)
  2. At the beginning of December, I will email you with the name and address of your soldier.
  3. Send your soldier a card, letter, or care package (mail typically takes one to three weeks to arrive so the sooner you can send your card, the better).
 It's that simple! And you'll be making a huge impact on someones life. 

Amy really is 'one artsy mama' because she made the button for this event! Please grab one to put on your blog to spread the word!

What To Send
Drink mixes (such a lemonade, Crystal Light, etc. for them to mix in their water bottles when they're on the road), non-perishable food items, homemade crafts or gifts, books, magazines, candy, crossword or Sudoku puzzle books, playing cards, chap stick, personal hygiene products (such as shampoo, tooth paste, floss, soap, etc.), stationary, etc. We will be adopting an entire platoon so there will be more specifics in the email.

Note: It is not recommended to send homemade food items.

I used to send Brandon Oreos (he once told me he really missed those overseas), candy, movies, books, pictures, and other miscellaneous items. For a full list of suggested items, check out Adopt A US Soldiers site

This is a great event for the entire family!!

Thank you in advanced for participating. If you have any questions or would like to get you and your blog involved in this event, please let me know via the comments section or on Facebook. 


  1. We have a close connection with a group of soldiers out of Fort Campbell. We lost a dear friend in a helicopter crash last year and have been so blessed with these men and women caring for us during a grieving. Our family sent gifts to his unit that was stationed out of the country. We opted to spend the money we would normally spend on Christmas cards and postage. We were so blessed and we heard from so many of them that this package meant so much to them. Here is a link to a post I wrote about our sweet David. Thank you for caring for those who put themselves in danger for our safety. http://pam-thebestlaidplans.blogspot.com/2012/05/blog-post.html

  2. I am in. We are a military family. My husband is a Commander in the Navy, F-18 pilot and has endured many deployments. The last one being 2009-2010. We would love to do this as a family! It is good for the kids to care for other soldiers as well as their dad. Thanks for doing this.

  3. Hello, I saw your linkup at "My Girlish Whims". If you'd like, check out my blog post about a site similar to what you posted and share it around :)
    Have a nice day!

  4. Very cool, definitely a great cause! Thanks for sharing at The Fun In Functional!

  5. Loved reading your story! You guys look so great together, even if you were wearing sweats! Thanks for linking at Printabelle.

  6. This is the best link to a party I've ever clicked on. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to thank a soldier. I loved reading your story, so cool!

  7. Please sign me up! I was just reading about a books for soldiers program and was going to look to do that, but I'd like to send whatever I can. My email is attached to my name.

  8. I'm going to run this by my girl scout troop and see if they want to participate!

  9. This is such a great way to show your appreciation. We were a military family and so we know what it is like to be separated. I am stopping by from Crafty Moms Share and am a new follower. I would love for you to link this up at the November Family Challenge http://www.trueaimeducation.com/2012/11/the-gift-of-giving-november-family.html

  10. What a great cause, I am sure you are sooo appreciated! Thanks for linking up on Super Sweet Saturday.

  11. Great idea! And cute story ;o)
    Thanks for linking up this week!
    Stacey of Embracing Change

  12. Love this!! I'm going to send this to the Manager at my office, we have an office of about 60 people and I think if even 1/2 of them sign up, that will be great!! Thanks for putting this together! Such a small, easy way to help a soldier overseas. The fact that some of them don't get any letters or care packages makes me really sad.

  13. This is wonderful! Both your story and Operation Christmas.
    I'd love to be a part of this :)
    I can remember all the fun we had making countless packages for my husband during his 15 month tour. I'd love to get involved in this and help make a soldiers Christmas a little bit brighter!

  14. This is such an awesome thing you ladies are doing. Thanks so much for sharing at Thursday's Temptation. Your link got the most views this last weeks so I will be featuring it at tonights link party!

  15. Your story is wonderful and this is a great project. My son finished his second tour in Afghanistan last December. We sent packages to him and his company every week. Thanks so much for sharing at last Wednesday's Adorned From Above Link Party. This weeks party is live. The link to the party is
    Can't wait to see you there.
    Have a great week.
    Debi @ Adorned From Above

  16. Thank you for sharing your story and this is a brilliant idea! I am sharing it tomorrow on Tickled Pink!

  17. I love what you are doing! I featured it on I Freakin' Did it Friday, it's up go check it out!
    P.S. Please turn off your word verification so you can get lots more comments

  18. What a wonderful idea!! I love it!! Thank you so much for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!


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