Month: June 2020

Salute to America! Fourth of July Party Ideas with Social Distancing Measures

Get Your Holiday Snacks with a Military Care Package from My Hero Crate

This year’s Independence Day celebrations will look very different from what we’ve become accustomed to over the years. With social distancing guidelines in place all over the United States, people are still working to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, while celebrating the birth of our country.

It’s possible to throw a Fourth of July party and stay safe at the same time. At My Hero Crate, we’ve compiled ideas for celebrating July Fourth in special ways to prevent the spread of germs while still spending quality time with the ones you love, including your favorite soldier!

Serve Individual Meals and Snacks

It sounds extreme, but purchasing snacks in individually wrapped packages can help slow the spread of disease. When snacks come in their own bags or wrappers, no one is diving in, fingers-first, to hand-pick chips, nuts, or candy from a big bowl, and no one can cough directly into a serving vessel, either.

If your goal is to stay healthy, we recommend serving plated meals over buffet-style family dining, and setting up a snack table with individually-wrapped snacks. Include a couple bottles of hand sanitizer, and spread out the lawn chairs, and you’ll have a socially-distant good time! Stock up on your favorite individually-wrapped snacks with a military snack box from My Hero Crate.

Stay Outdoors

The fresh air outdoors can help decrease the likelihood of disease transmission, rather than sitting indoors where air recirculates through the HVAC system. When your partygoers stay outdoors, the summer breeze can carry away airborne droplets. Of course, it isn’t fool-proof, so sitting separately, not sharing drinks or utensils, and practicing good hygiene are a must. Thankfully, a classic American barbecue is hosted outside, and that’s the perfect party theme for the Fourth of July!

Plan Your Own Fireworks Show

If it’s legal to purchase fireworks where you live, consider having your own family fireworks show instead of attending a public one in the park. Have a bucket of water handy for dousing any stray sparks, and practice good fireworks safety by admiring lit fireworks from afar and never aiming them at a building, pet, or person. Older children can enjoy lighting smoke bombs, popping snaps, pulling confetti poppers, or waving sparklers at night, with adult supervision.

Watch Fireworks on TV

If fireworks are not legal to set off where you live, and your local fireworks display has been canceled this year, consider watching fireworks on television with your household instead. While it’s not the same as sitting outdoors, as the smoke wafts through the sky, it can be just as amazing to watch! Turn off all the lights, open the windows for an outdoor feel, and stream a fireworks show on your TV after enjoying a special meal together and serving delicious snacks. (Order a big stash of snacks with a care package from My Hero Crate!)

Video Conference Your Family

If you’re away from home, schedule a time to video conference your family, either on your cell phone or other device. Time it right to sit down to a meal together (you can even prepare the same thing), then watch fireworks through your screens as you ooh and ahh at the beautiful colors in the sky. Video conferences are also a great way to include family members who cannot gather at your house in person for their own health reasons. Harness the power of technology to make your holiday special.

Avoid Fireworks Altogether and Choose Another Fun Activity Instead

If the sounds of fireworks create more stress and discomfort than entertainment in your household, consider opting out of fireworks altogether. For some combat veterans, fireworks bring up traumatic moments in their military careers. While it’s important to find ways of managing PTSD symptoms, sometimes it’s better to avoid those feelings and memories altogether. Watch a movie as a family instead, try out virtual reality video games, or host a board game night. With music playing in the background, and treats to snack on, you can create a festive, patriotic spirit even without fireworks!

Build your holiday snack supply by ordering a military snack box from My Hero Crate. Our boxes are full of a variety of treats from American suppliers, and ordering one will save you time making a shopping list and searching for each item at the grocery store. You can even send one to your soldier, anywhere in the world, including overseas, with free standard shipping. Shop now.

Fun Games to Play via the Mail

Add an Element of Fun to your Letters

If your favorite member of the military is deployed overseas or away at basic combat training, your interactions are limited to short phone calls and heartfelt letters sent in the mail. It’s sometimes hard to come up with motivating and inspiring words to share in your notes when you’re missing your soldier or soldier-in-training and wish they were back home with you.

The fact is, no matter what you say in your letters, no matter how mundane the topic of conversation is, your soldier treasures your handwritten mail because it’s a connection to you — a fiancée, parent, sibling, or dear friend.

Liven up your weekly letters by adding a quick, paper-based game on a sticky note or index card. Play your first turn, and mail it to your soldier. They’ll play their turn, and send it back to you with their next letter, continuing until the game is complete. Here are a few games you can play via the United States Postal Service!

Tic Tac Toe

This classic game doesn’t need explaining; everyone knows how to play! Draw up your nine-sectioned game board, and decide who will be Xs and who will be Os — and write it on your note so no one forgets! Who will win this game of strategy? You’ll soon find out!

Dots and Boxes

For a longer-term pencil-and-paper game, draw up an empty grid of dots in the desired size. Take turns adding a single horizontal or vertical line between two unjoined, adjacent dots — no diagonals allowed! The player who completes the fourth side of a box earns a point and writes their initial inside the box before taking another turn. The game is over when every box is claimed. The person with the most completed boxes wins.


Come up with a word or short phrase, but keep it a secret! Instead, draw lines with spaces between to represent each letter. Your loved one can take guesses as to which letters fit into the words, Wheel of Fortune style, without the spinning! If they get a letter right, write it into the space. If the letter is wrong, add a component to a hangman drawing. If you don’t like the idea of drawing a hangman, your drawing can be anything — a dog, cat, boat, car, or anything else you prefer, to keep the game light.


Draw several dots in a random pattern on your sheet of paper. We recommend starting with four or five, but you can play with as few as two. Each player will take turns drawing a line between two dots (or a dot back to itself) and adding a new spot somewhere along the line. The lines can be straight or curved, but can never touch or cross a line. The new dot a player adds cannot be placed on an existing endpoint, and no spot can have more than three lines attached to it. The game is over when a player is the last to draw a line that follows these rules. Like Dots and Boxes, this game is rooted in mathematical strategy!

Gifts for Military Members

When basic combat training is over, or if you’re looking for something more special than a pencil-and-paper game board to send your loved one overseas or stationed on base away from home, My Hero Crate builds and sends military care packages for your heroes!

Each My Hero Crate contains an assortment of military-approved snacks and treats, all sourced from American suppliers. Choose from our specialty military care packages, including gift boxes for soldiers with special diet requirements, or purchase a monthly snack box subscription so your hero gets an Army care package twelve times a year — or whichever branch of military your loved one serves in!

Gift Ideas for Military Dads

Father’s Day Gifts for Heroes

For military families, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are sometimes two of the most heart-wrenching holidays, especially when you have to spend it away from your loved one. When you do get to spend the holiday together, it’s even more meaningful.

Regardless of the miles that separate you from your dad or husband in the military this year, give a special gift to show your love and gratitude for all the things they do every day. My Hero Crate has assembled gift ideas for dads near and far, with a military twist.

Father’s Day Gifts for Veterans

For a veteran dad, consider giving armed forces memorabilia as a special Father’s Day gift. Pennants, shirts, baseball caps, and even replica statues of military or historical figures they look up to can make heartfelt gifts. A license plate frame with their branch of the military on it would look great on your dad’s civilian car, too.

A Special Night Out

Give your dad a special night out for Father’s Day. Take him out to dinner at his favorite restaurant, and then treat him to dessert. Head home to watch one of his favorite movies, or play his favorite board or card game with him. Have a real conversation with him, with cell phones put away. Quality time spent together is one of the best gifts you can give.

Handmade Father’s Day Gifts

Handmade gifts take time to make, and creators put a lot of love into them. Try your hand at a new craft or hobby to create a special present for your dad this Father’s Day. Consider screenprinting a special t-shirt, assembling a family scrapbook, painting a coffee mug, or some other artistic endeavor. Dad will know you poured your heart into his gift and will treasure that forever.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas for Deployed Soldiers

If your dad is currently deployed, it can be hard to ship gifts to him at his overseas military address. Deployed soldiers don’t often have a lot of room for storing special possessions, either, so what you send needs to fit into his space and be military-approved, depending on where he’s stationed. For your dad, one of the best gifts you can give is a heartfelt greeting card or letter, new family photos, and a few items he needs. It’s not an exciting gift, but when you fulfill your dad’s wish list, you’re helping him live more comfortably, wherever he is in the world. 

If you want to surprise your deployed hero for Father’s Day, send him a special military care package from My Hero Crate. Our gift baskets are full of military-approved snacks from American distributors, and ship to FPO, APO, or DPO address anywhere in the world for free — or to your dad’s home address here in the United States. Each snack box contains an assortment of nuts, chips, candy, jerky, cookies, and more, with gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options, too. Plus, now through June 21, 2020, take an extra 15% off your purchase!

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What is PTSD?

It’s a Common Mental Health Issue that Affects Many

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health problem some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like military combat. It’s perfectly normal to have upsetting memories, emotional reactions, or issues falling asleep after such traumatic events. Some people feel better within a few months, but people who have prolonged symptoms might have PTSD.

Frequency of PTSD in Military Veterans

It’s very common for members of the armed forces to develop PTSD. No one should ever feel alone for struggling with it. In fact, according to Veterans Affairs, between 11 and 20 percent of every 100 veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom have PTSD. 

PTSD didn’t start during these most recent times of war, however. Twelve percent of veterans of the Gulf War, also called Desert Storm, have been diagnosed with PTSD. And even as far back as the Vietnam War, about 15 percent were diagnosed in the late 1980s, but today it’s estimated that 30 percent of Vietnam veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime.

Who Can Develop PTSD?

Anyone can develop PTSD at any point in their lives, even from a very young age, if they’ve experienced a long-lasting or short, but very intense traumatic event. Risk of developing PTSD is heightened if the person does not get immediate or appropriate care after the trauma, or if they don’t have enough social support. Of course, it’s possible even with these in place, a person can still develop PTSD, and it isn’t their fault at all.

What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?

There are generally four types of PTSD symptoms, and not everyone will experience them in the same way.

1.Reliving the event, which can cause feelings of fear, nightmares, or the sense that you’re experiencing the event all over again.

2. Avoiding situations that serve as reminders of the trauma, such as not talking about the event, avoiding crowds or driving, or whatever else may remind you of what happened.

3. Experiencing negative changes in your emotions or beliefs, such as no longer having loving feelings toward other people, or taking on a negative worldview.

4. Feeling hyper-aroused, also known as feeling overstimulated. The VA refers to this as “feeling keyed up.” This sometimes causes you to feel very irritable, lose sleep, have trouble concentrating, or startle easily.

PTSD Treatments

The most successful PTSD treatments are trauma-focused psychotherapies. This type of treatment helps to process traumatic experiences.

The VA uses:

  • -Prolonged Exposure: teaches those with PTSD to face their negative feelings, including talking about the trauma.
  • -Cognitive Processing Therapy: teaches those with PTSD to reframe their negative thoughts about the trauma and focuses on discussing negative thoughts.
  • -Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: helps make sense of trauma by thinking about the trauma while paying attention to back-and-forth movement or sound (like a finger waving side to side, or a single tone). 

How Can I Support Someone with PTSD?

If your loved one is suffering with PTSD, there are a few ways you can help support them.

  • -Don’t force them to talk about their trauma if they don’t want to.
  • -Anticipate their triggers. For example, if you know a certain sound will trigger a negative memory of the traumatic event, prepare for the trigger. Come up with a plan with your loved one about what you can do when they experience a trigger.
  • -Do normal things in a normal routine. Don’t avoid everyday actions, stop planning vacations, or cease normal functions. A sense of normalcy goes a long way in helping those with PTSD.
  • -Remain calm during emotional outbursts and let your loved one know they are safe.
  • -Meet with your loved one’s mental health providers to learn how you can help in their specific situation.

Why My Hero Crate Cares About PTSD

My Hero Crate cares deeply about our service men and women and works every day to help enhance their lives, not just through creating special care packages for the military, but also by donating proceeds to veteran-backed organizations. We understand that mental health issues can be difficult to manage, and we hope our work will be a light in the dark for those who benefit from the organizations we support. Shop our military care packages to send to your favorite hero.