Send holiday cheer to overseas soldiers

By Jeanette Fritz

With the holiday season right around the corner, sending greetings cards to soldiers serving overseas is a sure way to spread some holiday cheer.

The American Red Cross is sending happy holiday wishes through social media and snail mail until Dec. 6.

This is one way to put social media to good use. I’m on Twitter and Facebook all day anyway, and chances are you are, too. So, why not take a moment to write a quick message to those who fight for our freedom?

“NIU Military Student Services plans to support the Holiday Mail [for Heroes] by personally mailing cards and encouraging others to write to our service men and women this holiday season,” said Bridget McMahon, Military Student Services assistant director.

If you want to send a holiday card, you can drop it off at Military Student Services at Adams Hall, Room 409, to be mailed by Dec. 1.

Holidays are a tough time for anyone who has a family member or friend serving when they should be home celebrating. Sending holiday cards is sure to slightly ease the pain of being away.

“The cards provide holiday cheer and a reminder to our military members that we as a nation are thinking of them and are thankful for their service,” McMahon said.

For those sending virtual greeting cards via social media, the Red Cross encourages creativity. Tagging photos and videos are two ways to spread cheer with endless options on what they can feature. In fact, the Red Cross prefers you send electronic holiday wishes.

“Sending an image or video will save trees, reduce the amount of mail that needs sorting, brings cheer to many service members and has a much faster delivery time than mailed cards,” according to the group’s website.

Unfortunately, the guidelines also said letters cannot be included with cards. Although you can send cards through snail mail, it won’t have the same personal touch as including a letter would.

I think handwritten letters are much more personal and meaningful because the recipient knows you took time out of your day to sit down, pick up a pen and write to them. The Red Cross is taking away this personal touch out of cards.

Luckily, by sending a video or text post through social media, you can add the sentiment of a personal letter, but in an intangible form. I think sending your holiday wishes and thank you’s with the internet is a great way to send your love with the Red Cross. That way you are able to be more personal and heartfelt than a boring store-bought card that everyone knows just gets thrown in the junk drawer anyway.

I encourage you to sit down and write a quick post on Twitter, Instagram or Vine to pay your respects to military servicemen and women who are fighting for us and wish them happy holidays. Tag your messages with #HolidayMail and let service members around the world see it through the Red Cross’ blog. You’re not paying attention in class anyway, so you might as well do something meaningful.