We are thinking of our men and women in the armed forces overseas today, as they were in 1918. From the October 31, 1918 Skidmore News, page 1:
Parcels to Soldiers in Over-Seas Service.
To save valuable time this letter has been sent direct by the Division Office to all chapters, Branches and Community Auxiliaries.
1. The relatives and friends of men in service abroad have been longing for some means of making Christmas overseas as merry as conditions may permit. Responding to this desire, the War Department has decided that each man overseas may receive from his family or friends one Christmas package of standard size and approximately of standard contents.
2. An arrangement has been perfected by the War Department, Post Office Department and the American Red Cross, whereby the Red Cross has undertaken to cooperate in the preparation for mailing of these Christmas parcels.
3. To avoid any duplication of parcels and to make sure that each parcel will be correctly addressed, a Christmas parcel label is now being issued to the men by the army abroad.
4. The men will be instructed to mail the label to some relative or friend in America, who, upon receiving it will apply to the nearest Chapter, Branch, or Auxiliary headquarters of the Red Cross, or at such other place as may be designated by the Red Cross, where, upon showing the Christmas parcel label, he will receive from the Red Cross without charge one carton 3x4x9 inches in size. The Christmas parcel label displayed by the relative or friend is NOT to be turned over to the Red Cross nor to any representative of the Red Cross at this time. It is merely to be shown to the Red Cross by the holder to indicate that he is entitled to one of the paste-board cartons. Bear this instruction constantly in mind, for if it is ignored and the parcel label is lost or misplaced, embarrassment to the Red Cross is sure to result.
5. To simplify the execution of this plan, a sufficient number of specially manufactured pasteboard cartons have been purchased by the Division office. According to the plan hereinafter described, the Division office will supply Chapters with these cartons, to be in turn supplied by the Chapters to persons holding and showing the Christmas parcel label.
6. The person receiving a carton may fill it with any combination of articles which will fit in it, and which are not barred by the Post Office Department.
Following is a list of prohibited articles:
(a) All spirituous, vinous, malted, fermented or other intoxicating liquors.
(b) All kinds of poison and all articles and compositions containing poison.
(c) Explosives of all kinds.
(d) Inflammable materials, including friction matches.
(e) Infernal machines and mechanical, chemical or other devices of composition which may ignite or explode.
Note — Under this classification would come cigarette lighters, etc.
(f) Liquids or liquefiable articles, fragile articles and other admissible matter when not packed in accordance with the requirements of the Postal Laws and Regulations.
(g) All other articles which may kill, or in any wise hurt, harm or injure another, or damage or deface or otherwise injure the mails or other property.
18. BEAR THESE FACTS IN MIND
Nothing should go in a Christmas Parcel which will not keep fresh from the time of packing until Christmas. Dried fruits and other food products should be packed in small tin or wooden boxes, one-quarter to one-half pound sizes. Hard Candy, including chocolate, would probably be safe in tin foil or heavy cardboard, but no soft chocolate nor anything that could possibly be crushed should be used, as the remaining contents of the package might be spoiled thereby. Several dainties packed in oblong tin boxes holding each a quarter of a pound will provide a better variety for a packet than a larger quantity of a single confection. No liquids nor articles packed in glass should be placed in the package. For wrapping the gifts, use a khaki-colored handkerchief, twenty-seven inches square.
19. WIDELY CIRCULATE THIS INFORMATION:
When the package has been packed, it should be taken, unwrapped and unsealed, together with the label and sufficient stamps, to the nearest collection center designated by the Red Cross. After the package has passed the inspection of the Red Cross representatives as to contents and weight and has been wrapped in stout paper, the Christmas label bearing the address of the man for whom it is intended is placed on it. The person sending the package, in the presence of the Red Cross worker, is required to affix stamps sufficient to carry it to Hoboken, New Jersey. The postal charges are to be at the rate of fourth class or parcel post zone rate. A label certifying that the inspection has been completed by the Red Cross is placed on the package, which is left in the custody of the Red Cross until delivered to the postal authorities.
For further information call any Red Cross officer.