Are you wondering what to say in a letter to a soldier?
Lucky for you, it’s actually pretty easy.
You don’t have to be Hemingway to write a thoughtful letter; your letters don’t have to be fancy.
Deployed and in-training service members are just thrilled someone thought enough of them to write them a letter. Mail call really does brighten their day like you wouldn’t believe.
When in deployment or training mode, it’s a whole different world. Our service members love homefront updates, funny notes, and genuine correspondence from other people. It makes them feel connected, even if they are thousands of miles from home.
Whether you’re writing a letter to a loved one or a complete stranger, there are some basic guidelines when it comes to what to say in a letter to a soldier.
As you write you’ll want to:
- Keep it positive
- Avoid politics
- Show your appreciation
- Offer lots of encouragement
There’s always something to write about — from life updates to new movie releases to job opportunities and everything in-between.
Feeling a little stuck on how to get started?
Here are a few ideas so you’ll always know what to say in a letter to a soldier.
What to Say in a Letter to a Soldier Who is Your Spouse
When your other half seems like a world away, letter writing is a great way to stay connected. If you’re doing it the old fashioned way with pen and paper, you can gather your thoughts and offer reflections as you write. Even if your spouse can’t write to you as much as you write them, know that they cherish your support via letters.
Here are a few ideas of what to say in your letters:
I love you – Your spouse will never, ever get tired of reading those three words. Come up with creative ways to say it. Write it in various languages, create “I love you” art, or make a photo collage spelling out the reasons you adore them.
Tell them about life – Everyday life is what your spouse misses most with you. Minimize the stressful details, but share the funny times, enlightening moments, and unique situations they aren’t around to see.
Remind them you miss them – When your spouse is gone, they want to know you miss them as much as they miss you. Let them know what you miss the most — send a list of reasons their lack of presence matters. Exchange ideas for what you’ll do when they get back.
Talk about their favorite sports teams – If you have a sports fan for a spouse, any update you can provide on their favorite teams is appreciated. If there’s a particular player they follow closely, check out ESPN’s website to print out any recent news and send along a copy of the story to your sports fanatic.
Ask them to tell you about their craziest dream – Kick off with sharing your boldest dream. Whether it’s opening a dog rescue or starting a brand-new business, share your biggest desires with them. They’ll love it. Then, ask them to reveal theirs. Preceding letters can discuss ways to achieve those dreams.
List 10 reasons you’re proud of them – Service life is one full of big sacrifices. Explain why you’re rooting for them in a list that they can reflect on any time their situation gets tough.
What to Say in a Letter to a Soldier Who is Your Child
Whether your child is a fresh recruit in training or a seasoned career soldier, they’ll always appreciate your letters from home. Keep each letter light and filled with love.
Unsure of what to write? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Ask when they’ll be home – Your child will appreciate that you’re looking forward to their homecoming, especially if they’re deployed. If they’ll have leave time and will be coming home, ask them to send along a list of what they’d like to do once back home.
Encourage them – Offer words of encouragement, especially if they send you a note that indicates they may be struggling. Remind them that any difficult situation is temporary.
Inquire about their job duties/training – Most military members pride themselves on their job duties. Ask your child what their position is all about and what they hope to achieve as they progress in their career.
Send them cute cards – If you’re short on time, purchase a card that will make them smile and send it off. If you don’t have time to buy stamps, dash off a letter and photo via the Sandboxx app — we’ll print it for you so you can save the stamp!
Send a poem – Make a copy of their favorite inspirational poem to send along with an update of what’s happening back home.
Let them know about funny family antics – If you recently spoke to one of their favorite relatives who relayed a ridiculous story, share it. Those are the precious moments they miss and are happy for you to pass along.
What to Say in a Letter to a Soldier Who is Your Friend
“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends leave footprints in your heart.” Word has it Eleanor Roosevelt said the quote and truer words about friendship have never been spoken. Remind your friends that they’re in your heart near or far when you send them support letters.
Been a while since you’ve connected? Here are a few topics to kick-off letter writing:
Tell them to describe their new digs – Have your friend tell you about what their basic training situation looks like. If they’re deployed, ask them to detail what life is like in their new area. What do they do for fun, what kind of food are they eating, and what does a daily routine look like for them?
Ask about new hobbies – If it’s been a while since you’ve seen this friend, ask them what they’ve been up to prior to joining the military. If they’ve had time to pursue hobbies while in, get all the details.
Remind them of their strengths – We all need to be reminded of how strong we are sometimes. Send them a list of their best qualities you admire in them.
Recommend new books or podcasts – If they’re in a training facility or duty station that allows them some downtime, send along some entertainment ideas. Write out your list of favorite podcasts and book recommendations for them to add to their own subscriptions and lists.
Ask them why they decided to join – If you don’t know why they joined, ask them about their decision. Their story may surprise you.
Send inspirational deployment quotes – At a complete loss for words and ideas? Write out a list of inspirational quotes they can look back at to gather up strength and courage. Check out our list of favorites here.
Writing to a Soldier You Don’t Know
Each year, thousands of soldiers deploy and some don’t receive any mail. If you don’t have a loved one who is active duty, you can always adopt a soldier. Soldiers’ Angels is one organization that allows members of the public to adopt soldiers to connect with via letter writing and other programs.
Some ways to break the ice with a soldier you’ve never met:
Introduce yourself and thank them for their service – Just say hi and let them know you’re grateful for them serving our country.
Ask about their top 10 book/movie/podcast recommendations – People love to write about what they’re interested in. Ask them to compile a list of their all-time favorite books, movies, or podcasts — or all three. If you’re so inclined, check them out and report back your own thoughts.
Inquire about why they joined – Everyone has a unique story about what made them decide to join the military. Ask your pen pal about their contract and if they’re thinking about a short-term contract or career.
Ask about where they grew up – Hometowns shape who we are and often leave an imprint on the heart. Get details about where they grew up and what they loved about the area.
Offer words of encouragement – Sometimes a funny little note or a cute puppy card is enough to cheer them up. Mail call is exciting when you have anything at all to open, but especially a positive and uplifting letter.
Tell them about any fun current events – If you enjoy keeping up with the news and current events, share these with your writing buddy. People getting into ridiculous predicaments and funny news stories are always a lighthearted way to connect.
Start Sending Your Letters Today
Now you know exactly what to say in a letter to a soldier.
Letters to service members don’t have to be too long, elaborate, or fancy. Sure, you can decorate care packages and use calligraphy for letters if you want, but any letter a soldier gets will make them smile.
When you’re short on time, dash off a short letter via the Sandboxx app. You can even attach a photo inside to add a pop of color and excitement.
Whenever you do decide on what to say in a letter to a soldier, just keep it positive. Lighthearted messages are best when they’re away from home and in combat zones or challenging training.
Still think you don’t know how to write a letter to someone in the military? It’s simple, really. Just start with “hi” and the rest will usually start flowing.
What are some of your favorite topics to cover in letters to soldiers? Share in the comments below!
Feature image courtesy of Unsplash