The first Military Family Month was observed in 1993, with President Bill Clinton issuing a presidential proclamation that established National Military Families Recognition Day the following year. Since then, subsequent decrees and congressional resolutions have continued to designate November as Military Family Month.

As the name implies, it is a time for recognizing not just those who have served, but also the military families that make their own daily sacrifices, which range from frequently moving to new cities to managing a household solo while a spouse is deployed.

If you belong to a military family, hopefully you have received additional support and gratitude during past Novembers. You may also be in a unique position where you are familiar with one or more military families that are going through a particularly stressful time. You likely know better than most what they are going through and what would best help them, but if you are looking for creative ways to show you care during this month, here are some ways to thank servicemembers and their loved ones during National Military Family Month:

Volunteer your time and energy

Know someone who has a packed schedule? Sacrifice some of your time so that they can have more of their own. Something as simple as babysitting kids so that a military mom has a night to herself can be huge. You could also get a bit more involved by cooking meals for harried military families, offering to handle errands like grocery shopping or taking care of the yardwork.

Plant an anonymous care package

Perhaps you want your goodwill gesture to pack more of a surprise. recommends leaving an anonymous care package on the doorstep of a military family, ringing the doorbell and fleeing before your largesse is discovered. Maybe you decide to fill your box with fun little gifts for every member of the family, or maybe you choose to pamper one parent in particular with little indulgences and a day pass to a relaxing spa or sauna. Either way, a random and anonymous present arriving out of the blue will show a military family know that their service is appreciated.

"The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.""The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."

Join them in their own efforts to give back

Military families are very familiar with the concept of service, and as such, many have their own charitable passion projects. You can share their care by volunteering alongside them at whatever service organization they hold dear, whether it involves serving Thanksgiving dinner at a food pantry or helping to save lives at a Red Cross location. Helping out kills two birds with one stone, as you get to perform an act of service while also showing a military family that you care about their interests.

Make them aware of the many benefits available to military families

One easy but effective way to help out is simply to direct a military family towards the many benefits and services that are available to them. Operation Kid Comfort provides free photo transfer quilts to the children of deployed servicemen and women, the YMCA's military outreach program grants eligible military families free Y membership and companies like Sears and Home Depot offer significant discounts and gift cards to those who serve. Every military family should be able to take advantage of at least some of these benefits, so be sure to spread the word this season.

Showing your appreciation during Military Family Month doesn't require grand gestures. Something as small as providing an ear to bend or shoulder to lean on can mean more to someone than you may realize. And you can also feel free to perform such everyday acts of kindness throughout the year, and not just during Military Family Month in November.