CHRISTCHURCH, Sept 29 - About 40 volunteers, including schoolkids, made Christmas packages filled with everything from marmite to Anzac biscuits, and handwritten cards from students at Mount Cook School in Wellington and Collingwood Area School in Nelson.

With just 88 sleeps until Christmas, the NZDF will have these packages sent to its 13 missions overseas, starting next week to ensure they get there on time.

The Christmas packages were a tribute to the NZDF's servicemen and women stationed overseas, Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Major General Tim Gall said.

"We have personnel in six of the seven continents and their contribution makes our country proud both at home and abroad," Gall said.

"They are making a personal sacrifice by serving overseas over the festive period. It is our way of saying, 'you are in our thoughts this Christmas and we value the work that you do on behalf of New Zealand'."

About 300 defence force personnel are serving overseas, with 76 per cent based in the Middle East and 28 conducting fisheries patrols in the South Pacific.

Other personnel are working for the United Nations in South Korea, South Sudan, Israel and Lebanon, including two who are serving as monitors along the demilitarised zone with North Korea.