For the Troops Back at Home: 10 Gift Ideas for Military Families
Behind every soldier is a family supporting them back at home. Here are ten gift ideas for the families who act as the backbone of the United States Military.
There are over 1.5 million active service members in the U.S. military to date. The average American family has 3.4 members. That equates to over 5 million family members supporting their military loved ones.
There's no comparison to the experiences, hardships, and memories that active service members endure. But loving a member of the U.S. military can be just as challenging.
Countless nights wondering if your family member is safe. Holidays with an empty chair at the table. Bedtime stories and birthdays with a piece of your heart missing.
But those sad moments are quickly replaced with feelings of pride and admiration for your brave soldier. And what better way to honor their service than with military gifts displaying your support? Here are 10 military gift ideas for the families back home.
1. Flag Display Case
There's no symbol of patriotism more recognizable than the American flag. Millions of American's proudly fly the red, white, and blue outside their homes and businesses.
Military families may receive an American flag for a variety of reasons. Most common is when a loved one is lost in the line of duty. The family is presented with a flag, folded in a ceremonial manner.
Veterans may also receive a flag at the end of their service. Flag display cases allow military families to honor and showcase all that the American flag represents, including the sacrifice and memory of their beloved service member.
2. Deployment Map
One of the most difficult things for military families to deal with is the unknown. Not knowing where their loved one is or if they're safe.
A deployment map is a perfect way for military families back home to track where their soldier is and where they've been. Lighted pins help families mark and remember their soldier's journey.
These maps can be framed and displayed on the wall. When your soldier returns home, they can help you add new pins to the map. This is an especially thoughtful gift for children of a deployed service member.
A picture is worth a thousand words and for most military members, photographs are all they have to stay connected to life back home. If possible, arrange a photo shoot before your soldier deploys.
Bring together everyone important in your life and choose a meaningful location for the shoot. Your service member can dress in their military uniform and everyone else can wear matching outfits. Take a variety of photos and have them printed in different sizes.
You can even add these photos to a blanket, magnet, keychain, or other personal items for your soldier to take with them.
4. Military Accessories
If there's one thing military families can agree on, it's that they are proud supporters of their service members and the U.S. military as a whole. And what better way to show your support than with military apparel and accessories?
Order your entire family military shirts, hats, flags, watches, or jewelry. Not only are these items conversation starters (and a great opportunity to brag about your solider), but it shows unity and support for all those service members protecting our country.
5. Deployment Journal
Without television or other entertainment readily available, soldiers spend a lot of time reflecting on their experiences. Keeping a journal is a great way for both active service members and families back home to document their journey.
One idea is to keep a journal that you share. When your service member is away, they can write letters to you, document important events, and share stories. When they return home, they gift the journal to you. Now it's your turn to fill the pages.
Print photographs, include funny stories or memories, and write happy reminders of life at home. When your soldier is deployed once more, they can take the journal with them and enjoy what you've written.
This is the perfect way to memorialize this time in both your lives.
6. Gift Cards
Let's not forget about those service members whose families join them on deployment. Thousands of spouses and children are stationed on a base with their soldiers. This makes for a tough life for all those involved.
You can purchase families gift cards to the commissary or exchange. These are tax-free stores designed specifically for military families. Service members with children are always in needs of groceries and other household items.
What makes these military gifts even better, is that you don't need direct access to the base or store to purchase them. You can easily buy commissary or exchange gift cards online.
Military spouses and family members take their loved ones' enrollment very serious. They also know that there are millions of families just like them around the world. This is why many are part of charities and organizations that give back to the military community.
Making a donation to the charity of their choice is the perfect way to show your support. Not all donations have to be monetary. Several organizations volunteer their time to pack and mail care packages overseas. Sometimes, donating your time means even more.
Just like journals, books make great military gifts for both soldiers and military families. Not everyone understands the emotional struggle of supporting a soldier.
Purchase the military family member in your life a book on dealing with a loved one's deployment. Children's books about the importance of service members help military children understand the reason behind their parent's sacrifice.
9. Military Coin Display Case
Soldiers love to collect military challenge coins. And what better gift to give than a beautiful display case for their collection?
Challenge coins display an organization's emblem, including all branches of the U.S. military. They're often carried and collected by service members.
Collecting challenge coins is a favored pastime of soldiers and one they can share with their families. A display case is a great way for service members and families to memorialize their journey and service.
10. Teddy Bears
Military teddy bears are the perfect gift for military children and spouses. These adorable teddy bears are dressed in military fatigues and named after the family's favorite soldier.
The Vermont Teddy Bear Company is known for craftsmanship and quality. You can personalize each bear with a shirt representing either the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard, personalized with your soldier's name or a special message.
Military Gifts Make Lasting Memories
For some military families, memories are all they have. Missing your service member during deployment never gets easier, but these military gifts can help you stay connected.