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Gifts for Soldiers

Updated on August 2, 2013

Great Gifts for Soldiers Away From Home

Sending gift packages to soldiers (GIs as I'm used to calling them) can be fun and rewarding not only for the soldier but for you as well. Here I'll explore what to send; how to send them; and have you share your experiences as well.

I am an Army brat so my Dad was overseas a lot when I was growing up. My Mom encouraged us to send letters and gifts to him so he would know we loved him. I'll share some of the things we did for him and my brother-in-law, who was in the Navy as well.

All royalties raised on this lens are donated to Operation Helmet

Soldiers Gift: The gift of letters

Letter show them you miss them

The most important thing you can do is to write to your soldier. Don't worry about your handwriting, spelling or grammar. They really don't care. Just getting mail is a big deal to them. More important is mail from people they love.

It doesn't matter what you write about. Tell them about the latest movie you saw, your job, what the kids did today, what Aunt Bessie said, what you cooked for dinner, the latest joke you heard -- anything at all.

Above all, tell them you miss them and love them. Writing to them shows them you care and love them in a way that nothing else can. They probably know how hard it is to write themselves.

When my father, who was what they call a lifer in the Army, was away (Viet Nam, Korea, Dominican Republic), my mother literally wrote him every single day. I loved her for doing that and I know my Dad did too. She also encouraged us to write him. Which I did even though my handwriting was so horrible.

Whenever you think about not writing because you can't think of something to say, imagine her face when it's mail call and her name is called. It will light up even if it's just a simple handwritten note that says, "I love You."

Soldiers Gift: Gift of photos

Send photos to remind them of you

Photos are one of the best gifts you can send a soldier away from home. Sometimes when you are away from a loved one, it's hard to remember what they look like. I know that sounds weird, but it happens. Send them lots a pictures -- pictures in different situations. You or your kids or friends being silly, serious, making an idiot of themselves; receiving an award, opening up Christmas gifts.

Take pictures of all of the occasions you may take for granted but they will be missing with all of their hearts. Weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, picnics, little league games, graduations, Jimmy taking his first step or little Mary baking her first cake.

Make up reasons to take pictures. Try seeing your day as your soldier away from home would if she was there. He wants to see it all, so give it to him!

Soldiers who are away from home really miss seeing their loved ones so send them lots and lots of photos -- doing all sorts of things. Not just dress up. How about "a day in the life of" your family. Take pictures of everyone in bed, at the breakfast table, washing the car, watching the game, shooting hoops, cooking, cleaning.

Dig deep, what would make her laugh or smile? What would touch him and let her know that you really miss her?

Electronic Books

Electronic Books
Electronic Books

Trappings of a Soldier

Trappings of a Soldier
Trappings of a Soldier

Mobile phones for your soldier - Make it easy for them to call home

Soldiers Gift: Personal Recordings

Send them a cassette player and make weekly recordings of your family talking about their day, what's happening in your neighborhood, church, school or community.

Even the little things you take for granted, they will want to know about. Believe me, they miss the small talk, the mundane, the every day stuff. Nothing is going to be boring to them.

Just hearing your voices will be good for them. It will give them a reason to come home.

Don't forget to tell them -- every time you talk to them -- how much you miss them and love them and support them. They will never, ever get tired of hearing that.

Blank Journals or Microrecorders on Amazon

How about giving a blank journal for your soldier to write in while she's away? Something to keep his thoughts in, the every day happenings; things he'd like to remember or make an impact on his life.

OR, how about sending your soldier a microcassette recorder? Especially good for soldiers who don't like to write.

Don't forget to send them extra batteries and mailing envelopes -- self-stamped with your name and address and postage already on it. Make it as easy for them as possible.

Kodak Pocket Video Recorder - The perfect gift for the soldier

The Kodak Zi8 HD Pocket Video Camera makes the perfect gift for any soldier. Or, get oe for yourself to take videos of family and friends that miss him.

Goodies Box Ideas

Goodies Box Ideas
Goodies Box Ideas
goodie box for soldiers
goodie box for soldiers

Soldiers Gift: Goody Packages

Yum Yum!

Just thinking about this one brings a smile to my face. I remember making fudge for my brother-in-law who was in the Navy on board ship. I wasn't the best baker, but I made a mean fudge.

Anyway, he couldn't thank me enough. Sent me a very nice thank you letter. Then when he returned, he broke the real story to me -- the fudge melted together and was a pretty big gooey mess.

Games to pass the time

Games to pass the time
Games to pass the time
domino game piece
domino game piece

Soldiers Gift: Games for Soldiers

To pass the time, soldiers can play games. The best ones to send are the small travel sets. From chess and cribbage to dominoes or scrabble and solitare.

Just having a deck of cards can make the long days off-duty go by faster.

Travel games on Amazon

Soldier-Hero

Soldier-Hero
Soldier-Hero

A Reader's Gift to her Husband - The gift of surprise and love

I got the following message yesterday, "Hi. I am an Army wife, and my husband just left for his fourth deployment, this time for Afghanistan. I just thought you would like to know about this blog I posted about supporting our troops and a holiday gift idea for soldiers. Support Our Troops: Gifts for Soldiers http://www.collegiatecamo.com/blog/gifts-for-soldi...

Also, here is a video of me surprising him at the airport right before he deployed. A lot of tears when I had to leave, but it was great to see him one last time and have a quiet, private, personal goodbye."

Below is the video she made.

How you can support Operation Helmet

Make a Squidoo page

You too can make a page like this one and have all or a percentage of the Squidoo Royalties go directly to Operation Helmet to give our Soldiers the protection they need and maybe save a life.

The lens can be on anything you want. About your cat, your car, whatever you care about. Believe me, you are an expert in something. If you don't think so, put together a lens about something you are learning -- walk us through the steps -- the where, why, when and how of it.

To make a lens now, click

Want to link to this lens? Here's how.

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Great Gifts for Soldiers Away From Home

Copyright

This work is covered by copyright and can not be reprinted

in any matter (physical or digital) without prior written consent.

Copyright 2008-2013 Frankie Kangas All rights reserved.

Please use this guest book to share your thoughts about gifts for soldiers and this lens. Thank you.

Reader Feedback

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    • profile image

      gepeTooRs 18 months ago

      It’s really a great and useful piece of information. I am satisfied that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      osciviada 22 months ago

      Great looking site. Think you did a great deal of your own coding.

    • williamslaw profile image

      williamslaw 3 years ago

      Great ideas!

    • Franksterk profile image
      Author

      Frankie Kangas 3 years ago from California

      @Erin Mellor: Excellent idea! Thanks!

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 3 years ago from Europe

      New socks and spices, lots and lots of spices, any kind of condiment was always the requests I got (although from the Navy) anything to make mealtimes a little less grim.

    • profile image

      Bartukas 4 years ago

      Great ideas :P

    • profile image

      CristianStan 4 years ago

      You can't be ungrateful to your service men, they do so much for our country. thank you for this lens, I will definitely use some of these ideas

    • mariacarbonara profile image

      mariacarbonara 4 years ago

      Great lens. Its so easy for us to forget these guys working hard and risking their lives on our behalf, and taking the time to let them know we are thinking about them with a few gifts can make all the difference.

    • loveanime22 profile image

      loveanime22 4 years ago

      great gifts ideas

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      Wonderful lens indeed - blessed, pinned onto my Veterans board and featured on my own lens http://www.squidoo.com/veterans-site. And facebook liked as well.

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image

      Kay 4 years ago

      As a former soldier who has deployed, I know I so appreciated getting letters and gifts in the mail. It really does mean a lot.

    • choosehappy profile image

      Vikki 4 years ago from US

      Just popping back in to bless---great gift ideas here for the soldiers.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      These are great ideas. My sister is in the army so this hits close to home. Thanks.

    • textbookmommy profile image

      textbookmommy 4 years ago

      I love all these wonderful gift ideas! Thanks for such an informative and well written lens. *Blessed by a Squid Angel

    • profile image

      JoshK47 4 years ago

      Love this idea! Thanks so much for sharing - blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • HomeDecorKnight profile image

      HomeDecorKnight 5 years ago

      Interesting gift idea for a soldier, good lens

    • MatijaB LM profile image

      MatijaB LM 5 years ago

      You chose very interesting gift ... soldiers deserve only the best.

    • Franksterk profile image
      Author

      Frankie Kangas 5 years ago from California

      @anonymous: That is a wonderful idea. I know when my Dad was in Viet Nam, I sent him drawings and poems. If you have a computer, you have even more things you can create - cards, calendars with family photos, etc. Thank you for your idea. I'll have to add a section for home-made gifts -- gifts from the heart. Bear hugs, Frankie

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      i am an army kid i love my dad that is in the army and some of these ideas are really good but what about things made from the heart like posters made with glitter or drawings cause not everyone has money to buy a pocket camcorder so lets have some more ideas from the heart

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great Lens! For those inclined I found this site http://www.soldiersbible.com

    • robertzimmerman2 profile image

      Robert Zimmerman 5 years ago from SE Florida, USA

      Thanks for a great overview of these services!

    • SgtCecil profile image

      Cecil Kenmill 5 years ago from Osaka, Japan

      great lens! i'm glad to see service members are part of the squidoo experience. i just started a couple days ago.

    • profile image

      sheezie77 5 years ago

      Great lens, nice collection

    • profile image

      Aquablocks 5 years ago

      Gifts for soldiers should inspire hope and courage. They should be portable and easy to keep.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      A good friend of mine made sure his two sons (1 US Marine, 1 US Army) had laptops so they could Skype/Email from base in Iraq, and also they had flash drives loaded with ripped DVD's so they could watch movies while they were away.

      With equipment like this, provided they are at a base where they can contact home, it really does help to keep in touch.

      Excellent job, and a very fitting lens with Memorial Day coming up.

    • lyttlehalfpint profile image

      lyttlehalfpint 5 years ago from Canada

      Wonderful ideas for keeping loved ones overseas in touch. Great lens

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 5 years ago

      Such a great idea and tribute the soldiers.

    • profile image

      trendydad 5 years ago

      these are great ideas to give a soldier,

    • rachelscott profile image

      rachelscott 5 years ago

      Lens is so interesting. It deserve thumb UP.

    • profile image

      charity7 5 years ago

      Beautiful Lens! We must never forget those who defend our country. Thanks for the info.

    • profile image

      jaredtheleo 5 years ago

      All of these things are great but the best care package has three things:

      Tobacco, Jerky, and Lotion

      Huah!

    • profile image

      vBizeso 5 years ago

      nice lens...

    • profile image

      brynimagire 5 years ago

      I like star war movie ! Thanks for sharing a lot of information ! Wonderful lens !

    • profile image

      Funny_Beekeeper 5 years ago

      Some great ideas here. I will have to check this lens once again because I'm looking for a gift for my friend who is returning from his duty in 4 months time. Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas!

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      A wonderful lens - certainly on a different level from the homemade fruit cakes sent to earlier generations of soldiers.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Yes, this is a great lens and a great idea. Thank you for putting this together.

    • chuckholmes301 profile image

      chuckholmes301 5 years ago

      What a great lens. This gives me some really good ideas for care packages to our deployed troops. It's always a good idea to support the troops.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      So important to support the troops . . congrats on yet another purple star. Fabulous ideas here (and they don't have to be expensive, either).

    • profile image

      ellispauline 5 years ago

      This lens is impressive and interesting. thanks for sharing

    • ZimelArt LM profile image

      ZimelArt LM 5 years ago

      Wow!!! Thank you for this lens. It is great!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I've always enjoyed reading your lens and am surprised that this one doesn't have a purple star yet, I just got another one and have the opportunity to nominate a good lens, I'm using this lens as my nominee, see ya around!

    • PoeticChristian profile image

      PoeticChristian 5 years ago

      This is a great lens and great ideas. This would have been wonderful for everyone in the first Desert Storm when I was there. I had 4 different jobs and being a mail clerk was one. It is extremely important to any and all soldiers to get something from either family or friends or anyone at that matter. Just to know that someone was/is thinking about you is a good feeling. Thank You for doing this. I am in the process of writing a book of poems and a portion of the royalties will be going to the Wounded Warrior Project. Am listing this lens on my page as well. (hope that is ok) God Bless you and all involved.

    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 5 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      Great set of ideas. Thanks!

    • blue22d profile image

      blue22d 5 years ago

      Very nice lens and excellent ideas for our soldiers. Thanks for your creation of this lens and Merry Christmas to you and your family Frankster!

    • jadehorseshoe profile image

      jadehorseshoe 5 years ago

      An Important Lens.

    • profile image

      dellgirl 5 years ago

      Wonderful lens with lots of interesting and helpful ideas! Nice work. Thanks for sharing.

    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 5 years ago from Western Mass

      really great suggestions here

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      My neice is in the service and I hope people remember her for Christmas.

    • choosehappy profile image

      Vikki 5 years ago from US

      Really great ideas for soldiers. Blessed ;)

    • Franksterk profile image
      Author

      Frankie Kangas 5 years ago from California

      @KimGiancaterino: Thank you Kim! Bear hugs, Frankie

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      I'm featuring this on Top Ten Best Tips for a Bless-Worthy Squidoo Lens. God bless our brave troops!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Stopping by again to appreciate your efforts and insights on gifts for our soldiers.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Our soldiers do a lot of hardships when they are sent to battle. I guess we need pay tribute for all their efforts to protect our country.

      http://www.limohirebrisbanecity.com.au/

    • profile image

      blackironchandelier 5 years ago

      what a cool post. Thanks squidoo

    • profile image

      celeBritys4africA 5 years ago

      A great thought and a great team work.

    • EdTecher profile image

      Heidi Reina 5 years ago from USA

      Your list of organizations to turn to to send items to soldiers is wonderful. My nephew always appreciated books, magazines and beef jerky. (And don't forget to throw in some baggies so they can break down larger packages of food for travel).

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      nothing negative about this lens! Really liked looking thru it, brings a feel good feeling when you read and see stuff like this being done. If you can, check my lens out, its about making awareness of cystic fibrosis genetic disease. Would love to get feedback or your comments on it.

    • profile image

      NidhiRajat 6 years ago

      Nice Lens............!!!!!!!!!!!11

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 6 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      As the daughter of 2 Vets, I salute you for making this lens! Thank you so much! You are awesome! I agree with pinkrenegade that the very best gift is prayer.

    • pinkrenegade lm profile image

      pinkrenegade lm 6 years ago

      The best gift for soldiers is prayers.

    • smithlights profile image

      smithlights 6 years ago

      Awesome ideas! Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      great

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 6 years ago

      I will lens roll this to my new lens Really Support the Troops. Thanks for taking the time to help the troops.

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 6 years ago

      Great ideas here!

    • profile image

      DannyLondon 6 years ago

      Great Lens Thanks for Posting.

    • suzyjahi profile image

      suzyjahi 6 years ago

      AWESOME!!

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 6 years ago

      Very cool! I love this lens! Blessing it!

    • Jack2205 profile image

      Jack 6 years ago

      Blessed by the Charities Squid Angel.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      LOVE YOUR LEN ,,PLEASE www.squidoo.com/military-women-homeless VISIT MY LENS MILITARY WOMEN VET NOW HOMELESS

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      This is an excellent idea. And...better late than never.... finally compiled my SquidAngel Lens from my 'angel flight' last Fall. :-) So.... returning to tell you that this lens has now been 'featured on' and 'lensrolled to' "SquidAngel Blessings by an Elf".

    • knit1tat2 profile image

      knit1tat2 6 years ago

      Excellent, a truly needed lens, and do wish everyone would read it!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I was sure I'd been here before. Thank you for this excellent work with your "insiders" view, excellent! Lensrolled to my Support Our Troops and Veterans lens.

    • photofk3 profile image

      photofk3 6 years ago

      This is the best lens so far I ever have seen on Squidoo. Although I'm not American (I'm from Hungary), I have a deep respect for American Service Members. They have liberated countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. I think they are not only fighting for America but for the whole free world in this GWOT. Words can not express my respect for them. Thank you for this lens.

    • profile image

      scar4 6 years ago

      My tears are floating down to my face when watching the above video. Bear hug!

    • greenerme profile image

      greenerme 6 years ago

      What a great lens!!! A HUGE thank you to all of our service men and women!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      A return trip to this fabulous lens! Congratulations for being showcased on the Best of Cyber Monday on Squidoo lens by SquidTeam - Kathy

    • Franksterk profile image
      Author

      Frankie Kangas 6 years ago from California

      @blujeanmomma: What a great idea. We have several very involved women in our little town that have established packages that go to the the troops every years. It is a great rallying cry in town. thanks for the congrats. Bear hugs, Frankster

    • blujeanmomma profile image

      blujeanmomma 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      When we lived on Kauai during the 80's, I had started an "adopt a soldier" program where at the gift shop I owned we kept a box and anyone who had a soldiers address could list their address and what they would like to receive in a goody box. Then a visitor to the store would "adopt & pledge" to send the soldier the item on their want list plus other items. We had several merchants and manufacturers donating tons of stuff to ship at Christmas time. It was so much fun and was especially nice to receive word back from families that their sons and daughters had received gifts from strangers. Beef jerky and kook-aid seemed to be the most wanted items and I see them in the photo you have above.

      I'm glad that this lens was included in the Best of Cyber Monday on Squidoo lens and was showcased.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      What an 'Outstanding' lens. It fully deserves all the recognition it has received, including the latest - inclusion on the 'CyberMonday Best of Lists'! Congratulations, and ~~Blessed by a SquidAngel~~

      PS: The video of Luke's surprise visit was wonderful! It definitely shows us how much the love & support of our family and friends means to our soldiers!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      We have unique solution for soldiers to stay in shape anywhere, anytime. Our 1 lb mobile gym kit fits easily into a rucksack. Visit www.rubberbanditz.com for more info.

    • profile image

      SEOtoppage 6 years ago

      Great lens, the greatest gift we can give them is bringing them home as soon as possible, but until then a small gift and love goes a long way for moral...well done to all those who have sent something.

    • SgtSciFi profile image

      SgtSciFi 6 years ago

      Great Lens! Thank You!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Lovely lens, wonderful cause. Happy Birthday also.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I will certainly put this lens up in Gifts that Make a Difference

    • Franksterk profile image
      Author

      Frankie Kangas 6 years ago from California

      @ICanCook: There are usually local groups of mothers (usually) who write and send care packages to the local men and women. You could check with your newspaper possibly. Also, try AnySoldier.com (http://anysoldier.com/howtosend.cfm) or penpals.net (http://www.penpals.net/soldier-penpals.asp) and the better known Soldiers Angels (http://www.soldiersangels.org/) where you can adopt a soldier to write to, etc. Let me know which you try to how it worked out for you. Good luck and thank you for taking the time to do this. Bear hugs, Frankster

    • ICanCook profile image

      ICanCook 6 years ago

      How do I find a Soldier to write to?

    • spritequeen lm profile image

      spritequeen lm 6 years ago

      LOVE these ideas!! Thanks for sharing!!

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 6 years ago

      These look like fabulous gift ideas. I remember when I was a teenager my older sister moved to Germany with her husband (military) and we used to make audio recordings and mail them to her. Letters are great, hearing someone's voice is even better.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wonderful lens. Gifts from the Homes of the Brave. Britain, Canada, US.

    • profile image

      Donnette Davis 7 years ago from South Africa

      Thank you. Brilliant Lens!! Have rated, faved and lensrolled to Soldiers_Angels

      Best

      Donnette

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image

      VarietyWriter2 7 years ago

      Nicely done. Leaving Squid Angel Blessings :)

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 7 years ago

      Re-blessing!

    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 7 years ago from Cheshire UK

      With Christmas coming round all too soon this is a great lens which should prompt people to think about those faraway from home. SquidAngel blessed

    • profile image

      JLCollins 8 years ago

      This is a very cool lens. I have students in my school with parents overseas. We try to do some of these things, especially around the holidays. Thanks for caring enough to share your passion for the GIs away from home!

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 8 years ago

      Some really great ideas here! Lensrolled to Care Package for a Sailor and some of my other military lenses. Well done!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      The soldiers need more people like you. Keep up the good work. 5 stars.

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      Great lens - you've been blessed by a squidoo angel :)

    • teamlane profile image

      teamlane 8 years ago

      Blessed by a SquidAngel today!

      www.squidoo.com/squid-angel

      ~ Colleen :o)

    • Nochipra profile image

      Nochipra 8 years ago

      Great lens! I'm sure soldiers appreciate items like this:)