Gifts for Veterans: 9 Thoughtful Gifts for the Special Vet in Your Life


There are more than 18 million veterans living in the U.S. today. That means that there’s a good chance that you have at least one special veteran in your life.

Every so often, you should take the time to show them how special they are to you by buying them a gift. Whether you pick up a present for their birthday, get them something for Veteran’s Day, or simply buy them a gift “just because,” there are all kinds of great gifts for veterans out there.

Let’s take a look at nine thoughtful gifts that you can buy for the special vet in your life.

1. Wooden American Flag

Your loved one likely served in the U.S. Armed Forces for one reason and one reason only: To protect the flag. The U.S. flag holds a special place in the hearts of most veterans.

The vet in your life probably has plenty of flags hanging up on the inside and outside of their home. But you can help them take things to the next level by providing them with a wooden American flag.

There are several different companies owned by veterans that specialize in manufacturing wooden American flags. Pick out your favorite one and give it to a vet so that they can show off their patriotism in a whole new way.

2. Dog Tags

Those in the military are required to wear dog tags at all times for identification purposes. Your loved one likely still has the dog tags they wore during their active duty tucked away somewhere.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t give them another set of dog tags to show your appreciation for them. You can have them customized to illustrate which war they served in and give them to them as a gift.

3. Journal

Veterans have so many interesting and important stories to tell about their time serving in the military. They have so many stories, in fact, that it can be hard for some veterans to keep track of all of them.

Why not help them organize their stories by giving them a journal and encouraging them to write their stories down? This is one of the gifts for veterans that will keep on giving.

Veterans will enjoy writing down their stories so that future generations can read them. They’ll also enjoy sharing their stories with those closest to them once they get them down on paper.

4. Bottle of Whiskey

What good is a great military story without a glass of whiskey by your side?

If you’re having a tough time getting a veteran to open up and share stories with you about their military service, a bottle of whiskey might be the key to doing it.

Bring over a bottle of their favorite whiskey the next time you pay them a visit to see how well it works. They’ll appreciate the gesture and will put the bottle to good use.

5. Cigars

You could argue that veterans shouldn’t smoke cigars, especially if they’re getting up there in age. But back in 2017, Richard Overton—who was the oldest living veteran until his death at the age of 112 in late 2018—swore by smoking cigars.

Overton smoked a dozen cigars every single day on his front porch while enjoying the final few years of his life. He said they were one of the keys to him living as long as he did.

If the veteran in your life enjoys a delicious cigar every now and then, set them up with a steady supply. You have a better chance of getting a story or two out of them when they have a cigar in their hand.

6. Military Challenge Coins

There is some mystery surrounding the challenge coin history. Many of those who served in the military keep the secrets surrounding challenge coins close to the vest.

But you shouldn’t let that stop you from picking up a challenge coin for someone who served in the military. You can find challenge coins designed specifically for those who served in one of the individual branches of the military.

7. Framed Photo or Photo Book

Does your loved one have a great photo of them serving in the military? Take it and have it framed for them so that they’re able to put it on display in their home without it getting damaged.

Or better yet, take a bunch of photos from your loved one’s time in the military and use them to create a whole photo book. In this day and age, it’s easier than ever to create a photo book from scratch. Give a vet a photo book that will make it easy for them to look back on their military days whenever they want.

8. Military Books

If your loved one enjoys reading and has shown an interest in military books, there are new ones coming out all the time. You can help them fill their bookshelves with recent releases like:

  • Waiting for Eden by Elliot Ackerman
  • Bring Out the Dog by Will Mackin
  • Finding Sgt. Kent by Raymond Hutson
  • The Fighters: Americans in Combat in Afghanistan and Iraq by C.J. Chivers
  • Rampage: MacArthur, Yamashita, and the Battle of Manila by James M. Scott

There is no shortage of military books available for veterans to read.

9. Donation

Does the vet in your life already have everything they could ever want in their home? Rather than giving them another gift that they’ll have to try and make room for, it might be a better idea to donate some money in their name to an organization that they feel strongly about.

Some good organizations to donate to include:

  • Wounded Warrior Project
  • Hope for the Warriors
  • Special Operations Warrior Foundation

Make a check out to one of these organizations to show your support for all veterans and not just the ones that are in your life.

Buy One of These Gifts for Veterans for the Special Vet in Your Life

It doesn’t matter if you’re buying a veteran a birthday present, a Christmas present, or a “just because” present. Each of these gifts for veterans will show how much you care.

Consider picking up one of these gifts the next time you’re looking for something special for a vet. The thought that you put into the gift will not go unnoticed.

Read our blog to find more gifts that would be great for vets and other special people in your life.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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