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Top 8 Christmas Gifts for Veterans

It’s time to order gifts for your family and friends. Here’s what to buy someone who’s served

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Jeff Elkins
spinner image people hold up a welcome home sign as someone from the military stands before an american flag. the words aarp veteran report appear above the flag
Getty Images/AARP

You can subscribe here to AARP Veteran Report, a free e-newsletter published every two weeks. If you have feedback or a story idea then please contact us here.

Here is a selection from AARP Veteran Report of meaningful gifts for your favorite veteran.

A keepsake to pass to the next generation

My Life in a Book, $79 for one year of prompts plus the book

This is a program that sends questions to your relatives, asking them about important moments in their lives. They’ll respond to questions such as “What’s a big challenge you’ve overcome?” or “How did you spend time in nature as a child?” Numerous veteran families have enjoyed this present.

Mary Boles gave one to her uncle, a Vietnam veteran. “Wow. I totally didn’t expect his reaction. When he got the access details, he immediately called me and was thrilled about the opportunity,” Boles said. “He wasn’t sure how to get started with his own memoir. He immediately got to work.”

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A branch, conflict or rank-specific mug

Unit and Insignia Mugs, $26.69+

Skip the Mom- or Dad-of-the-Year mug this holiday season and opt for a more personalized gift that honors your loved one’s military branch or conflict zone. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Vietnam service, 18th Military Police Brigade and other specific emblems are among the various customizable choices. It might well prompt a conversation about his or her service over coffee.

The Veteran’s Creed

Wall art, $55.95

This poignant framed wall canvas states some core beliefs that many veterans share and is a gift that honors the spirit of service in uniform.

Pill stickers for your most practical gift recipient

Tooktake Stickers, $14.97 for multipack

Some people enjoy practical gifts. Anybody on a daily medicine regimen has experienced that feeling of, “Did I already take my pills? I can’t really remember.” These reminder labels, which are peeled off each time a pill is taken, are something the recipient will use daily. The company is hoping to collaborate with VA hospitals.

An American flag and mounting kit

Worry Free American Flag Set, $65

If your favorite veteran doesn’t yet have an American flag on display in front of the house, this easy-to-use setup would be a perfect gift to honor his or her allegiance and service. With additional options, such as a mourning ribbon or storage case, you can customize the gift as needed, as well as have the option to hang the flag at a 45- or 10-degree angle with a two-position bracket.

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Fitness gear with military causes at heart

Apeman Strong T-shirts, such as the “21 grams tee” and “Endure This Night”, starting at $30

It’s said the soul weighs 21 grams — and now there’s a shirt representing that. Apeman Strong fitness brand, giving a nod toward overcoming the hard stuff and coming out stronger, supports a number of military causes, such as Packages From Home and Navy Seal Foundation. Their “Endure This Night” shirt is a fan favorite among veterans, pointing to the purpose and drive that service people have to charge forward. The super soft shirts come in flattering athletic fits, are stretchy and available in multiple colors and sayings.

A pocket knife with a purpose

Wounded Warrior Swiss Army Knife, $20 to $50

This multipurpose tool from Swiss Army benefits the Wounded Warrior Project by giving back 5 percent to the cause. If you are on a budget, the classic model will do. But for a fancier version, check out the field master knife, with added tools like multiple screwdrivers and a can opener — sure to make them the kid’s favorite helper opening presents.

Hoop Earrings

“The Acacia” by Modern Gents, $59.95

Buying jewelry for family or friends can be a daunting task. Modern Gents sells a classic twisted hoop design, in a size that fits everyone, at an affordable price for 18-karat gold-plated earrings. The company offers a 30 percent discount to military personnel, including veterans, active duty and dependents. ​

You can subscribe here to AARP Veteran Report, a free e-newsletter published every two weeks. If you have feedback or a story idea then please contact us here.

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