Whether it is an upcoming birthday or just looking ahead to the holiday season, shopping for gifts is usually a real challenge.
It can seem nearly possible to find a present that a person will actually love to use, especially one that fits with your budget. Sometimes, when it comes to veterans and active service members in your life, the shop for the perfect gift can feel even more challenging.
After all, there is also the one pressing question: should you buy something that honors their sacrifice, or something that does not make them feel “othered” or singled out on a special day?
The answer to that question will differ with every veteran. That said, there are plenty of gifts available that are valuable and useful, while also acknowledging and honoring a veteran’s service.
There is no reason why you should be greeted by confused stares or fake gratitude the next time you present a loved one with a gift that you bought. Instead, you can leave them completely impressed by a gift that is as respectful to their service as it is useful and practical. Check our handy guide of five affordable, quality presents for any veteran in your life:
Rags of Honor
There is no better way to respect a veteran than to buy them a gift from a company that is owned and operated by other veterans. By supporting entrepreneurial veterans, you are sending the message that veterans everywhere can pursue their dreams and accomplishing anything after transitioning to civilian life.
Rags of Honor is a print-screening company that is committed to employing veterans and helping solve the tragic issue of veteran homelessness and poverty through grassroots relief operations.
Not only does Rags of Honor offer well-paying jobs for veterans in need, but they also provide educational support and other resources to help vets have a smooth transition into civilian life. At Rags of Honor, you can find comfortable, fashionable apparel including sweatshirts, casual tees, and even an athletic line. You can also make custom orders if you know the exact print that would be perfect for your loved one.
The only downside? Rags of Honor is becoming so popular that they are receiving a very high volume of orders, so your order may be delayed in its arrival. For this reason, it is best to order gifts early, rather than treat Rags of Honor as a last-minute fix.
Price range: In general, tee shirts cost around $25, whereas sweatshirts will sell for about $40
Where to shop: You can buy Rags of Honor apparel directly through their online store.
Go for something classy and classic, like bronze military medals
The U.S. Mint is a great one-stop shop for all kinds of gifts, from holiday celebrations to honoring a veteran gearing up to leave the military.
The mint sells a wide range of medals that commemorate different conflicts and military branches. Made in beautiful bronze, various medals are sold at three inches or 1.5. Produced right in the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, this timeless gift represents patriotism, pride, and respect for our military.
Price range: Depending on size, medals range from seven to fifty dollars.
Where to shop: If you are fortunate enough to be in Philly, you can always drop by and shop in person. Other online and in-person retailers may have medals for sale, but to ensure you can find the exact medal that you need, you can shop online at the Mint’s website.
Be fun, buy a bullet bottle opener
Yes, it’s a bottle opener—but it is also a .50 Caliber brass bullet.
With a distinctive look and a price that’s friendly with most budgets, you cannot go wrong with gifting a friend this handy bottle opener.
What’s even better is the fact that the company that produces it, Bullets 2 Bandages, donates 15% of net profits to veteran charities.
Every bottle opener is made from a military bullet that has been fired, making it a fun and memorable memento. However, this also means that there are some drawbacks: it is not recommended that you bring any products made from bullets to airports or across borders, as authorities may see it as a weapon.
Price range: There are bottle openers available for as low as $20, although most sell for around $30
Where to buy: You can order Bullets 2 Bandages gifts directly online here.
Support veterans with Sword & Plough bags
Another organization with a mission, Sword & Plough is an American, veteran-owned company that donates ten percent of its net profits to veteran-related charities.
Created by two sisters who were born into a military family, Sword & Plough makes stylish, high-quality bags. From casual tote bags to handbags and clutches that could put high-fashion designers to shame, this company sells bags for absolutely anyone. Even the least fashion-conscious veteran will love their durable travel bags and backpacks.
Not only does Sword & Plough employ veterans, but they are also an eco-friendly company that reduces waste by using recycled military surplus materials to produce their bags and packaging.
Price range: Certain products, like small travel kits, sell for around $50, whereas most bags sell from $100-$250
Where to shop: You can visit their online store here.
Immortalize a family memory with Fracture
If you are looking for a stylish, sentimental gift, then Fracture might be a company worth looking into.
Through Fracture, you can take a beloved memory and immortalize it on a sleek, glass print. The process is easy. You simply upload a photograph, and Fracture will produce a sturdy, 3/32-inch glass print, ready for hanging. The beautiful glass designs can make a gorgeous addition to any room and can turn your memories into unforgettable art.
Price range: Small prints start at $25, with extra-large designs selling at $135.
Where to shop: To get started on your Fracture gift, you can visit their website.