We spend a lot of time roaming the aisles at the Exchange hunting down holiday presents for our spouses. And our spouse's parents, our parents, our grandparents, our siblings, our closest friends, our kids, our great-aunt-bertha-who-always-expects-something... and here's the thing: There are only so many branch sweatshirts you can buy them.
So we had to start afresh - and on a budget. Here are our favorite gifts for our spouses and military family members - all under $20 - perfect as presents or stocking stuffers for everyone on your list.
For The Service Member:
If your service member is anything like ours, then anything that might indicate an extra dose of big bad manliness goes a long way. Mugs that look like grenades. Aftershave that smells like whiskey. Hand drills and screwdrivers that fit on their key chains so they can fix stuff wherever they are. Things like that are always a big hit - and for anyone deploying, TDYing soon, or headed to the schoolhouse, we like to add a few items to make Away feel like Home - a single-serving crock-pot (you can even make real, edible meals in it on deployment!), a rice cooker (we have a whole guide for how to replace MRE's with a rice cooker and send meals in a box that will make your service member hungry and everyone else drool), and body wash to smell like a real human again.
Top: Grenade mug ($16.49), Krave jerkey available in tons of flavors like chili lime and black cherry barbecue ($7), whiskey aftershave ($17.95). Center: Crock Pot lunch crock ($19.99), handpainted Grill Sergeant sign ($20), Black + Decker rice cooker ($15.99). Bottom: Gimlet hand drills ($13.95), Keychain screwdriver set ($8.95), Every Man Jack body wash ($6.99).
For the Family:
Because mom really doesn't need another ARMY MOM sweatshirt. She already has two. (Who are we kidding? We've been buying those for years. She probably has a whole closet full now.) Instead, we like more original military-pride presents: one-of-a-kind handmade ornaments, maps to show off where we've been, snow for those of us stuck in the tropics. We can't resist the baby cuteness if there's a baby in the family, and Chatbooks! Well, we're in love. Our new favorite photo albums. (The price is JUST right.)
Top: Infant ACU hat ($20), Chatbooks (60 pages for $6.00). Bottom: Scratch-off map perfect for showing where you've called home ($20), US Army Christmas Ornament and many more by branch ($6.99), Snow in a Can ($8). *And for those of you in the snow, there's a great sno-art kit! Markers for snow! Who knew?
For the MilSo
Arguably, we shouldn't just put MONTHLY WINE SUBSCRIPTION at the top of our wish lists... but, you know, if Santa's listening...
Clockwise from top: Half-full Positivity glass ($7.99), Days until Daddy Comes Home customized countdown ($19.99), A Soldier Doesn't Fight Because sign ($19.99), and personalized military family car stickers... because we see them everywhere but never know where to buy them! (Starting at $5.99)