Being a service member is a challenging job. It's an excellent idea to honor their commitment whenever you can.
Whether it's their birthday, memorial day, new rank promotion, or another special occasion, you can make their day that much more special with a relevant gift.
These ideas are great even for people not currently serving in the military. You can give navy gifts to veterans, aspiring service members, teens in junior ROTC programs, or recipients passionate about military history.
Get a head start with these Navy-themed items and gift ideas.
Essentials for Living on a Ship
Does your loved one spend a lot of time seabound?
Some of the easiest (and most thoughtful) gifts are care packages for living life out on the sea.
First, write down a list of everything your recipient would need to feel more comfortable on a ship. You also need to check with the Navy to make sure which items you can (and cannot) include in a care package.
Basic essentials are a good start. Think about items the person uses frequently on a ship, like sunscreen, chapstick, socks, underwear, and moisturizer. They may need a new pair of flip-flops or another type of waterproof sandals.
Next, pack a bunch of Navy-approved snacks that travel well. Any type of dry snack is good, nothing that spoils easily.
Appropriate foods to send include:
• Trail mix
• Dried apricots
• Little boxes of raisins
• Mixed nuts
• Beef jerky
• Hard candies that won't melt (lemon drops, pixie sticks, etc.)
• Granola bars
• Mini boxes of cereal
You can also pack powdered drink mixes like Kool-Aid, Crystal Light, and protein powders.
You may be able to send dry cookies, as well, and cake desserts sealed in mason jars. Again, check and make sure your items pass the Navy care package test.
Navy Gifts to Relieve Boredom at Sea
There are inevitably going to be stretches of downtime on a ship. Next to their favorite essentials and snacks, pack a few travel games in your care package, as well.
Playing cards are always a good idea, especially if they love playing poker with their shipmates. You can also send other card game packs like Dungeons and Dragons, Magic the Gathering, and Pokemon cards. There are also baseball cards, basketball cards, and other kinds of sports trading cards to consider.
If you're going to send playing cards, don't forget to add poker chips to the package! Poker chips get lost in the shuffle of life, and your recipient would probably appreciate a replacement.
The popularity of challenge coins started in the military, and they're still handed out to this very day. Even better, you can easily customize challenge coins for Navy service members online. There are various challenge coin Navy designs to choose from, which is a great tip for Navy captains, as well.
Puzzle books are another good way to pass the time.
Does your loved one have a favorite type of puzzle?
You can always send sudoku books; these puzzles are challenging and come in varying difficulty levels. Crossword puzzles are still a popular choice. There are also word search puzzles, hangman, Bananagrams, and other classic word games.
Military Gifts for Writing Letters
Writing letters and sending packages back home is still a military tradition. Send your loved one the essentials they need to communicate with you via mail!
You could start with a stationery set that includes the following items:
- Pens and pencils
- Letter-writing pads
You could go on the hunt for naval-themed items relevant to letters and stationery. These items are also called nautical gifts.
Nautical themes feature the following designs relevant to Navy life:
- Ships and boats
- Vintage Navy uniforms (classic hats, etc.)
- Ship steering wheels (or helms)
- Life preservers
You can find all types of stationery with nautical-themed icons. This theme is also perfect for everyone from little kids to adult history buffs who love ships, oceans, and military themes.
Navy-Themed Items for Children of Service Members
If you're thinking of a gift for a child of a Navy member, you'll find plenty of nautical-themed toys and gifts.
For example, stuffed "sea" animals are a great idea.
Popular seabound plushies include:
- Sea lions
You can find a lot of the above animals at the Zoo and marine park gift shops. Your local party supply store likely carries balloons with similar animal themes. You can also find plates, party hats, tablecloths, and napkins with similar nautical themes too.
Are you throwing a birthday party for a service member's child?
Ask your local bakery to make a custom ice cream cake featuring the themes listed above. You can also bake your own Navy-themed cake complete with sea animal cake toppers, blue sprinkles, and Navy ship decorations.
Want to make it a themed party?
Check out all the classic Navy-inspired costumes at your local party supply store or costume shop.
Navy Retirement Gift Ideas
Is your loved one about to retire from the Navy?
Throw a party to honor all their years of military service. Of course, you need thoughtful gifts to match.
Custom challenge coins are always a good idea.
You can also order other Navy or military-themed commemorative gifts too.
- Commemorative coins (with display cases)
- Miniature busts of past Navy leaders
- Navy ship models with display cases
- Classic Navy memorabilia
- Collector's edition books about the Navy
- Navy flags
- Navy-themed glassware
The above gift ideas are perfect for Veteran's day. You may want to include family photos encased in nautical-themed picture frames.
You're bound to find nautical-themed wrapping paper to complete your Navy gifts.
Honor the Service Member in Your Life
Is a special occasion around the corner?
Celebrate a service member with a basket of thoughtful Navy gifts. Don't forget! These ideas are great for the kids of Navy families, Veterans, aspiring service members, and history buffs.
Check out the blog for more inspiration.