By Senior Airman Michelle Patten
Air Force Public Affairs Agency
Whether your Airman is stationed stateside or deployed to a remote location, the holidays are a special time of year. For many Airmen, the gift they really wish for is to spend time with family and friends. If this isn’t possible, or if you just want to make the holidays extra special, here are some ideas about what may be on your Airman’s holiday wish list.
Is your Airman a triathlete or likes to play pick-up basketball on base? In this case, a fitness gift may shape up to be the perfect present. Even if your Airman isn’t a star athlete, increasing fitness or scoring higher on a physical training test might be on his or her New Year’s resolution list. Race enthusiasts might also enjoy a race bib and medal holder to display the fruits of all their hard work. If you’re crafty, you could even try your hand at making one from scratch.
Some ideas for gym buffs are gym bags that meet Air Force regulations or even seeing if the local base offers personal training gift certificates. For dorm dwellers, compact fitness equipment like yoga mats and kettlebells always make great gifts. Sorry, we can’t help with figuring out how to wrap that kettlebell though!
If your Airman is deployed for the holidays, it can be especially challenging for the whole family. One way to make the time away from home easier for your Airman is to spread some holiday spirit through a care package. Liven up morale of his or her whole unit by sending small and simple holiday decorations. Another fun idea is coming up with a theme for your care package, and decorate the inside of the box with wrapping paper. You may even extend the theme to what you put in the box like a “12 Days of Christmas” box with 12 small presents with each tied to a line from the song.
For the contents of a care package, consider sending what isn’t readily available to Airmen at their deployed location. Things like their favorite brand of shampoo or snack may seem small until you can’t get it for months at a time. If you’re able to send enough to share with other Airmen in the unit, you’ll spread holiday cheer even further!
The military provides Airmen with great opportunities to be stationed all over the world. An assignment to a faraway land can also make going home for the holidays expensive. If your Airman’s Air Force adventure takes him or her across the country or around the world, think about sending a heart-felt reminder of family and home. Whether it’s Mom’s special shortbread cookies that have been carefully packaged or Vermont maple syrup from their hometown, send Airmen a taste of home that they can’t find in local stores.
Another idea for a globetrotter is to gift something that will let them enjoy their new surroundings; anything from a guide on Italian art history to a Japanese cookbook could work nicely.
Ultimately, the old adage that it’s not what you give, but the thought that counts, is true. Even a phone call, video chat or letter reminds our loved ones that we are thinking of them during the holidays.
Note: For Airmen at basic military training during the holidays, it’s definitely better to hold off on sending anything besides cards or letters unless you want your Airman to spend lots of time perfecting their push-ups!
What are some of the best gifts you’ve given or received?