We are having a small cookout for my cousin who is leaving for the Army in September. What would be a nice gift for him?
By MaggieGrace from Pittsburgh, PA
I'd think something small that he could take with him. If he doesn't have an I-pod to, listen to music, then this would be the ticket. Also, Books! I'm wondering, Does Amazon have an "account" you could set up where you put in $50 or $100 in & he could order any books he likes & have them delivered to him wherever he goes? Also, with Amazon, I bet he could order other things that he can't find if he's stationed someplace remote. Does he have a nice wallet? How about a little E-key chain that you or he can load with family pictures! Anything small that can relieve his boredom & remind him of family, friends & happy times. If he's going into boot camp, he won't have but a VERY small area to keep his personal things.
* When my son joined the Air Force, in the beginning he had a pretty hard time being away from friends & family. The very best thing you can do for him is to write him every other day when he's in boot camp. I did this for my son & I'm sure it's what kept him sane! Be sure to send lots of photos. There's nothing like (real non-electronic) mail from friends & family to keep a solders spirits up!
A good luck charm to keep on his person while away would be a nice gift.
Phone cards so that he can call family and they will be prepaid... or a pay as you go cell phone with time on it. Often you can get a free phone if you buy certain amount of minutes from Trac-phone.
Be sure to get his address and send cards, letters and packages of cookies and goodies he cannot get where he is and enjoyed at home.
I recently went to a Ross store, and they had a wallet sized digital photo book that held 100.00 photos and ran on a small battery. You have to have someone savey to upload the photos, but it's a great gift.
I would certainly make sure he has a small bible. Even if it is just a new testament, but the whole bible would be a great gift. Even if it is not a top priority right now, it may become much more dear to him as he matures, or someone else might draw some strength from it at a moment of need. Just a thought from a mom who has had sons in the service.
The Bible is a good idea, but the Gideons give a Bible to every recruit...also there is a military organization that takes donations and they distribute Bibles also.
The phone cards are the best I think, even if stateside. When they get deployed overseas to a battle situation they don't have access to PX's. Check the soldiers websites and send packages when you can! We send regularly to our deployed boys/girls in Afghanistan and Iraq/Iran!
The best thing to get them "no kidding" is a black permanent marker to label all the new clothes he will get.
Don't get him anything BEFORE he goes in. Anything he takes with him will be confiscated. The Army will give them the stuff they want them to have. Wait until after boot camp to send him anything.
An address book with everyone's addresses and phone numbers, including area codes is a good idea (pocket size). Also, a blank pocket size pad of paper and maybe a pen.
Phone card, phone minutes, song downloads if he has an Ipod. Or a homemmade Gift cert for regular "care packages-" from home-maybe every relative could pick a month to send one?
Everyone has great ideas, but I'll add mine anyway: a magazine subscription. It'll guarantee at least one item of mail on a regular basis, and I personally highly recommend both Reader's Digest and Guideposts. Ellery Queen and Our Daily Bread are also excellent. All are relatively small and easy to fit into a duffel bag.
I'd also suggest you publish his address to family and friends and encourage them to write regularly, too. (I say "too" because I *know* you'll write.) There's nothing more demoralizing for a young soldier than to go to mail call and hear everyone's name but your own. (I know this because my brother and sister told me. They, as well as my own son, were all active Marines at one time. Thankfully, I learned from the past and was a better correspondent for my son than I'd been with my siblings)
Good ideas all around. If your cousin is enlisting, he will inevitably spend time in boot camp and technical training right at first. If he's stateside, most of what he might need is available at the PX.
I guess my thought is more for when he'll be deployed: a nice picture of family; I carried a picture of my husband and I while I was deployed each day on my neck pouch (with my money and IDs). I can't tell you how many times I pulled it out to look at it when I needed a boost. The picture it totally dog-eared and worn, and it's my favorite memento of that time.
Deployed troops usually get a lot of things like playing cards, magazines, books, candy, snacks, toilitries, etc sent from either home (and everyone shares) or from various organizations. Those things are awesome and much appreciated, but they are fairly easy to come by.
I like the idea of something a little harder to come by in a deployed zone; something electronic like digital music. I'm not plugged into music 24/7, but even for me, my mP3 Player was a lifesaver for me when I was deployed. If he already has one, I'd suggest a gift card to Amazon or iTunes so he can download a bunch of songs before he goes. That may be challenging for him to do once he deploys (or is in the throes of boot camp, if they even let him have it there).
Go in as a group and purchase a prepaid phone card as calls are costly, and this is something he/she can carry easily. Magazine subscriptions are greatly appreciate. Some stationary and an address book and maybe print out some address labels for people he/she would write too often and stamps to mail them.
Lots of great ideas the best thing is to write often and send funny pictures something to keep them upbeat while so far away. And tell your cousin, for me. Thank you for serving.
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