The last Monday of May means much more than just the unofficial start of the summer season. Every year, this day is observed as a holiday known as Memorial Day. However, unlike other holidays where you greet others with a “happy holiday,” this shouldn’t be done on this particular day. Instead, Memorial Day exists to honor heroes who have lost their lives in service, and there are several ways to do this. One includes giving gifts as tributes to veterans or families of fallen heroes.
If you’re thinking of getting someone something for this time for remembrance but are unsure what would be the perfect gift, read on to find Memorial Day gift ideas.
What is Memorial Day?
Memorial Day is an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May to honor those who have passed away while serving in the U.S. military. This day originated when citizens honored those who had fallen during the Civil War and was then referred to as Decoration Day. While Decoration Day was initially considered a day of remembrance on the 30th of May in 1868, it wasn’t named the official federal holiday we know now until 1971.
Things to Do on Memorial Day
There are different ways to commemorate Memorial Day. Some Americans visit cemeteries and memorials of fallen heroes, attend Memorial Day parades or concerts, or have family gatherings. Others choose to tour historical landmarks or museums, donate to relevant causes, or fly the American flag. You’ll also find people wearing red poppies as symbols of remembrance.
What people choose to do on this day really varies, but they all have the common goal to reflect on and honor the soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the country.
Heartfelt Gift Ideas for Veterans
For some, the best way to remember and appreciate soldiers is by giving a memorial gift to veterans who are still here. It’s a simple but heartwarming gesture to appreciate their dedication and service. If you know a veteran and would love to send them some gifts, here are some Memorial gift ideas you can consider:
Source image from Unsplash.com
As the name suggests, you can show how much you care for a veteran by giving them a care package. This package comprises a variety of treats or non-necessities that are gathered together in gift boxes or gift baskets to be delivered. For example, a care package could include delicious treats, like sweets or gourmet snacks, or it could be filled with skin care products.
If you have the time to pick out each product to include in your package, that would be a great idea, especially if you want to handpick items that you’re sure the veteran you know would love. On the other hand, if time’s a concern or you wish to make a random veteran’s day, you could always find some care packages in online shops that organize them for you.
Another excellent gift idea is a Zippo lighter. While it’s commonly gifted to smokers, your recipient doesn’t necessarily have to be one to appreciate this! Even non-smokers can find a Zippo lighter useful for various scenarios, like hiking or even just lighting candles at home. An authentic Zippo lighter is durable and built to last a very long time.
You can also make it more personal by looking for a shop that customizes Zippo lighters. Choose a design that would best suit a veteran. Some shops also have Army, Marines, Air Force, Navy, and other designs made explicitly for veterans.
If the veteran you’d want to give a gift to loves French cuffed shirts or appreciates minimalist styling, cufflinks are the perfect gift for them. You can look for cufflinks with the branch of service logo or an American flag design. It’s also a good idea to get cufflinks customized if you have a different plan in mind.
Finally, if your recipient is a whiskey connoisseur or just someone who enjoys drinking, you could get them a whiskey set. Usually, each set comes with a whiskey decanter, glasses, coasters, and whiskey stones, all placed inside a box. However, it would be better if you could find a personalized set that can allow you to choose a particular design to be engraved on the wooden box.
Memorial Day Gifts for Families of Fallen Heroes
Besides veterans, another group of people you could give gifts to are the families of soldiers themselves. Showering these families with love and support can also honor the country’s heroes. Here are some gift options for you to consider:
One of the most heartfelt gifts for families is a customized painting that honors their family members. There’s nothing like a meaningful gift to memorialize a person, as a single work can tell stories for years and years even when after they’re gone.
If you have a photo of the soldier, a commissioned artist could work on a portrait the family can display in their home. Alternatively, you can also think of a purposeful design that best serves as a remembrance.
Challenge coins are meaningful to both the soldiers and their families as these reflect the hard work and sacrifice throughout their military service. This is why families are beyond proud of these coins; some would display them to honor their loved ones.
If you know a family who might not yet have a display case or who would appreciate a new one, another excellent gift for you to consider is a coin display case or rack. Most are made of wood and are designed as racks to be placed on shelves or mounted on walls.
As previously mentioned, red poppies are worn on Memorial Day as symbols of remembrance. The poppy's symbolism originated from the poem “In Flanders Field,” written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, who saw red flowers growing on a battlefield after conflicts between opposing forces.
As a simple yet thoughtful gift, you can give military family members a poppy brooch as a way to express that you’re honoring their loved ones on that particular day. Many people sell these during days leading up to Memorial Day or on Memorial Day itself. Still, it would be best to look for ones beforehand, especially if you want a particular design to make it unique.
Other Ways to Show Gratitude and Appreciation
- Fly the American flag
- Volunteer for Memorial Day charity events
- Learn more about soldiers' experiences during service
- Watch documentaries or films about war or soldiers
- Write a letter for veterans or their loved ones
- Thank courageous soldiers or show respect for veterans
- Listen to stories of American veterans who are willing to share memories
- Create a makeshift poppy
As you can see, there are endless ways to commemorate the heroes on Memorial Day. Whatever you choose to do, whether it's giving gifts or volunteering time, just keep the holiday's core purpose in your heart.