A Holiday Homecoming: Gifts for Your Returning Military Loved One

1-171st GSAB returns to U.S.Recently, President Obama announced that troops stationed in Iraq will be brought home in time for the holidays. Moreover, the 33,000 additional “surge” of troops sent to Afghanistan in 2009 will be coming home by September of 2012. Military families across the country rejoiced at this news. Just imagine: Rather than having quality time with Daddy or Mommy squeezed into the span of a short leave, these kids would have their parents home for good – or at least for a good, long while.

However, the transition from military deployment to civilian life can be extremely challenging, both for military personnel and for their family members. Spouses may feel mixed feelings – elation at the prospect of enjoying time with their loved ones, but sometimes also resentment at losing the freedom deployment can provide. As in any marriage, money problems, rumors of infidelity and unrealistic expectations add stress to military reunions. And children face their own challenges when it comes to welcoming home their veteran parents. For instance, kids might openly express anger that Mom or Dad had to leave in the first place.

Military families can take a few steps to smooth out the return home. For instance, staying as up-to-date as possible on travel plans and making backup transportation arrangements will help avoid any frustrations on the day of arrival. A welcome home gift or dinner can also work wonders for relieving stress. Returning service members might have a few tokens of affection from the road, and their family members might appreciate joining together to provide a special return gift, such as a top-of-the-line multi-tool. Below, we’ve gathered a few gift ideas for veterans who are returning home from the battlefield.

Military Knives: Perfect for Camping, Hiking and other Adventures

Raptor Tactical/Field KnifeSure, nearly any adventuresome veteran appreciates a beautiful knife, just as he or she would respect any well-made weapon. Military knives, however, make most service members weak with admiration, for several reasons. First, military knives are extremely strong. Their blades are often coated with titanium, one of the strongest substances on earth. Second, military knives are lightweight. They often feature handles with cutouts; this design cuts down on unnecessary weight. Finally, in addition to superior strength and overall design, military knives often feature special “bells and whistles,” such as thumb studs that allow one-handed blade opening. Basically, military knives are the cream of the crop – just like your beloved service member.

Tactical Flashlights: Perfect for Professional or Emergency Use

HP21 LED FlashlightJust as high-quality military knives can help bridge the gap between deployment and home life, a military grade tactical flashlight makes a wonderful welcome home present. Several features distinguish a tactical flashlight from the average torch. First, quality of materials – a tactical flashlight is usually housed in a heavy-duty aluminum casing. Second, a tactical flashlight will have far more features. It may feature a focusing optic that allows the user to choose a wide, flooding light or a focused, narrow beam. Longer running time, more lumens, higher efficiency, beam distance – these are only a few of the advantages of having a tactical flashlight.

Multi-Tools: More than Meets the Eye

Black LED Pocket Pliers Multi ToolMost military personnel like to be prepared for anything. A multi-tool makes the perfect gift for the veteran who likes to be equipped for the unexpected. First-rate multi-tools offer an amazing array of attachments, including scissors, serrated and smooth blades, can openers, files and even LED lights. A multi-tool will give your favorite veteran enjoyment for years to come. Not only will your serviceman or -woman appreciate feeling prepared while on a camping or hiking trip; he or she will also love pulling out a multi-tool to save the day.

If your loved one is returning home from an overseas deployment this holiday season, consider giving him or her one of the gifts listed above. Military knives, multi-tools and tactical flashlights honor your veteran’s service while spurring him or her to new adventures on the horizon. One final word to those who hope for a peaceful, stress-free reunion: Don’t let your expectations ruin the day. If you’ve planned an elaborate dinner but your returning spouse just needs to crash, go with the flow. Value your loved one’s comfort over your own reunion expectations. Psychologists say flexibility is an invaluable tool for all members of a reuniting military family.

[ Photo by: Georgia National Guard, on Flickr, via CC License ]

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