In pop culture, dads are the repeat recipients of bad gifts. During the holidays and on their birthdays, they have gone down in history as the guy who is always in need of socks, an ugly tie, or a bad sweater.
The venerated veterans who work at USAMM put their collective brain power to work to create a list of the top 10 gifts for military dads. We should know. Many of us are dads, we’re veterans or we have dads who are veterans. We like to think we know what gifts military dads would like.
Below is the USAMM top 10 list of gifts for military dads in no order. Hopefully this list can help you as you set out to do some holiday shopping.
1. Golf Outing
Golf has exploded in popularity over the last couple of decades and it is more accessible for everyone. Back in the day, people had a choice, go to a golf course or visit a golf range. In recent years, modernized golf ranges for the masses have been built and the those are attracting more and more people to them. You don’t have to be a great golfer to enjoy a golf outing which makes this one of our top 10 gifts for military dads. These outings are affordable, and you can usually buy a gift certificate to present.
2. Cornhole Set
If you’ve never played cornhole, you need to get out more. This tailgate party and backyard favorite also has exploded in popularity in the last couple of decades. Game sets vary in quality and price, but they are also affordable making these gifts for military dads a great choice. If you really want to impress your military dad, there are companies that sell cornhole sets in military themes. Like the golf outing, this is a great way to spend time outside with your military dad.
We’ve mentioned this in previous top 10 list articles, but knives and multitools are great gifts for military dads. While many dads might love the utility of a multitool, there is a lot to be said for the simplicity of a single blade pocketknife. These can slide into their pocket, and some can clip onto their belt or pocket. Whatever their preference, these are practical and useful gifts for military dads that won’t break the bank.
Your military dad doesn’t need to smoke in order to receive a lighter as a gift. Lighters are phenomenal gifts for military dads especially when you can get the lighter customized with your dad’s name and maybe get his unit and service information added to it. If your military dad does smoke, this is a great way for him to light his stogies or other products. These can be a little pricier, but the old man is worth it.
If your military dad doesn’t drink alcohol, skip this paragraph. However, if your military dad appreciates a good stiff drink every now and then, nice bottles of his favorite poisons might make great gifts for military dads. Whiskeys, cognacs, wines, and beers (or any other type of liquor your military dad likes) will be well-received gifts for military dads. If he has served overseas, help him reminisce by presenting him with a bottle of something unique he used to drink when he was overseas (Soju, Ouzo, Apfel Korn, champagne).
Not all military dads smoke, but if yours does, cigars make great gifts for military dads. You can get him a fistful of his favorites, or a variety pack. If you really want to impress the man that imparted life lessons, buy him a small humidor with a few starter smokes, a cigar ashtray and a cigar cutter.
7. Oil Change
Yep, you read that right. There are plenty of quick oil change shops and buying a gift card for the military dad in your life will keep him from spending his free time working on his car or truck. Be sure he’s okay with this gift though because some men do not like anyone touching their rides, except for them. However, if your dad needs a break, these make great gifts for military dads.
8. Service Pride Items
Odds are pretty good that your dad had pride in his service. Everyone is different and shows their service pride in different ways, so it is important to know what kind of service pride gifts for military dads you can buy. Hats, t-shirts, decals, mugs and home items are solid choices for the military dad in your life. You can collect a lot of intelligence from your unsuspecting dad just by talking to him about some of the things he likes or paying attention to what he wears.
9. Shadowboxes/Coin Displays
Shadowboxes and coin displays are always homerun gifts for military dads. Everyone who has served has something to put in a shadowbox or in a coin display. Even if the dad you’re shopping for is modest, they can store items in a shadowbox for safekeeping. The boxes do not have to be put on a wall for display. Getting your hands on your dad’s DD Form 214, which normally includes all of the medals, badges and awards he’s been awarded by the military, is a great way to ensure that we he has earned is included in the shadowbox.
We agreed that the best gift to give a military dad is the gift of time. Buying something is great but spending time with your dad is even better. All of the items mentioned above make great gifts for military dads, but if you couple them with time spent with your military dad, that’s the best holiday gift of all.
Remember, your military dad not only is an integral part of your family he is also an integral part of the U.S. military, and he has likely endured a lot for the country and for your family. Give him your best this holiday season because he’s certainly given that to everyone else.