Before there were shopping malls, Amazon, Etsy or warehouse stores, the holidays were filled with homemade gifts designed to show those you cared about how much they meant to you.
In that spirit and in the fact that many DIY gifts are much easier on the wallet than a midnight run to a big box store, here are 13 ideas to inspire you to get your holiday craft on – military style.
13 Military-Themed DIY Gifts for Friends and Family
The ideas are practically endless when it comes to ornaments. One of the cutest and easiest I have seen uses Scrabble tiles to create military service acronyms.
Top with a unit insignia or pin on rank or wings and you’ve got a great ornament for your own tree or the perfect new addition for your extended family and friends.
You can order letters in bulk from Amazon and other craft retailers. Make sure you use wood glue and don’t forget to add a note of holiday cheer and the year to the back.
Oh The Places We Have Gone – Map Art
Travel and relocation are just part of the military lifestyle. And they can make for a great gift too! If you’ve got a friend who is missing home, try mounting a cut out of their home city or state and having it framed.
A reminder of home can make being so far away feel a little less lonely.
Or try taking small cut-outs of places you know a friend has been stationed or maybe all the places you’ve been stationed together and glue them to flat glass marbles for magnets. This is the kind of gift that will let them think of you with every shopping list or school calendar they tack to the fridge.
Okay, so money isn’t the most personal of gifts, but if you’re gonna give it, try a little origami to make it more memorable. You can make it look like anything from an F-18 to a tank.
Military-style stencils are readily available and with a good brush, paint and a background, you can create gifts that are one of a kind. Try using the military alphabet to spell out a favorite word or someone’s last name on canvas or some reclaimed wood.
Love becomes Lima Oscar Victor Echo and a fun piece of art to hang on the wall.
Related: 9 Military Discounts for Those Who Love to Craft
Use Old Uniforms
If you’re good with a sewing machine, try turning old uniforms into teddy bears for your favorite military kid or repurpose them into an apron for a military spouse. You could also make a tote, a quilt, a wreath or even a stocking!
Cookies aren’t strictly military, but giving cookies is a long-standing holiday tradition. Give them a twist using fun military-themed cookie cutters like these.
If baking isn’t your thing or you are strapped for time, consider putting together some cookies-in-a-jar gifts and attaching a fun camo gift tag and tying on a military-themed cookie cutter.
This is a great idea if you are looking to make gifts for a whole bunch of people.
Plus the process is really easy. All you need is a print-out of your unit patch or insignia, some modge podge, a sponge brush and a ceramic tile. Make sure you let them dry completely, then add a holiday note and the date to the back.
Here’s an example of how great they look when you are finished. Here are instructions on how to do it. You can also glue 4 flat glass marbles to the back and your coaster becomes a trivet for the kitchen.