What to gift to the ex-military? Psychological factors


Military Appreciation Month runs from May 1 to May 31. Armed Forces Day in the United States of America is celebrated annually on the third Saturday in May. Independence Day – July 4. Veterans Day is November 11. National Liberty Day is February 1. These and other holidays, directly or indirectly related to the military theme, are an opportunity to give a gift to both active and retired military personnel throughout the year.

One would think military people are unpretentious, so choosing veterans gifts should not be difficult. But this contains a paradox: by the nature of their service, even in retirement, veterans are always ready for surprises, but in the specialty of gift giving, their universality can find a problem for the donor. To solve this paradox – how with a gift to surprise a person who is almost impossible to surprise – shared his expert opinion with us, a consultant from the military-themed online gift store Gala Xate.

Gift as a token of appreciation for service

The right gift for an addressee with a military background is essential to understand his professional and personal qualities. All of this is about the veteran’s life experience. There is one thing that all military personnel has in common: they feel that civilians do not fully understand the value of their work, which they do in the name of their country. It is therefore guaranteed that giving a veteran something that emphasizes your appreciation for his service will pleasantly surprise him.

When considering a gift addressed to a veteran, it is significant to consider the military branch he served and his achievements. It is possible that if you make a mistake with the gift, the veteran will feel neglected. To compensate for this, he will devalue both the donation itself and yours, no matter how sincere the sacrifice is. Based on our partner’s experience from Gala Xate, a category of gifts is guaranteed to hit the target. These will pleasantly surprise the veteran and thus symbolically tell him — thank you for your service.

Price or value

Consumer mass culture imposes on us Psychological the idea that the more expensive the gift, the more care we show toward the veteran. But it’s quite the opposite. If such a trick of substituting value for the price works with civilians, then this does not work for the military. It may seem to the latter that they are paid off with expensive gifts. In fact, the joy of a gift is not related to its value. Of course, costly gifts can be given to the military, but you need to understand in advance what impression the price of the gift will make on the recipient – what if the cost of the donation will overshadow its value?

Ideas for military gifts:

  1. Army flask.
  2. Purse with personalized engraving.
  3. Thermal mug.
  4. Shoe care kit.
  5. External hard drive.
  6. BBQ set.
  7. Duffel bag.

If you consider this feature, you could give a veteran a stylized flag of his military unit or a doormat with a pattern of the flag of his rival. The addressee will be made clear that you share his values by this.

Time and place

When choosing a gift, we imagine how much the recipient will be delighted with it. As a rule, in the selection process, we overshadow such circumstances as the place and time. But it’s worth thinking about. The fact is that while it is customary for civilians to publicly give gifts unless it concerns too intimate partners or secret relationships, then the military prefers to receive donations in private.

The choice of time for donation, then the moment of its peak of the recipient’s daily activity, is best suited. This approach leaves the veteran, especially if he is of advanced age, time to go through all the intense emotions to sleep peacefully at night.

Usefulness or beauty

This dilemma baffles most gift choosers. The idea that military men are practical people will help you escape the impasse. But reasonable does not always mean material. For example, you are faced with the choice of presenting a battle painting to a veteran on his birthday – beautiful, valuable, and significant? — or a subscription to a streaming educational platform – useful?

Your choice may depend on perspective: if you want to highlight a veteran’s past accomplishments, give him a painting, but if you intend to guide a veteran to future achievements, then the obvious choice is to subscribe to an online educational course.

Originality or sameness

Originality in mass culture is elevated to a cult. Everyone and everything strives to be original – this is good, but only for civil life. For the military, originality is not an end in itself. For them, the opposite is true – they care about sameness as it is effective.

Original ideas for veterans’ gifts:

  • Hourglass.
  • Firearms in a bottle.
  • Ticket to fly to Mars.
  • A book in an exotic language.
  • Starring in a documentary.
  • Living statue.
  • Acting courses.
  • An empty diary of the commander.

In the case of choosing a gift for several veterans, imagine that you committed a crime in the eyes of the civilian – they were all given the same gifts. Original? Yes. But with the help of the same presents, you will show the highest value for the military – emphasizing their unity.

Common interests

A win-win gift connects you, the giver, with the recipient, says psychology professor Elizabeth Dunn. Based on this consideration, imagine you are buying a gift for yourself, that gives you a reason to relax, work or have fun with the present recipient.

As such a gift, you can present tickets to a football match, concert, or cooking class. Such a gift has a subtext – you give not just a joint pastime; you give emotions, and an impression is what connects friends.

Life hack as a resume

Veterans are special people. These are the titans on whose shoulders, without exaggeration, the United States of America stands. And this is not only about geography but also about values – democracy, freedom, and equality. This is why, when choosing a gift for a veteran, you need to emphasize the importance of their service to the country.

If the above criteria did not help you pick a gift, then you have one last way to avoid making a mistake. The military people are sincere. Directly ask the veteran what he would like to receive as a gift from you. If a person feels your sincerity, that you are trying to do the best you can, he will be grateful for your efforts. “The important thing is that when selecting a gift, you think about a person, which means you become closer to him,” our friends from Gala Xate observed.