The end of deployment is such an exciting time. When Homecoming gets closer, it stops feeling like an impossible dream and starts to feel more like a real event—an event that we need to plan for and celebrate!
For many military loved ones, planning for Homecoming can be a fun activity and a welcome distraction, especially near the end of deployment when it feels like time is dragging on forever. Some people plan out beautiful matching outfits for the kids. Others decorate the house and yard with homemade signs or patriotic décor. If you’re starting to plan for a deployment Homecoming, then get some fun ideas here!
Let me first add that there is no wrong way to do Homecoming. It’s all about what works best for you and your service member. Sometimes Homecoming happens in a huge group event for the entire unit, and you will be surrounded by hundreds of other families. Other times, it is just a quiet airport pickup. Often service members don’t have any specific expectations. They are usually just tired and want a hot shower and a homemade meal more than any kind of welcome back party or ceremony. So don’t stress yourself out trying to decorate everything or have the house looking perfect for them. If planning for Homecoming is fun for you, then go ahead and enjoy all the bells and whistles. But if it’s stressful to you, then keep it simple and don’t fret about the details.
Here are some Deployment Homecoming gifts that will make a service member smile:
Welcome Home gift basket: You sent so many care packages during deployment—for holidays, birthdays, and to mark every milestone that passed. When they requested snacks or toiletries, you sent their favorites. Since the military typically sends the message to stop mail about a month before Homecoming, you will have time to gather supplies for one more care packages. This is one they will receive at home!
Ideas for the welcome home basket can include their favorite snacks, treats, or drinks. Some spouses make homemade goodies, while others pick up fresh snacks from the store. It’s also common to include some toiletry items, since they may not have traveled with any of theirs. You’ll probably want a fresh change of all their products that were cleaned out of the bathroom months ago. So get a fresh toothbrush, deodorant, body spray or cologne, shaving cream, and razors. Finally, if your service member is into video games, then you can include a new controller or a new game in the basket as their Homecoming gift. After playing the same old games during their entire deployment, they will appreciate it.
Assemble a “beer cake”: For many service members, one thing they look forward to after deployment is relaxing at home and enjoying one of their favorite beers. So give them what they really want and celebrate the end of deployment with a beer cake! This is simply a fancy stack of their favorite beers (you can use cans or bottles) tied up with ribbon and maybe decorated with a few small American flags. You can find numerous examples and instructions on Pinterest. Pro tip: no matter how great your beer cake looks, the important thing is to have a few cold ones already chilled in the fridge.
Don’t forget that important step!
American flag from Patriot Home and Yard: If you’re looking for a patriotic gift to celebrate the end of deployment, then check out these beautiful handmade wooden flags from Patriot Home and Yard! They can be used indoors or outdoors (extra paint finish is applied for outdoor use) to bring some American pride into your home. I love how the wood has a natural rustic look, and the stars are cleanly beveled with a laser cutter. The colors are perfect and match a lot of the military décor in our home, haha. My husband brought back an American flag from one of his deployments many years ago, and he has proudly displayed it on the walls of every home since then. It makes a great gift to celebrate deployment that you can both treasure through the years.
Patriot Home and Yard was established by a couple who loves America and had parents serving in the military. Their first flag was a father-daughter project for the 4th of July. Now they make flags of all different sizes, and offer free shipping throughout the US. I’m currently hosting a giveaway of this 24×13 wooden flag on my Instagram page. You can enter the giveaway here. You can use the code SEASONEDSPOUSE to save 10% on any purchase on their site, through June 30.
So whether you prefer fancy Homecoming gifts or simple ways to say thank you, I hope these patriotic ideas will inspire you and help you prepare to celebrate a wonderful Homecoming with your service member!