Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Gift Idea - For the Military Brat in Your Life

Can you believe that Christmas is just 9 days away? 9. Whew. Wasn't it just Thanksgiving? I haven't even had the chance to mail my holiday cards out. Eish.

Still shopping for holiday presents? Um, I am. And you're amazing if you've finished. Hats off to you. So for those still trying to find the perfect gift for the military brat in your life, I'd like to recommend a personal favorite . . .The Military Brat Challenge Coin.

Until a few years ago, I didn't know it existed. Challenge coins - yes. I mean, my father has kindly given me many throughout the year and I collect them proudly. And I'm a big fan of them and how they are used. (The story behind the origination of the coin is amazing, but that is for another post.) I have many. And to this day, I can still pick up my father's wallet and see a circular imprint. Ever new wallet gets one.

A few years back, one of my best friends Amanda Stangl, was kind enough to give me one for Christmas. We lived in Japan together, and she's the friend I've had longest in my life. I feel like I grew up with her, even though we met when we were 13 and only had 3 short years together.

She found it on the famous military brats website we love the most. I cried when she gave it to me. Too sentimental?

The words that appear on the front of the coin are so important: bold, adaptable, tolerant, and responsible. I've said it before and I'll say it again, military brats don't choose to become brats. It happens to them. But the best thing about being a brat, is learning to embrace each part of your military life. The moves. The foreign countries. The new languages. The constant change. The words on the coin are the code we live by.

Receiving that coin made me feel like I was finally like my father. And when he went to Iraq, I bought a coin for both my younger siblings Matt and Nicole. I wanted to remind them that they too deserve such an honor. Their dedication, support and respect to our father and our military family should be recognized and celebrated.

Until my father returned from Iraq, I carried my coin and his coin in my wallet. It helped me feel connected. And now, when I'm with my friends who are military brats, I never hesitate to call a challenge at a bar. After all, I now have my own duds.

If you have a military brat in your life and are looking for a stocking stuffer, or a special gift, I encourage you to give your loved one a military brat challenge coin.

Hugs to all brats around the world.

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