MilLife is full of milestones. Whether your servicemember gets a promotion or another PCS order, it’s important to memorialize this chaotic, exhilarating, and beautiful life we live as MilSpouses.
While some have a dedicated craft room full of DIY creations, others prefer to purchase mementos from a professional artisan. No matter how crafty you may be, there is no shortage of ways to memorialize special Military milestones.
These milestones will look different for every Military Family. From homecomings and deployments to pregnancies and cross-country moves, here are five ways to remember those special moments.
1. Make a Scrapbook
Scrapbooks are an easy, DIY project that allow you to piece together your memories and give them your own personal touch.
Craftier MilSpouses who want to take their time can create their own paper scrapbooks and order prints, while others might opt to create their books digitally and have hard copies delivered to their doorstep.
If you’re creating your own scrapbook, you’ll need to print out your photos, whether you print them at home, get them printed in a store like Staples or CVS, or order prints online. Once you have your desired pictures, it’s time to organize and caption.
Although ordering supplies on Amazon can be handy, sometimes it’s advantageous to choose your decorations in person. Take one look down the scrapbooking aisle at the craft store and you have an arsenal of colorful paper, stickers, and cutouts to help bring color and personality to your memories. You can also use a company like Project Life which offers custom memory books and cards to create a clean, concise representation of your Military milestones.
2. Create a Memory Box
While perusing the aisles of your local craft store, you might also notice a collection of wooden boxes with glass afixed overtop. These memory boxes, also called shadow boxes, are another great way to commemorate events or milestones. They, however, allow the addition of larger items like badges, medals, pins, and coins. Military personnel tend to collect a lot of these throughout their years of service!
A few creative ideas for Military Spouses in particular include:
- Keys from the various houses or apartments in which you and your spouse have lived
- Coins from different states or countries to which military life has taken you
- Military medals or badges
- Birth certificates, announcements, or other important documents
- Pictures or drawings
- Pieces of clothing
Once you’ve assembled your collection, you now have a meaningful decoration to add to your home (wherever home may be at any given time).
3. Compile a Video Montage
Many Military Spouses have pictures or video footage from Military moments like homecomings or deployments. Using editing software to string them together is a creative way to digitally commemorate those important milestones.
Simple programs like iMovie and Wondershare Filmora allow you to upload photos, videos, and even music and sound effects to create a heartfelt Military montage. More advanced video editors might have access to Adobe After Effects or Final Cut, which allow for more robust editing, transitions, and sound effects.
These slideshows and videos are great assets to play in the background while you’re entertaining or throwing a Military-related gathering — although, some MilSpouses prefer to keep these creative pieces to themselves. Whenever you’re feeling anxious or just need a boost of nostalgia, hitting the play button on these works of art can make all the difference.
Have you ever thought about wearing your special moments? Creative entrepreneurs on sites like Etsy make it easy to keep memories and milestones close through custom jewelry.
Here are a few of our top picks:
- Custom birthstone necklaces. Shops like Silveristic and QQ47 create custom pendants that have both you and your spouse’s birthstones.
- Latitude/longitude jewelry. Artisan entrepreneurs like Nandi Jewelry and ThePitAPat are able to engrave your latitude and longitude coordinates on jewelry so you and your spouse are with each other every step of the way.
- Initials of family members. Give every family member a piece of jewelry with everyone’s initials so you feel close even when you’re apart. Shops like MondayMonarch and PhaedoraJDesigns make this possible with just the click of a button.
5. Home Decor
If you need a focal point for your living room or a motivational mug for your morning coffee, there’s no shortage of home decor that will keep your memories and loved ones close. Here are a few popular ideas from around the web:
- Wall hangings. If you’re among the thousands of Military Families who move every few years, a custom wall hanging from LittleCraftCo might be just what you need. You can select which branch of the Military and how many baseboards (or locations) you need. This stained wooden sign will give any home a rustic, cozy, and personal touch.
- Pillows. Another creative way to commemorate your Military moves is to have them printed on a pillow. Etsy shops like OneThursday offer made-to-order pillows that feature your family name, Military branch, and various locations. If you want to get even more personal, check out eugenie2, which will print custom handwritten note on a microfiber pillowcase.
- Coffee Cups. Last but certainly not least, MilSpouses can commemorate milestones or Military-related lifestyle quotes on coffee mugs and tumblers. Gift a former servicemember with this custom veteran mug or sip from this deployment survival mug when you’re feeling lonely or frustrated.
Keep in mind, any of these ideas can be DIY’d with a little elbow grease and a lot of YouTube!
No matter how you choose to commemorate your Military milestones, remember that you’re never alone. Regardless of how many scrapbooks and mementos we have, we have our freedom because of our servicemembers — and that’s something we’ll never forget.
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