10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Jan 16, 2008
We have been getting a lot of questions about gifts for our future Mid--Christmas, HS graduation, etc. Any ideas besides $$? Would like to hear from current Mids about anything that is useful....also what they like to receive in their care packages from home.... Thanks. :smile:
Thanks for asking this question. I was wondering the same thing for my my son too who will be a plebe this summer. One thing I have thought about for graduation is - we are considering a graduation party with a no gifts please, but at the party give out his address along with a list of things that would be nice in a care package. This might be tacky but atleast it would eliminate items that would not get used or thrown away - not to mention the extra postage that would be paid to ship the items. Just an idea.
We had son's graduation/going away party a week before I Day. We did not have his address yet. We were hoping to give it out to friends too. We took his picture with each friend or group of relatives at the party. We then had them write a message of encouragement on a 3X5 card. Some wrote jokes, which was great too. Each day during plebe summer I would mail a picture and the corresponding words of encouragement. That way he got mail regularly. The most popular item in the care package was Tiger Balm for sore muscles. We sent extra to share. At Parents Weekend, we had plebes come to us to thank us for it.
We had the same question and thought of Tide Stain Stick
They are issues Tide sticks, and didn't need us to send any. We did the same thing with the pictures of everyone at the party. We had his address, so I gave everyone there a strip of labels, and we had "sign ups" for care packages so they were evenly paced.

They main request during plebe summer was PICTURES, PLEASE!!!!!
I saw something on a thread last year about giving your plebe a certain kind of coat, a warmer version of the winter coat mids are issued...........perhaps some current mid moms will share info........
I love the idea of the photos with words of encouragement! We are planning a graduation party as well and this would work great! Icy Hot/Tiger Balm....great.
I believe the current class was issued the warmer Bridge Coat rather than the all purpose Gortex Rain/winter coat.

Careful on the number of care packages and what all you put in them. I have never seen so much thrown out as what was left from all the care packages that had been sent all summer. With 3+ in a room and all the relatives/friends and parents sending enough for all three made for way too much of everything. No need to send cleaning supplies as they are issued those.

Although they can not have a digital camera over Plebe Summer that is a great graduation gift that they can use at their party and then you can deliver at PPW. The also like digital video cameras. (we did that for Plebe year XMas)

Yard cards with money that they will be able to use once the Academic year starts. You order them online from

Gift cards to some of the local places in DTA - Subway, Moe's, City Dock Cafe, Starbucks. They love to get off the yard on Saturdays and this way they don't have to spend cash.

Also - like kids at civilian college they do need things from Bed Bath and Beyond or Target - Ironing board, iron, shower floor mat, better pillow and pillow case.

Light weight sleeping bag as most do not sleep "under the covers" but use a sleeping bag so they don't have to mess with the bed everyday. We got him a very light weight bag that packs way down and he can put in a drawer during the day. (or in the ceiling)
Light weight sleeping bag as most do not sleep "under the covers" but use a sleeping bag so they don't have to mess with the bed everyday. We got him a very light weight bag that packs way down and he can put in a drawer during the day. (or in the ceiling)

Ah, I think I have seen these in Land's End - like a traveler's sleeping sack. Good idea.:thumb:
Since we are talking about parties, would anyone care to share what you are planning on serving, table clothes, etc... I am kicking around several ideas, but I think we will do a BBQ pork and grilled chicken. Can't decided if I want to hold it in doors or out under tents. Of course there will be a cake with the USNA seal. Thinking about blue table clothes with gold overlay square. Center pieces - no idea.
DTA gift cards

"Gift cards to some of the local places in DTA - Subway, Moe's, City Dock Cafe, Starbucks. They love to get off the yard on Saturdays and this way they don't have to spend cash."

Add Ben and Jerry's to above DTA franchises.

Look up "Westfield Shoppingtown Annapolis," which is the real name of the Annapolis Mall that no one uses, and see what food franchises are there. Plebes always roam the mall on Saturdays, gift cards in hand.

Ditto advice on "too much" food; coordinate and space it out. Great advice on the Yard Card. They can get their own junk food at the Mid Store.

The all-wool bridge coat was the standard issue for many years to junior officers. Mine from 1977 is still in great shape and wearable (replaced gold officer buttons with plain buttons to remove uniform status). Mids had a bridge coat, reefer (pea coat) and black raincoat with removable liner. A few years ago, "they" decided to combine the raincoat and overcoat concepts to produce a Gortex lined o'coat. Looked rumply, wasn't as warm, didn't wear well. Now they are back to the old all-wool o'coat, I think. Let your mid tell you what he/she needs.
We are planning a party too the evening before high school graduation. Recently, when we were looking for "Senior Baby" pictures for his yearbook, we came across a lot of photos of him in sailor suits. His grandmother used to send lots of sailor-type outfits. We are planning to do a collage of those photos including one of his casual graduation shots with him holding a Navy hat. Snapfish offers collage posters. We want to focus on his high accomplishments as well so we are mostly using his high school colors in the decorations. As hard as it is, we are trying to live in the present and cherish all the days that are left of his senior seems like the time since February 1, 2008 has just flown by (because of all the deadlines, essays to write, and the waiting) BUT we still have one last baseball season to get psyched about.

I had thought about doing the whole Navy theme, but we didn't want to minimize all the wonderful memories from high school either. I will probably sneak a few anchors in there somewhere.

As far as food, we are having all my son's favorites---ribs, shrimp, corn bread, collard greens, my husband's potato salad, peach cobbler...
I like the Annapolis mall idea gift cards too. My son is all about the FOOD!
I never really post in the USNA board (USAFA Class of 2013 appointee), but I saw this thread and was interested. Here's my list, some of which I have... I work at Best Buy and get a great employee discount.

-Digital Camera
-Watch (Casio G-Shock solar is nice, never have to change the battery, but it is bulky)
-Mountain Bike and Snowboard (More Colorado Springs oriented)
-Printer (Scanner/copier/fax/printer)
-External Monitor (Usage varies on rules...)
-New Cell Phone (I'm waiting for the Alltel-Verizon Merger)
-New Wallet/Money clip (Durable, stylish, and waterproof :biggrin:)
-Automatic Deposits into Armed Forces Bank account (yeah, let's see how long that lasts...)
-A pair of Aviators (required for Basic at USAFA ;) )

I can probably think of more, and if I do I'll post them for you parents.

I'll be buying a lot of this stuff, but hope to get some of it through Christmas/Graduation.

Oh yeah, I forgot. My parents got me a giftcard to shooting range for my birthday (I've only fired a gun once before that). That was pretty cool, and it really surprised me.
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The Georgia USNA Parents Club offers a day before IDAY where all appointees can go to a Gun Club and be instructed on the use of USNA Weapons. Current Mids and some graduates are there to help.

Forgot about Ben and Jerry's. Did not think of the mall as mine did not go to the mall as a plebe too often - was not into taking the bus out there - likes to frequent DTA where he could walk, or go to Sponsor house. Girls will love a gift certificate to the mall for a hair salon, nail shop, and Vicky Secrets.

Lands End, LLBean, REI, Bergans of Norway (only actual store in US is in Seattle however they are online and the store will ship across the US) all have light weight sleeping bags. Just be sure it packs down well so they do not have a storage problem.

I would weight on the Printer until you see what the Mid Store is carrying. You want to get a printer which the Mid Store has the ink cartridges so that they do not need to get to Best Buy or Office Depot as usually when you run out you need ink really soon!

Can't have a watch over Plebe Summer so that would need to stay home like the Camera until PPW.
Ah, shooting range gift certificate!!! What a great idea....we have one just a little ways away from here. Great idea! Thanks for all the suggestions!
I wish my parents were like this. They basically said, "you are going into the military, so we aren't babying you anymore. Do things yourself." hahaha. But reading all this shows how much parents really do care about us. (except mine of course).
I also agree that the shooting range certificate is a great idea!
Cash is a good gift.

On the printer- the one purchased in the mid store expired shortly after its one year birthday. He took care of ordering one on line to replace it.

We did not give his address out to everyone who knew him. He only wanted care package from us, sister and girlfriend. Even now he has us on a schedule to send him stuff- storage is an ongoing issue.