The military balls are something we look forward to every year.  It’s time to break out of our professional wear and sweats and put on those nylons and perhaps some spanx. It is a time to dress up, get our hair done, and maybe our nails and make up too. While the dinner meal may seem to repeat itself, the time out to relax and enjoy your spouse and units company, it is still something many spouses look forward to every year.

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While it would be nice on occasion to forgo the ball gift and lower the ticket prices ($100 for the dry hotel chicken does seem a bit pricey), there have been some awesome ball gifts over the years. We asked other military spouses what their favorite ball gifts were (you know, aside from the 10+ wine glasses they move with) and here are few they shared.

21 Ball Gifts We Actually Want

Yeti cup – that cup will be reused and hand washed to preserve the logo for infinity!

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Christmas ornament – the Navy and Marine Corps balls are in the fall, so planning for the holidays is already on people’s minds – being able to pull out previous ornaments once a year and reflect on the years of military service is quite nice

HUGE coffee mug – because a big cup of joe is necessary for survival in this life, just sayin’

Umbrella with the unit’s logo – while this may not seem like the ordinary bar giftware, this practical gift is appreciated and useful

Wine Stoppers – not much of a departure from the usual wine glass but again, very practical

Location specific gift – if you are stationed in Germany – a German beer stein, if you are stationed in Okinawa – a sake set, kokeshi doll or shisa dogs (and these come in a pair)– these are beloved momentos from the overseas duty station where your friends quickly become your family. One spouse shared her favorite ball gift was a Iwo Jima statue that was made with sand from the famous beach – wow, talk about powerful and memorable.

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Moscow Mule Mugs – okay, so maybe we do like our barware – these unique glasses are a departure from the norm and enjoyed

Engraved Pen and Pencil set -practical tools for everyday life – yes, please!

An ax with the unit logo – what could be more representative of the can-do spirit of the military service than a manly weapon

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Engraved photo frame with photo booth with printed photo – getting the photo done there, and printed, and framed all within the same day means that ball photo will actually be printed and framed! Huzzah!

Vase – a practical and useful gift – just add flowers!

Engraved coin – this memorable gift with unit logo and information commemorates the ball without taking up much space in that moving box 10 moves later.

A purse holder – while this is a gender specific gift, who says you can re-gift this very useful gift to a friend who would use and appreciate it

Tervis tumbler – drinkware with multiple uses – we are all about that multi-use item!

An engraved lock – how many times do military families need locks? Well, for storage units, for the moving truck to move across country, for the foot locker, gym locker…the uses are enumerable.

Letter opener – Letter openers need to make a comeback, who wouldn’t feel like Lady Mary or Lord Grantham when using a sword or K-Bar letter opener to open the bills

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Pop sockets with unit logo – a functional item for those without the flip phone (Gibbs – it’s time to upgrade…)

Flask filled with an adult beverage – This prevents long lines at the bar, promotes table conversation and brings the dancing early – maybe leave some hot water and cocoa packets for those who want to fill theirs with non-adult beverages

Pocket Knife – another useful multi-tool, plus it is super handy when moving and unpacking all.the.boxes

Ceramic Coasters – Another item that can be used daily!

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Hydroflask bottle – No one knows it you put iced coffee, lemon water or that Costco margarita mix in there – this can be utilized all day, every day!


That’s enough ideas for the next 20+ military balls, and so much diversity! If I printed version of this list just happened to fall across the desk of the ball planning committee, we totally understand!

Need something to wear?
Check out our Ultimate Military Ball Look Book

21 Military Ball Gifts You Actually Want

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