NATO’s 2023 Holiday Gift Guide
NATO’s top picks for everyone in your life!
Finding the perfect gift can be stressful and time-consuming. Lucky for you, NATO has tips to help you find the right present for everyone on your list (spoiler alert: they’re all NATO-related). So without further ado, let’s unwrap!
For the fashionista: The NATO Hermès silk scarf
Commissioned in 1956 to be presented during the December North Atlantic Council meeting at NATO's Palais de Chaillot Headquarters in Paris, only 300 of these limited edition scarves were ever produced. All 300 were either donated or sold to NATO personnel and national delegations. Unfortunately, you may have trouble tracking one down, BUT if do you manage to get your hands on one of these collector's items, the fashionista close to your heart will surely thank you.
For the Do-it-yourself (DIY) expert: Duct tape
Perhaps more accessible (and certainly more affordable) than the Hermès scarf, duct tape is one of the most essential and versatile military inventions of our time. It was designed by Vesta Stoudt, a munitions factory worker and mother of two soldiers who served in the US Navy during the Second World War. Stoudt proposed an improved, waterproof version of the paper tape used to seal boxes of artillery shells and wrote a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt to promote her idea. Once the new tape was rolled out, soldiers discovered that they could use it to repair practically anything, and that legacy continues today. What better gift for the do-it-yourself expert on your list this year?
For the card player: A deck of US Army playing cards
In complex, high-stress military environments where decisions have to be made in a split second, it's not always easy to tell friend from foe. That's why the US Army developed a deck of playing cards featuring 54 NATO weapons systems – so that troops can learn while they play! A staple for troops in the field since at least the First World War, playing cards provide a release from the stress of battle, a sense of normalcy and an avenue for social interaction. They've also been used to pass information to troops behind enemy lines. This particular set of "NATO Proliferation Playing Cards" is actually available for download from the US Army's Central Army Registry website!
For those with a sweet tooth: A jar of honey
NATO's beekeeper, Bruno Harmant, harvests honey twice a year from the four beehives located at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. Just one of these hives can produce up to 25 kilograms of honey, a significant portion of which is left for the bees to use during the winter months. In November 2022, 350 jars of NATO honey were sold at the NATO Charity Bazaar and the profits were donated to Belgian and international charities. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also gifted a number of jars to ambassadors in the North Atlantic Council. So while it's unlikely you'll get your feelers on a jar of NATO honey, we do recommend this sugary treat for the person with a sweet tooth in your life!
For the music lover: A vintage album by a classic Christmas crooner
Bing Crosby is arguably most famous for singing the hit song "White Christmas" – the best-selling physical single of all time. Perhaps less well-known but also sung by Crosby was "The NATO Song". To celebrate the Alliance's 10th anniversary on 4 April 1959, Crosby was commissioned to create a short ode to the value of NATO as a defensive shield behind which free societies could flourish. The music lover on your list will be shocked and awed by the behind-the-scenes experience of Crosby's process that you get in this surviving demo track of "The NATO Song".
For the philatelist: Commemorative NATO stamps
The first NATO stamps were created in 1952 by Portugal and the United States. Since then, most Allies have released commemorative NATO stamps to celebrate various anniversaries and events over the years (France even held an exhibition of NATO stamps in 1959). The older stamps may be hard to track down, but the collector you love is worth it, right?
For the art and history lover: a Belgian tapestry
We know what you're thinking – "Tapestries are sooo 16th century" – but hear us out. In 1965, the Permanent Representative of Belgium to the North Atlantic Council, André de Staercke, unveiled Belgium's gift to NATO Headquarters in Paris. It was a traditional wall tapestry titled Le triomphe de la paix, designed and created by Belgian artist Roger Somville. Measuring 4.7m high and 13.3m wide, it was given pride of place in the conference hall because of its bright colours and allegorical resonance. It was returned to the Belgian government after NATO moved to its new headquarters in 1967, so unfortunately you can't gift this exact tapestry to that special someone on your list. But take this as inspiration in your hunt for the perfect piece!
For the shutterbug: A framed copy of NATO's "photo of the year"
2023: The Royal Lancers get back to their cavalry heritage by conducting mounted armoured reconnaissance with the Polish Territorial Defence Force's 2nd Lubelska (Lublin) Brigade. (Photo credit: The Royal Lancers, British Army)
Over the years, photographers across the Alliance have taken millions of pictures documenting candid moments of humanity, spontaneity and beauty during NATO activities. Now, NATO lets the public choose their favourite photo taken by a NATO or Allied photographer every year, via a social media poll. The winning photo is added to NATO: A History in Snapshots, which is comprised of one photo for every year of NATO's history. Perhaps you want to print and frame the photo from your shutterbug's birth year. Or maybe they'd prefer this year's photo. The choice is yours! (See more of NATO's high-res photography on our flickr)
For the adrenaline junkie: A skydiving adventure
Before you take off, watch this video of paratroopers from US 173rd Airborne for courage! The paratroopers took part in Saber Guardian 2017, a US-led exercise involving more than 25,000 troops from over 20 NATO Allies and partner countries. Captain Brigid Calhoun talks about what it's like to jump from a plane to help you prepare.
For the ski bunny: A trip to the Alps
Take inspiration from the Chasseurs Alpins, the French Army's elite mountain infantry unit. They'll tell you everything you need to know about surviving in the mountains. It's good information to have – even if you plan to stay in a cosy chalet!
So with a little something for everyone on your list (and since it's December and you're running out of time), trust NATO's 2023 Gift Guide to help you find the perfect present this year!