Last updated: September 06. 2013 7:45AM -

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(StatePoint) Supporting the troops is an important thing to do -- but sometimes it’s hard to figure out how.



Here are four easy ways to thank those who keep us safe every single day -- even if you don’t personally know someone serving. And with the holidays coming up, it’s the perfect time of year to do it, as many of service men and women are away from family.


Send A ‘Thank You’ Gift



This holiday season, some retailers are making it easy to give a personal “thank you” directly to the men and women serving the country. For instance, national retailer, Things Remembered, is helping people -- even those on a budget -- send unique, personalized gifts to deployed service members.



Things Remembered shoppers purchasing gifts for deployed military personnel will receive 25 percent off and free shipping on any personalized gift sent to an APO/FPO address. The promotion will run through November 20, giving plenty of opportunity to personally thank those protecting our nation in time for the holidays.



Even shoppers who don’t personally know any deployed servicemen or women can show their support. All Things Remembered stores will be featuring local deployed military members to receive gifts from their hometown neighbors.


Volunteer Your Time



Former service members stateside should also be recognized.



Show your appreciation for those who have helped protect our country by volunteering at your local Veterans Affairs hospital or nursing home this season, even if only for a few hours.



You are sure to meet some fascinating men and women and you’ll be bringing holiday cheer to those who may not have many visitors.


Give Blood



Giving blood through an organization like the American Red Cross can actually help troops hundreds and thousands of miles away.



Military units may depend on rush shipments of blood during times of need, and maintaining an ample supply of all blood types is crucial. Host a blood drive at your workplace or community center, encouraging others to give the gift of life this holiday season.



To find a blood drive or donation location near you, visit www.redcrossblood.org.


Be Vocal



Encouraging others to remember our deployed troops is one of the most wide-reaching ways to support the active military during the holidays.



By reminding neighbors that our men and women overseas may need a boost of holiday cheer, you could touch hundreds of service members' lives this season. Talk to people, post on Facebook, send out Tweets or include a reminder in your holiday cards.



Although the holidays can be a difficult time for deployed service members and their families, there are countless ways you can show your gratitude and appreciation this season. Whether it’s a personalized gift, visit to a veteran, or blood donation, you can give back to those who give so much to our country.


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