It’s that time of year again. And Christmas shopping just gets more difficult when you try to find a present to send your missionary. You may be thinking, “How much will shipping cost?” or, “What can I send them when I know most packages get stolen where they’re serving?” or, “What on earth am I supposed to give a missionary for Christmas?” If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then this article is for you. From classic care package ideas to silly gifts, and from complex presents to simple ones, there are missionary Christmas gifts here for everyone.
Classic Missionary Gifts
From scripture care packages to an ugly tie, you can’t go wrong with a classic missionary gift. These care package ideas are perfect for anytime of the year, but you can always add a Christmas twist to them.
The Scripture List Care Package
I’ve used this gift several times and it is always fun for the missionaries. For each item listed below, wrap it and write the corresponding scripture references on the paper. Put these small packages in a medium sized box to send. Missionaries will have fun searching through their scriptures and trying to guess what each present is (unless they cheat and just open the packages, but either way they get some gifts).
- Bit-O-Honey candy—Isaiah 7:15 “Butter and honey shall he eat”
- travel-size soap bar—Psalms 24:3-4 “He that hath clean hands”
- package of fruit snacks—3 Nephi 14:20 “by their fruits ye shall know them”
- tiny toothpaste—Amos 4:6 “And I also have given you cleanness of teeth”
- chapstick—Micah 3:7 “yea, they shall all cover their lips”
- Pay Day candy bar—D&C 84:79 “and the laborer is worthy of his hire”
- one dollar bill—Proverbs 13:7 “There is that maketh himself rich”
- candle—Matthew 5:15 “Neither do men light a candle”
- pen/pencil—1 John 2:12 “I write unto you”
- beef jerky—Matthew 25:35 “For I was an hungred , and ye gave me meat”
- small package of Kleenex—Psalms 115:6 “noses have they, but they smell not”
- penny—Matthew 20:9 “they received every man a penny”
- small key chain—D&C 65:2 “The keys of the kingdom of God”
- small package of Cheer detergent—D&C 68:6 “Wherefore, be of good cheer”
- small package of Koolaid—Nehemiah 8:10 “and drink the sweet”
These scripture references aren’t the only ones you can use. In my search, I have found several other fun lists with different scriptures and different items. Some of these are listed in the links below.
- Prepared LDS Family “Christmas Gifts for My Missionary” example: Swedish Fish—Mark 1:17 “fishers of men”
- Prepared LDS Family “LDS Sister Missionary Christmas Gift Package” example: Starbursts—3 Nephi 1:21 “a new star did appear”
You are probably thinking that as far a Christmas gifts for missionaries go, a neck tie is the most cliche, boring present you could send. Well, I am here to tell you . . . that you are probably right. However, sending them a tie is cliche because it is actually a great missionary gift. For one, missionaries do wear out their ties eventually and are bound to need more. Also, the only real outfit change elders have is with their ties, so give them a variety of good ones to wear.
If you want, you can make this gift more fun by also mailing them a goofy tie or a Christmas one. If their mission is holding an ugly tie contest, send them the biggest and baddest tie of the bunch. Or, if your missionary is serving in a foreign country, peruse the internet and find a tie that depicts their country’s flag.
Open When . . .
Sugar Doodle suggests a great missionary care package idea in their article “Open When . . . “ Purchase several envelopes, and on each envelope, write down one of the situations Sugar Doodle lists. These situations vary from “Open when you’ve had a hard day” to “Open when you need a laugh” to “Open when you need something sweet.”
In each envelope, put in the corresponding quotes that Sugar Doodle gives, or you can think of your own. This gift idea is great because it can last your missionary for a while and give them the boosts they need.
Envelope-Size Gifts Straight From the Heart
Have you been told that packages are likely to get stolen in your missionary’s country? Are you afraid a large Christmas gift will get lost in the mail? Or maybe you just saw the price of shipping and keeled over in shock. If so, then this section is for you. Here, “less is more.” You don’t need to send a huge Christmas care package with all the works to let your missionary know you love then. Check out these special, heartfelt gifts that don’t need to be mailed off in huge boxes.
Advent Calendar Christmas Chain
LDS Missionary Moms suggests a great idea in creating an Advent Calendar Chain. For this gift, cut out 25 strips of red and green paper. On each strip of paper, have a family member or friend of the missionary write a message. Create the chain by taping or stapling the first strip into a circle, then slipping the next strip in the circle hole and making that strip a circle as well, so on so forth.
On the outside of each chain, label the dates from December 1st to December 25th in consecutive order. Fold the chain so it can fit in an envelope. Your missionary will enjoy undoing a chain a day and reading a message from a loved one.
Missionaries often get homesick, especially around Christmastime. So what better way to give them a little bit of home than to send them pictures. Mail pictures of family, friends, pets, favorite memories, etc. Your missionary will enjoy looking at these pictures and remembering the people who are praying for them.
You could just send the pictures, or you can put your creative hat on and make them into a fun collage. Get the whole family involved in cutting paper, gluing pictures, and anything else you want to do in creating your missionary’s collage. If you want to stick to a Christmas theme, send your missionary pictures of Christmas’ past.
Don’t try to send perishable food items and spend time worrying that your cookies might get a little stale by the time they reach your missionary serving deep in the jungles of South America. Mail a recipe instead. Send your missionary recipes from some of the meals you ate as a family, recipes for their favorite snacks, or even just recipes of Christmas treats.
This missionary gift idea may seem more geared towards sister missionaries or culinary elders, but actually everyone can enjoy it. Recipes are a lifesaver for missionaries who don’t know a lot about cooking. So in order to help prevent your missionary from living off of crackers and ramen for the length of their mission, send them some recipes.
Butcher Paper Christmas Tree
This sweet-and-simple gift comes from LDS Missionary Moms’ article “Butcher Paper Christmas Tree 1.” Buy green butcher paper and cut it out into the shape of a Christmas tree. Then, cut the Christmas tree into puzzle pieces and have family and friends write a message on each piece. Mail your missionary the puzzle pieces and they can read the messages while putting together their Christmas tree.
“Butcher Paper Christmas Tree 2” uses the same concept, but with a different twist. Instead of cutting your butcher paper Christmas tree into puzzle pieces, fold it so it can be easily mailed. Then, cut out circles of red and white paper for family and friends to write messages on and put these circles in the envelope with the tree. These circles of paper will be the ornaments that your missionary uses to decorate the butcher paper Christmas tree.
Take your family caroling to your missionary! Record your family singing Christmas songs and mail the recording off. Your missionary will appreciate the personal touch and hearing the voices of loved ones.
Or, if your family isn’t really the singing type, compile a CD of spiritual songs to send to your missionary. Make sure the music is the type they can listen to (I suggest The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square), and add some Christmas spirit by sending them Christmas songs.
Get on the hunt for amazing, inspiring quotes! These quotes can come from general authorities, the scriptures, people who have influenced the world for good, or your next-door neighbor. Write the quotes on strips of paper and send them in an envelope to your missionary. Your missionary can pick a paper from the pile once a day and read a quote that helps encourage them in their work.
Okay, so generally this is thought of as a cop-out gift. But I have yet to meet a missionary who isn’t in need of some dough. If the packages you send have trouble reaching your missionary, then it might be easier to give your missionary the means to buy a present themselves by putting some money on their debit card (and sending them a heartfelt note as well).
Good Things Come in Small Packages
Here are a few more simple, but wonderful, gift ideas. But this time, all they need is a small or medium sized box. From sweets to favorites to necessities, most of these missionary gifts don’t need a large box and a large shipping bill.
I’m Dreaming of a Red & Green Christmas
Need a simple Christmas care package idea? Check out Sometimes Creative’s article, “Christmas Packages,” where it suggests sending your missionary a red and green Christmas. Simply purchase a compilation of small red and green items. You can use anything: candy, inexpensive toys, or even scotch tape.
Some of My Favorite Things
What are some of your missionaries favorite things? Is their favorite color blue? Send them a bunch of blue pens and pencils. Is their favorite candy Snickers? Send them a couple of bars. Is their favorite animal a dog? Send them a small, stuffed animal dog. There are infinite ways to get creative with your missionary’s favorites, so use your imagination.
What Do They Need?
Perhaps the best gift to send a missionary is something that they need and will use. Ask them what they need, and mail it off to them.
Now of course, getting something you need as a present is about as fun as getting socks on Christmas morning. In fact, you may be sending your missionary a pair of socks. But you can always use your imagination and add a fun touch to it. If your missionary needs writing utensils, wrap some pens up in ribbon and slip a couple candy canes inside. If they need a bicycle repair kit, put a family picture in the box. If they need peanut butter . . . well, that one is fine on its own.
Sending your missionary some sweets almost seems too simple to be considered a gift. Trust me though, they will appreciate it, especially if they are serving in a place where they can’t get a lot of candy they’re familiar with. So send them a pack of their favorite candy bar, a variety of different sweets, or candy canes. However, be warned, if you missionary serves in a warmer climate, any chocolate you send may arrive melted (though a little melted chocolate never hurt anyone).
Can you knit? Can you paint? Can you make really good caramel? Use some of the talents God has blessed you with and send your missionary a homemade gift. Can you write? Write your missionary a funny song about missionary work or Christmas. Can you crochet? Make your missionary a hat to keep them warm. The possibilities are endless.
Just Joking! Presents that Will Make them Laugh
Whether it is an inside joke or a pun that makes your missionary chuckle, laughter is one of the best missionary care packages to send. After all, the scriptures say, “Then was our mouth filled with laughter” (Psalms 126:2).
Laughter is the Best Medicine
Compile a list of jokes on scraps of paper. These can be Laffy Taffy jokes, fun stuff from LDS Smile, or even cutouts of “The Extra Smile” cartoons from all of those New Era magazines you’ve hoarded for years. Try to get as many jokes as you can and stuff them in an envelope to send to your missionary. They can pick a joke one day at a time, or save them for days they need a little cheering up on.
Wish You Were Here!
When I suggested sending a postcard from Utah to my missionary brother in Bulgaria, I was completely joking and expected my parents to roll their eyes at silly little me. Imagine my surprise when they actually took my suggestion seriously. This is more of a joke than a present, but it’s still fun to do anyways. Pick out some of the goofiest postcards from your home state and mail them off. They should give your missionary a good laugh.
Dollar Store Run for Random Gifts
Nothing is more fun than dollar store items. From dinky toys to party hats, dollar stores have a ton of wacky stuff. So go to your local dollar store and check out the random whatnot you can send to your missionary. The best part about sending someone random stuff is that it is exactly what it is: random. And a dollar store is the perfect place to find random, goofy items.
Harder to Send, But Worth It In the End
These Christmas care package ideas are more pricey and more difficult to ship. However, these ideas are also really great ones. But if you feel they are too difficult to send to your missionary, then these presents also make great neighbor gifts.
12 Days of the First Christmas
Purchase a nativity scene with 12 figurines (if it has more than 12, you can group together some of the figurines such as the wise men, the shepherds, or the animals). For each day of the 12 days of Christmas, send a figurine of the nativity to your missionary.
With each figurine, attach the corresponding scripture from the Christmas story (example: with the shepherds, attach Luke 2:8 “And there were in the same country shepherds”). Save baby Jesus for last day of Christmas since he is the most important. If you are afraid the fragile nativity figurines will break in transit, try out a paper nativity instead. This is not only easier to mail, but it is a lot cheaper.
12 Days of a Missionary’s Christmas
This one also might be a bit more difficult in sending 12 letters or packages and hoping they reach your missionary in the order you send them in, but it is so fun for your missionary to get a present one day at a time. If you want to make it easier to mail, wrap the 12 gifts separately and send them together in one box.
You can do just about anything for the 12 days gifts. You can send a Christmas joke a day, a quote, some candy, etc. You can also pattern these gifts after the “12 Days of Christmas” song, or write a poem to accompany each gift.
If you’d like to send your missionary some sweet treats for 12 days, Ashley Hardy Myers offers some great ideas and free printables on her blog.
Other Places to Find Care Package Ideas
I hope you found something you want to send to your missionary. For more information on what’s appropriate to send to missionaries and things to remember about shipping, check out this New Era article “Missionary Mail.”
For more ideas on missionary care packages, check out the links below.
- Pinterest.com: search for “missionary care packages” and you are bound to get a ton of amazing ideas.
- Hermana Jacobsen “Missionary Care Packages”: here are some super cute care packages for every time and season.
- Holly Ways “What Do I Send?”: from Mormon Ads to socks, this site gives us a lot of simple missionary gift ideas.
LDS product also makes great missionary gifts. Below, I have the links to some businesses that sell LDS product.
- Deseret Book: this company sells books, music, movies, art, etc.
- Seagull Book: this company sells books, clothing, music, movies, decor, etc.
- LDS Bookstore: this company sells books, art, jewelry, music, clothing, etc.
- Missionary Mall: this company sells clothing and accessories for both Elders and Sisters.
- Mr. Mac: this company specializes in missionary suits, but they have additional necessities such as sewing kits, power adapters, and bike pant clips.