You love your missionary family member and want to show them how much you care while they are away from home. But how do you find a perfect gift for a missionary? This list has over 35 thoughtful missionary gift ideas that they will love. You can also make a care package with these ideas. These are the best gifts for Latter-day Saint missionaries for any time of year. There is an option for every budget!
Among the church members in our faith, most young men and a lot of the young women serve missions at around the age of 19. Although I didn’t serve a mission, Forrest did, as did two (soon to be three) of my siblings, and most of Forrest’s siblings did as well. I’m grateful that they were able to sacrifice 18 months to two years of their lives to share our beliefs and the message of our Savior to people around the world.
Even though we haven’t had a missionary in our family in a while, I remember how much fun it is to put together a package to send for Christmas. And as much fun as it was to put the package together, I can only imagine how great it must be for missionaries to get packages from home.
I thought it would be fun to put together a list of gift ideas for missionaries, in case you are putting together a little care package for a missionary. While this gift guide is geared toward LDS missionaries, I know that many churches send out missionaries as well, so hopefully, you’ll find some fun gift ideas here as well.
But first off, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- It’s important to know how long it takes for a package to arrive at its destination. If a missionary is serving in the state right next to you, it should only take a few days. However, if they are halfway around the world (like Armenia, where my sister served her mission), if you send it a few weeks before Christmas season, it might not get there until a few months later.
- Customs: You need to make sure whatever you are sending will get through customs. Certain items won’t or are more likely to stolen (sadly) when they get to a certain location
- On a similar note, make sure whatever you are sending will get there in the form you wanted it to. My friend said that she sent some cookies down to Brazil and put a piece of bread in it to help them from drying out…and when they arrived, the poor missionary had a box of mold! So, sending food items is usually a no-no. But if it’s their favorite snack, you can give it a try.
- Ask the missionary: You never know what your missionary may be needing or wanting. Maybe they don’t have any good candy. Perhaps a box of Cheez-its is all they want – I asked on Facebook about missionary care packages, and a couple people said they wanted Cheez-its on their mission! While it’s fun to keep some things a surprise, asking your missionary might be a great way to get the creative juices flowing. The important thing about giving a gift is the thought behind it.
- Be considerate: While it may be tempting to send tons and tons of presents, there are a few things to try to be considerate of. First of all, be considerate of their companion. Their companion may not get anything for Christmas. And while most of them probably won’t care if their companion gets presents, I can imagine it might make them feel a little sad. Both my sister and brother said they loved when we would include something for their companion because they always would just light up, because they weren’t expecting anything. Secondly, be considerate of how much space missionaries have to store things — as in, they don’t have a lot! Make sure you aren’t sending anything that would be hard to transport to a new location. And also – try not to make them too homesick!
- Consider more than one package: As much as I’d like to say the mail systems of the world run seamlessly and perfect…they don’t. While it may seem like a pain to mail two packages, in the chance that one gets lost, the other package might still get there.
- Put religious pictures on the package: This probably sounds weird, but this is a tip we were given when my brother was serving a mission in Bolivia. Basically, people are less likely to steal a package if it’s covered in stickers of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary or bible verses. No one likes to mess with religious gifts.
- Know the mission rules – while there are standard rules that all missionaries have to follow, some rules are different in certain areas. For instance, when Forrest first started his mission, missionaries weren’t allowed to (according to his mission president’s wife) listen to music that would make their “heads bob” in any way. However, his next mission president didn’t mind if they listened to Disney music, more upbeat church songs, etc. You should include their favorite things in the list. There is no easy way for the missionaries to cope with their new home, but small pieces of their favorite things may cheer them up! Send their favorite things on special occasions so they do not feel left out.
Best Missionary Gifts for Christmas
Even though I didn’t serve a mission, I think something that would have been fun was to get a stocking! Stockings are one of my favorite parts of the gift-giving part of Christmas. Deseret Book has a very cute line of missionary stockings (in regular and mini sizes) that I think any missionary would love to receive with some fun treats inside.
Stocking Stuffers for Missionaries:
- Tie Tacks (such a temple tie bar or called to serve pin)
- Bookmark – there are some really cute ones online
- Vinyl Stickers – there are so many cute vinyl stickers out there. My sister has a lot of great ones for Latter-day Saints in her Etsy shop (and if you’re a missionary mama, make sure you pick up this one for yourself!).
- I love you necklace or tie pin
- Endure to the End Necklace or Dog Tags
- CTR Ring
- Scripture Marking Pencils
- Set of Reflector Lights
- Quarters: Most missionaries will have to use a laundry mat at some point during their mission, so rolls of quarters are an awesome idea. A lot of laundromats take cards, but if they are in an area that doesn’t do this, they will love it.
Practical Missionary Gifts
Shoes would be a practical gift because any missionary will tell you that having good shoes is essential. Some missionaries even go through a pair or two! The Mission Shoe Store is a great place to buy high-quality missionary shoes because they were built specifically for missionaries and tracting! There are several different options, and I know any missionary would love them. They are built to last! Unfortunately, they only offer shoes for Elders currently, but there will hopefully be some in the future.
Skirts and Dresses (sister missionaries get 15% off at ModestPop.com and Sorella Bella has clothes just for sister missionaries). I’m a HUGE fan of Journey Five. They have tons of beautiful AND most dresses and skirts that I think most sister missionaries will love.
These seem really neat!
Insulated Water Bottle
Water bottles are also essential for daily use. It’s a small gift so you have a lot more room for other gifts.
Ties (you could even stitch a little message inside to make it more personal)
Fun Gifts for Missionaries
a friend said that one year, she sent one of her kids a set of mini nerf guns with extra ammo. There were four missionaries living in one apartment, and they all had a lot of fun. Missionaries can have a little fun every now and then and do something besides missionary work!
12 days of Christmas – I had a couple of people recommend this – sending a missionary 12 gifts, or letters, or whatever, and they opened one each day leading up to Christmas. This can be a fun gift to do for both a missionary and their companion. Here are a bunch of 12 Days of Christmas ideas and free printables we did last year.
Any of the Nashville Tribute CDs – We LOVE this band. Some of their songs are a little cheesy, but overall, they have done a great job portraying the Gospel and Jesus Christ in a unique way. We own these three: Redeemer (just recently released – I love it so much), Joseph Smith, and The Work (perfect for your missionary!)
this could be used in a variety of ways; sending messages home to family, recording thoughts and impressions, or, as Forrest suggested, recording funny conversations. I told him that I don’t really endorse secretly recording conversations with people, but I guess there may be some good reason for it!
Expandable Bracelets – Deseret Book recently launched a line of these beautiful charm bracelets – some of them are LDS specific, but many of them would be great for people of any faith. I have a pretty one myself, and they have charms of temples that might be fun to give your missionary.
Money – I’m not a big fan of just giving people money for presents. However, someone I know said he asked his parents to put the money they would have spent on gifts in his account for when he got back from his mission. Even if you just send cash, I’m sure any missionary will appreciate it (especially if they often go over their food budget for the month!)
Thoughtful Gifts for Missionaries
I wasn’t sure if I should call this section thoughtful, because really, aren’t all gifts kind of thoughtful?! Anyways, I think it described my sentiments best – gifts that have a little extra thought put into them such as a well-written Christmas card, Christian gifts, or something that has your personal touch in it.
Pictures in picture frames – Deseret Book just came out with an awesome line of picture frames that would be fun to send. Photo books are awesome gifts to remind them of home.
This would be a fun item for a missionary to have – they are often asked to MC events at church. I could see them really enjoying something like this!
Missionary Memories Book
Okay, this is something that you would give your missionary after their mission, but it’s best to start when they are on their mission for the simplest process possible. Missionary Memories is a company that was created to help create beautiful books of the emails sent home during a mission. My mom created one for my brother, and it turned out amazing – you can check out her full review here.
You could do this in a variety of ways :
- First off, I just adore these Captain Moroni note cards. SO cute and perfect for missionaries.
- Gather letters from friends and family to send in a package.
- Ask friends and family to write their testimony in a letter to send to missionaries.
- Put together a collection of letters with some pictures and bind them together or put them in a scrapbook.
- A series of letters in envelopes that have a different purpose for when they should be open – for instance, one could say on the front “when you really need to talk to mom,” another could say, “when something super great happened,” etc.
I think most missionaries will appreciate food. If they are serving far away, they may not have had a certain type of food in a long time, just because they don’t have access to it! I remember sending my brother taco seasoning when he was in Bolivia! This goes back to the “ask your missionary” point I made earlier. You never know what they’ve been craving for eight months! You should also ask what is locally available.
This is probably one of the most practical and helpful gifts you can send a missionary. Many missionaries aren’t able to eat in members’ homes anymore, so getting a gift card for a fast-casual restaurant or fast food establishment close by to them would be greatly appreciated. Gift cards to grocery stores would be great, too!
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Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is currently training to be a Certified Lactation Educator. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.