The Ultimate List of LDS Missionary Care Packages and Gift Ideas!
LDS Missonary Gift Ideas
In our church, 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 awhile, 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, 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
I love DearElder.com. Not only is it an awesome way and easy way to write letters to missionaries (free to the MTC and pouch addresses), but they offer some great pre-made care packages as well. They have tons of different options (from cookies to pampering, to nuts) that would be fun for any missionary to get.
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 new line of Elder and Sister stockings (both in mini and regular size), that I think would be perfect to send to the missionaries in your life!
Another blogger told me know that her mother-in-law makes stockings for missionaries as well. Be sure to check them out. They are so cute!
Stocking Stuffers for Missionaries:
Customized Jewelry – My friend makes these customized necklaces, watches, and keychains, just for missionaries. These would be such a fun keepsake to have even after the mission! She also sells custom scripture cases and some cute shirts for missionaries!
Personalized Necklace – a dear friend of mine makes these beautiful, customized necklaces that have the sister’s name and mission in them. I think any sister missionary would LOVE one of these!
Quarters: Most missionaries will have to use a laundry mat at some point during their mission, so rolls of quarters are an awesome idea.
Shoes (especially if they are in an area where they walk a lot!) – 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.
Planner (This “Know It” planner from In the Leafy Tree Tops would be PERFECT for sister missionaries!).
Ties (you could even stitch a little message inside to make it more personal)
Nerf Guns – 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!
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!)
Digital Recorder – 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 this pretty one with a black gem and believe charm. However, for a missionary, this called to serve bracelet would be perfect:
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!)
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!
Pictures in picture frame – Deseret Book just came out with an awesome line of picture frames that would be fun to send.
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 missionary.
Put together a collection of letters with some pictures and bind them together or put them in a scrapbook. Project Life has some really great missionary sets that would be perfect for this:
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 site has a lot of great ideas for missionary care packages.