Sunday, December 14, 2014

Gift ideas for a missionary, even one who doesn't have a call yet

In our ward we will have six more missionaries leaving this summer!  Woo hoo! Today after church, one of their moms wanted ideas for pre-missionary Christmas gifts. So this is for those moms, or any other moms who want to start gathering missionary gear early.  Other items, like how many suits and slacks to bring, will be specified in his mission call. Most of these items can work for a son or daughter.

Here is an idea gift list of stuff missionaries universally use. Many of these are small enough for stocking stuffers. 

I sure love my Elder Adam Edwards!
  1. Luggage. We hit Kohls black Friday sale for this. Our son was allowed two large suit cases, a carry on, and he also took a shoulder bag. 
  2. Preach my Gospel, small size.
  3. Missionary reference library. Go here for the small size.
  4. Books to help them prepare. Go here for a list of suggestions.
  5. Camera 
  6. SD card(s) for the camera. Here's what one missionary mom said about this: "I just found out if my son had an extra sd card and pre-stamped and pre-addressed envelopes he will send home more pictures. So if he has 2 large sd cards you can send them back and forth. If you do one envelope for each month that makes a lot of pics." (My son emails pictures home in his weekly email.) 
  7. Watch 
  8. Socks. Holmes Clothing his place has AMAZING missionary socks that last forever, have extra cushion, and wick water away in cold or hot weather.
  9. Travel alarm clock. My son's mission required a battery one.
  10. Recipes. Go here to see the mini recipe book I made my son. 
  11. Uplifting music. You'll find out your child's mission standards when s/he receives the mission call, but even if they can only listen to a particular upbeat LDS CD until they go, it's still a blessing to help them prepare. My son's mission music standard is any music that is worthy of sacrament meeting, so we sent a lot of hymns or even classical pieces like Handel's Messiah or Bach's Jesus Joy of Man's Desiring. For a pre-missionary, my favorite album is The Work: A Nashville Tribute to the Missionaries.
  12. Little things your missionary can hand out like children's CTR rings, small pictures of Christ, stickers. 
  13. White shirts. My son in France took half long sleeve and half short sleeve shirts. If you don't know yet which mission your son will be going to, maybe just get one of each for now.
  14. Ties
  15. Gift cards 
  16. Journal
  17. Supplies for writing letters - paper, cards, envelopes, stamps. One mom said that if she gives pre-stamped, addressed envelopes, her son is more likely to write home. 
  18. Your favorite brand of pens, pencils, or highlighters
  19. Sewing kit 
  20. Small LED flashlight
  21. Ipod huffle. My son's mission won't allow a device with radio, a screen, or internet, so this one works well. (I was just notified by a missionary mom that not all missions allow portable music devices, so you may want to wait until your child gets a mission call before you buy this one.) 
  22. Portable speaker. I believe all missions do not allow ear buds so they'll need this to listen to music. Here is the one we got for our son.
  23. Shoe shine kit. My husband is kinda picky about this. Here is the one he chose. 
  24. Digital voice recorder with a case. This allows your missionary to record audio letters to send home via email.
  25. Towel. A microfiber towel is great for saving space, and for drying faster if your child goes to a humid place.
  26. Some moms offered ideas about how to personalize the gifts. One mom gave luggage and included quotes and a heartfelt letter about letting go of excess baggage on a mission. Another mom had her son's towel embroidered with his name. 
  27. Quote book. My friend sent me a wonderful gift for my son, which he'll be opening in his Christmas gifts this month. She gathered a ton of memes (quotes with pictures) from the most recent general conference, and then developed them into pictures and put them into an inexpensive little 4x6" photo album. I loved this. I suggested to my son that he can pull out some of the quote memes to hang around his apartment, and then he can use the book to store the family pictures we send him. I also sent Adam a quote book in the MTC of some of my own favorite quotes that I printed and cut into a tiny booklet with two rings. 
  28. My favorite gift that we sent Adam this Christmas is a calendar with collages of family pictures, and family birthdays. I think this kind of gift would mean much more after a missionary goes out, rather than before. 

A little update about our son Elder Adam Edwards. He is on the right, in the grey suit, fresh off the airplane in Paris, France a few days ago. After six weeks at the Provo MTC, today is his first Sabbath in the mission field! His first area is in Belgium. We can hardly wait for his first email from the mission field tomorrow!

Feel free to leave more ideas in the comments below. 

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