As we’ve traveled around the world, we have been in many different wards with missionaries from all over the place. With Christmas coming, it got me thinking of missionary gift ideas and what we can do for the missionaries here. Usually there are only a few missionaries in a ward, but in our tiny branch, there are 14! I’ve never seen so many in one place, but there is a lot of work to do here.
Before I get to the gift ideas, I want to share the gift bags I made that would be perfect for either your missionary gifts or for anything else you need to package. The nice thing about these bags is you can make them any size and for any occasion. They only take about ten minutes to make too. I used the Cozy Christmas fabric I got from Riley Blake Designs for these four bags.
I used one fat quarter for two bags, so they will cost less than a paper gift bag, especially if you get the fabric on sale! Nice, right? Cut each fat quarter in half, fold the ends of the short sides over an inch and a half and iron them.
Fold the fabric in half and sew up the sides. Fold the ironed ends over and sew them all the way around.
Find the middle of the front of each bag and cut a small slit in the bag at the top, being sure to only cut through the front fabric. Thread a ribbon through the bag to make the tie. A second option is to gather the top and tie it closed when you fill it, as shown in the pictures.
Now to the gift ideas. When I’m talking about gift ideas, I mean something small you can give to the missionaries serving in your ward or branch, not sending a gift to your child or friend. Since there are so many missionaries serving here, my gifts will be smaller, but they will hopefully show them that we appreciate what they are doing.
Another thing that I want to say here is that my gifts will not be things that missionaries necessarily need, because I think their needs are met, but things that they wouldn’t spend their allowance or stipend on. (I’m not really sure what that is called, I just know they have a limited amount of money.)
The first idea came to me when we had some missionaries over and I had some Ranch dressing on the table that I had brought from the States. They were so excited. So, I asked my daughter to get me some packets of dry Hidden Valley Ranch and Zesty Italian Salad dressings, one of each for each missionary.
Chocolate or other Christmas candy they might like. I found some local candy bars that are really good and go on sale pretty often, so I will most likely give them those candy bars. OR there are fun bags of chocolates that are wrapped cute for Christmas and those would be a fun idea too. If you’re in the States, there are loads of choices.
If there are Sister missionaries, something like nail files are tiny nail polish, in light colors, would be fun for them. I’m pretty sure those are not needs, so they probably don’t get bought with their small amount of money.
Special baking supplies that they might not have been able to find or might be too expensive, like brown sugar, pure vanilla extract or vanilla beans.
Home baked cookies would be wonderful for busy missionaries who are far from home. I’m sure that they miss a lot of that type of thing, plus everyone loves baked goods at Christmas.
A new notebook or journal and pen. Maybe one with a scenic picture of someplace on their mission.
Is there something they can’t find or that is really expensive in your area that you can send for from the United States or Amazon? Here it is solid roll on anti-perspirant. If you’re in an Asian area, it might be razors.
My friend Steve Spencer is a really wonderful artist from where I live in Idaho. We take a print of a painting of The Savior that he painted with us wherever we go. I bought one of these for each of the missionaries in our branch.
One other thing I’d like to share with you is to not forget the families at home, who are missing their missionaries at Christmas. I want to tell you about a book written by a family who sent five of their six children on missions. This book spans ten years and is full of the letters from their missionaries. The book is called “Letters from Home: Lift Your Missionary and Unify Your Family” by Robert Quinn and Shauri Dewey and would a perfect gift for any family with a missionary serving at Christmas. (This is an affiliate link.)
Whatever you decide to add to your gift bags, keep the missionaries in your area in mind during Christmas. They are far from home and need to know they are loved, thought of and appreciated.