Missionary Care Package Guide

Tips & Suggestions for Holiday (or Anytime) Gifts

With Christmas coming up, now is the perfect time to start preparing a holiday care package to send to friends serving abroad!

When I was living in Asia, few things made me feel more loved than getting a care package. Our little expat community would get so excited if someone got a package filled with precious items from America.

Maybe there was a special candy or coffee we could enjoy together, or a new book to be passed around. I remember one year a friend sent my roommates and me an entire box full of cheese (a precious commodity in a cheeseless country). We hosted a huge party to share the joy.

However, it can be disappointing to open a care package and get a whole bunch of stuff that you don’t need or can get in your host country. Care packages are rare and also not the cheapest to send! If you’re getting ready to ship out a care package, coordinate with the friend you are sending it to. Ask them for a list of things they both want and need and then include those items.

Here are some suggestions of things to include in a care package:

1. Something edible

Everyone loves getting edible treats in the mail. Everything but the bagel spice, teas they can’t get there, baking supplies, vanilla extract, chocolate chips, taco seasoning, Parmesan cheese, or basically any candy from Trader Joe’s would be well received. Homemade treats are an option too! My husband once received a huge bag of peanut brittle made from a member of his sending church!

2. Something they need

Though not the most fun, there are probably many practical things you could include. Maybe it’s face wash, makeup, deodorant, vitamins, or even underwear (I’ll let you find those). Ask your missionary for a list of practical things they may need.

3. Something seasonal

In many other countries holiday items for Christmas, Thanksgiving, or the fourth of July are hard to come by. Some ideas are an Advent calendar, a pumpkin spice treat, Christmas prints, birthday candles, Thanksgiving day napkins or some fun July 4 decor.

4. Something personal

This one is so important! When all the candy is gone and Christmas has past, a personal note of encouragement is something they can go back to. Ask their friends and family members to send in notes that you can include. Also, think about including a small item or token of significance to them.

5. Something local

Homesickness is real on the field, especially in a missionary’s first term. One way you can meet them in this is by including something that reminds them of home. Maybe it’s a bag of coffee or a mug from favorite local coffee shop, a postcard or magnet of their city or state or maybe even some fall leaves from their favorite park.

6. Something for the kids

Kids love care packages, too! Most of the missionaries with kids almost always ask for kids’ books to be sent. Other ideas could be sidewalk chalk and clothing for kids. Some fun candies like gummy worms or flavored jelly beans or special toys are great ideas too.

7. Something for the men

Last but not least, let’s not forget about the men! If he’s a sports fan, maybe a jersey or shirt from his favorite team. My husband would always ask for board games in his care packages. When in doubt, many people love food from home, so just pack more Pop-Tarts.

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