You’ve Had a Birthday, Shout Hooray!

Happy Birthday

(Image from Wikipedia.com)

Have you noticed that as your children get older, it gets harder and harder to pick the right gift for them on their birthday? I don’t know about you, but I find myself falling into the same old habit of handing over an envelope of money on their big day and saying, “Go buy what you want”.

What a cop-out!

Well, when my daughter had a birthday while on her mission, the problem was even worse. She doesn’t have time to go out and shop for what she wants. She probably doesn’t even want to think about that kind of thing.

It is all so important for missionaries to maintain their focus on the work, so the difficulty of what to give them becomes that much more difficult.

After much thought and consideration, particularly when considering cost of postage, I decided on sending her a party in a box. This party consisted of a tiara (with instructions to her companion that my daughter had to wear it for the whole time they were in their apartment that day), balloons, a banner, and party poppers. I also included a flash drive, a CD of church music, some earrings, lip balm, as well as a packet of Australian chocolate for her companion as a thankyou gift for throwing the party in her honour.

Result? A hit!

But everyone is different and recently, through the LDS missionary mums email group I belong to, several mums discussed this topic. There were some fantastic suggestions.

Would you be surprised to know that candy, treats and other food items were way down on the list of things most missionaries wanted for their birthday?

Other thoughts on the matter raised issues about luggage space, an items usefulness, cost of mailing larger items, quarantine regulations in certain countries, and helping to maintain their missionaries focus on the work.

So here is a list of some of those suggestions:

General Items:

  1. Fill a box with balloons (not inflated) and place thoughtful notes, pictures, quotes, and letters from family and friends inside.
  2. A huge birthday card with messages from the family and a current photo.
  3. A T-shirt with a family inspired transfer on the front that includes the mission they are serving in and the dates they served.
  4. 2nd hand gospel books. Send a list of them to your missionary and ask them to pick one or two. Amazon.com also offers second hand books that they will deliver directly.
  5. An empty quote book that they can add to as they progress in their mission. You can also send them quotes to include.
  6. Teaching aids and games that they can use to assist in their teaching. Check out lesson manuals on www.lds.org, and other LDS Primary websites (www.sugardoodle.com) for ideas.
  7. Latest conference edition of the Ensign.
  8. Small 5×7 images from Deseret Book Store that can be displayed on their walls, and are small enough to transport around.
  9. Toothbrush, their favourite floss and toothpaste.
  10.  Some fun, small, cheap souvenirs from their home country that they can share with investigators, children etc.
  11. Appropriate music CDs (if allowed in the mission).
  12. USB memory stick if they have a camera
  13. Stationary

For Elders:

  1. Ties – sometimes elders feel that they have little chance to express themselves through their clothes, so a variety of ties helps to add colour to their day.
  2. Tie pins – if your missionary is serving in a foreign country then it is fun for them to have pins that represent the country they come from.
  3. Fresh white shirt.
  4. Socks, spare p-day shirt

For Sisters:

  1. Scarves
  2. Earrings
  3. Lip gloss or lip balm
  4. Pantyhose, socks, and T-shirts for P-day.

Food:

  1. Their favourite snack item – pop tarts, candy, and beef jerky etc
  2. Birthday box – cake mix, frosting, candles, party hats, balloons etc. **Beware that some countries have quarantine restrictions on certain foods, such as flour, vegetables, meats, and cheeses. Always check with the countries quarantine laws first.
  3. Homemade cookies without butter (can go rancid if it contains butter and has to go a long distance).

The list is endless.

What have you sent your missionary in the past?

I am sure that there are many more ideas out there, and I am sure there are many missionary mums who would love to have some more suggestions.

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4 thoughts on “You’ve Had a Birthday, Shout Hooray!

  1. Our son’s birthday is coming up in July. We asked what he wanted, and gave some suggestions. He told us…”No clothes, I can get them cheaper here, and I have too much now, I’ll probably give some away soon!” He told us he was “consumables”, as in food or games/toys that the missionaries could play with for a little bit, then give away to the children in the families they teach and visit. So I’ve been getting a box together, and I have water pistols, ‘party favours’ type toys, DARK chocolate (as he can’t get that over there) Aussie lollies, will be getting some licorice (Aussie stuff – Darrell Lea) closer to sending it, Tim Tams, and he did ask for a boomerang, so one of those too. When out shopping if I think it would be something fun or they wouldn’t have it in the Philippines, then I get that too.

    Terri.

    • Isn’t it great that we come from a country that has some unique things to share with the rest of the world. Love the boomerang idea. Will add that to my list. I usually go out and buy some of those miniature koala bear and kangaroo pencil clips (you can get them in packs of 10-20 from the dollar shops). they are great little items that the kids love to have and take to school to show off.

  2. Something I did for my favourite missionary (;)) was I collected quotes from conference talks, my old study journals, scriptures, and also wrote a few notes of my own- at least 365 of them. I quickly sewed a little drawstring bag to put them in as well. The aim was to give her enough that she could open 1 a day which would take her through to her next birthday. It was a way that she could know I loved her every day, but also provided an opportunity for Heavenly Father to bless her with what she needed to read most that day- whether for herself or for the people she was teaching!

    • Oh, I totally forgot about that one Nicole. Thanks for reminding me. I know for a fact that she loves that gift, and it is something that she can keep forever and use over and over again. Kind of like a little bag of happiness that she can carry around with her…love it

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