Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Christmas and Care Package Ideas

Adam's mom here:

I know that some of you have shipped packages already, but many haven't yet. I hope this blogpost will help give you some ideas if you are planning to send Adam a package. Most of these suggestions I have gleaned from other missionary moms and from a mission president's wife. Not all will apply to Adam's mission.

Many international missions are now saying "no" to missionaries receiving packages. If the package costs a lot to mail, they advise sending the missionary extra money rather than spending so much on postage. Also, clearing packages through customs has become very difficult, and they are assessing huge fines. It takes a lot of time (hours) for mission office missionaries to retrieve packages, which takes away from missionary work. Just a short explanation as to why so many are saying "no" to packages this year.

No sneaking items in packages. A missionary was interrogated for hours because his mom tried to hide allergy pills in the package. Scanning equipment (like at airports) are used to see inside every package. To find out what is restricted or prohibited in packages, please go to the following website:

Use USPS. Do not use FedEx or UPS.

Also, you write down the VALUE of the item, which may not be the retail price. The clerk at our post office told me it was the manufacturer's price, or cost you paid for it (on sale with coupons, or yard sale, thrift store), etc. To get through customs you need to list what is in the package. Most moms suggest being very vague, stating missionary supplies, pens, notebooks, etc. (they always send these items with the package so that they can honestly list them.) They suggest filling up all the lines with the simplest items and when the lines are filled, leaving the rest off of the list. It is also suggested to cover the entire package with packing tape to make it harder for would be thieves to open and rummage through. Another suggestion is to put Jesus or Christian stickers on the package. The thought is that the people are superstitious and don't want bad karma so they will not mess with those packages.

Send duplicate items (stockings etc) for their companion. Most companions will be native and probably will not receive much, if anything at all.

One mom has sent CTR rings (HLJ? in Spanish) several times for him to give the kids in his ward. Chocolate is on the "no, no list" but lots of moms have sent chocolate and list it as "confection" on the customs order.

From another mom:
They like any kind of treats, yoyo's, door-frame nerf bball, frisbees, hackey-sacs, new PJ pants, pudding mixes, pasta-roni, grooming things (fav deoderant), their favorite cereal, pens, post it notes, pictures of Jesus for them to give.  I sent a keychain with digital pictures of the family before, a little tree with small ornaments. I did a 12 day of Christmas thing with little corresponding gifts (hot chocolate mix, small toys for him to give to the kids, a treat to make and take to a family etc!)  I also sent fake snow (add water - I got it online) since he is a snowboarding buff! It is also fun to purchase tons of Christmas cards and give them out to family members, neighbors and special ward-member friends and have them fill them out and return to you - so that lots of greetings are included.

From a Mission President's wife:

Last year as I was doing interviews I asked the missionaries for ideas and suggestions for Christmas gifts. The things they want most are things that they need and use on a daily basis and don't have the money to buy. Not all missionaries think the same, but these are some of their ideas.

Most of the missionaries said no candy, no junk food. They get candy and treats from the members. However, if there is something that you know your missionary loves, then send it.

Toiletries: shampoo, deodorant, lotion, a new toothbrush, toothpaste, razors, toilet paper, soap, laundry detergent. These things are expensive and they don’t like spending their food money buying them.

Socks: everyday socks as well as running or exercise socks. The sisters mentioned peds; the little foot socks that you wear with shoes, but they cannot be seen.

White shirts, ties, garments, slacks, slippers, skirts, blouses

CD’s of appropriate music (music that could be played at a baptismal service), General Conference CD’s, talks by General Authorities.

Stamps, stationary, good pens, return address labels (with the address of the mission office), journals, a Book of Mormon cover (, memory card for camera, flash drive.

Jump rope, resistant bands, things to help them exercise.

Pictures of family and of home; a homemade calendar with pictures on it. However, it was mentioned multiple times that the missionaries dislike when reference is made as to when they will be coming home, or how many more days until they get home, or any kind of countdown thoughts and numbers.

Money or money in their account so they can buy things they need or want.

They are disappointed when they get a package and there is not a letter or any type of communication in the package. They love notes and letters. They would love to have a hand written testimony from family members. Missionaries love ‘snail mail’ as well as their weekly emails."

Since Adam is green, he will probably not be in need of clothing items so much but I hope this gives you some direction.

Good luck and Feliz Navidad! 

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