BGU News

12 Gifts for Missionaries That Are Meaningful


Written by Madeline Peña

You’re a caring supporter of an overseas missionary, and this year you are determined to find the perfect Christmas gift.

Finding the perfect gift for a missionary overseas may seem like a daunting task, but there are plenty of perfect gifts that are sentimental, practical, or just plain comical.

What gift should you send a missionary? This is an interesting question because it can vary. From Nepal, Switzerland, and Russia; missionaries are scattered around the world, so gift ideas may sway. Gifts for missionaries depend on personality, culture, and the location of the missionary. Thoughtfully consider each missionary individually.

The missionary will always feel loved and thankful for your blessing, so have no fear. Nevertheless, we’ll help you along the journey to finding the perfect gift for this holiday season.

The 12 Gifts of Christmas

1.The Nostalgic Candy Cane

In America, every person knows of the candy cane at Christmas. This is a sentimental treat because many American missionaries will have fond memories connected to this traditional American Christmas candy. Remind them of home, by sharing a treat from their homeland.

2. A Hand Written Letter

A missionary has laid down their life for Christ, but they still enjoy appreciation, encouragement, and love in a letter form. The missions field can be discouraging, so a heartfelt letter can do so much more than words on a page. You can bring joy, appreciation, inspiration, and hope through a letter of life-giving words.

3. Family Photographs

While on the missions field, Christmas time means being away from family. During this time of year, a missionary may be especially homesick. Sending them sweet family photographs shows that you remember them, that they are a valued family member, and that they are missed as well.

4. A Memorable Christmas Movie

Isn’t it lovely when a film reminds you of home or brings back joyful memories? This is what a Christmas movie can do. That warm, tingly feeling of sweet memories with family can all stem from favorite Christmas movies. And they can even bring so much joy and laughterful too. A few popular movies would be:

How the Grinch Stole Christmas“, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “It’s A Wonderful Life“.

5. Art Supplies

Many missionaries do not have access to modern tools for creativity and entertainment that we do in the United States. Gifting art supplies is a great way to show that you understand their desire for expression and hobby. Art is a wonderful avenue to use the mind, especially when technology is inaccessible for entertainment.

A sketchbook, colored pencils or even ink pens are all valuable items that may be inaccessible to the missionary, making it a valuable gift.

6. Favorite Dish or Dessert

Everyone loves their favorite holiday dish or dessert. When a missionary is overseas, it is quite possible to bake them their favorite Christmas cookies or send them ingredients for their favorite dish. These ingredients may not always be able to be found in their current country, so it is more than thoughtful. It makes the dish possible! When living in Australia for missions, my grandmother mailed my favorite Christmas cookies. It warmed my heart and made me feel right at home.

7. A Travel Journal

Living in a different nation and culture, a missionary will experience a wide variety of foreign concepts and beauty. A lovely gift idea would be a travel journal to document their cross-cultural life and have a book filled with memories and friendships. This way the missionary may share their experiences with you and feel acknowledged of their life in missions.

8. Encouragement

Encouragement can take many forms.

And it may look different for every missionary. The gift of encouragement could be a home video, a signed card from supporters, or a token of support. It may be possible that you know a missionary is in need of baking tools for their ministry. A gift of encouragement would be to send baking tools as a gift. If you know that the missionary feels unseen, a signed card with many encouraging notes from supporters would be a terrific gift. Or potentially, you know that the missionary is homesick. A video of their loved ones would be very thoughtful. These are all example of sentimental gifts that may be the very best Christmas gift for your missionary.

9. Inspirational Book

Stories of other missionaries and of God are always a great choice for the gift. With an inspirational book, you are gifting knowledge and understanding of God and His relationship with people. The missionary will grow spiritually, and this growth is a very valuable gift. The words of inspiration may compel the missionary into further intimacy with Jesus or revive a passion that has grown cold, along with other endless possibilities. An inspirational book can do wonders in a missionary’s life.

Some top suggestions would be Francis Chan’s “Crazy Love” pertaining to God’s love for man. This book is deeply moving and inspirational for the missionary’s relationship with God. Missionary biographies can be inspirational as well. Top suggestions for missionary biography book would be Elisabeth Elliot’s “Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot (Lives of Faith)” or S Pearce Carey’s “William Carey

10. Christ-Centered Holiday Decorations

In many nations, Christmas is not centered around Christ. The missionary must work diligently to find redemption of Christ in the holiday season. When we send a missionary Christ-centered holiday decorations, it is encouraging to them. This gift may bring hope to the season that seems to have lost all sight of hope. A reminder of Christ is always a great option.

11. Games

There are many types of games.

Games bring communities together and can be very fun means of entertainment. When people gather around a table for a friendly competition, a community is strengthened. Missionaries may feel lonely on the field, so games are a great way for the missionary to spend times with others while they’re away for the holidays. Or any time of the year, games are a wise and loving option.

12. “Treat Yourself”

The idea behind this gift is exactly that, to treat themselves. Many people may believe that spending money is an unacceptable gift, but to a missionary, spending money can be completely inaccessible at times. Spending money is a treat, and it will not be taken for granted by your missionary. The gift of a warm restaurant meal or movie tickets at the foreign theater are just ideas of what the missionary may do as a treat for themselves.

The idea of “free spending” is a wonderful blessing to a missionary and a total luxury.


You have the opportunity to greatly move someone’s heart.

The missionary will be absolutely excited and thankful for your gift. Not only are you blessing a fellow brother or sister in Christ, but you are furthering the Kingdom as well. A gift is more than a gift, it is a blessing to further the mission of taking the Church to where it is not.

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