December 21, 2004: Headlines: Christmas: Gifts: PCVs in the Field: Press & Sun-Bulletin: Christmas Gifts for Peace Corps Volunteers

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Peace Corps Library: Peace Corps Volunteers: December 21, 2004: Headlines: Christmas: Gifts: PCVs in the Field: Press & Sun-Bulletin: Christmas Gifts for Peace Corps Volunteers

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Friday, December 24, 2004 - 5:14 pm: Edit Post

Christmas Gifts for Peace Corps Volunteers

Christmas Gifts for Peace Corps Volunteers

Christmas Gifts for Peace Corps Volunteers

Holidays overseas: Expatriates savor gifts that matter


When you're doing your last-minute Christmas shopping for family and friends, don't forget your loved ones who live abroad.

First of all, it's not too late. Many expatriates travel at Christmas time and will appreciate a gift even if it arrives in January.

Second, keep it small. Large consumer goods and gift items are widely available overseas, and besides, expatriates in the military or Peace Corps, or working for non- governmental organizations, companies or schools, have varying limitations on the size, weight, and/or contents of packages.

International mail, depending on the country, is also uneven in its reliability and security. The last thing you want is for your gift to be stolen or returned to you three weeks later.

Drop an e-mail to the intended recipient and ask if there are any restrictions, extra fees, or hassles with customs.

Most important, make it authentic. Here are some suggestions:

* Audio: A CD or tape is easy to buy or produce, and if you choose from the following content, your gift will gain a favored spot in your loved one's collection: a local or regional music group; a recording of your Thanksgiving dinner, early Christmas party or other family gatherings; messages from friends and family members; or recording of your thoughts as you walk in a familiar or nostalgic location.

* Video: Fill a DVD or long- playing VHS with one of the following options and give several nights when he/she feels truly at home: a few episodes of a favorite TV drama or sitcom or a few weeks of their preferred nightly line-up of shows. (In Kuwait my roommate and I were giddy when we received five episodes of NYPD Blue from my brother.)

Footage depicting a family or uniquely local annual event, like eating doughnuts at the Cider Mill, finishing the Lee Barta Run, or savoring sweet corn would also be great presents. On second thought, leave out the sweet corn -- viewing that could be torturous.

* Food: Items that say "America" and travel well are nuts, dried fruit or candy. When asked about the best gift he has ever received from home, our athletic director immediately replied, "When I lived in Iran, my family sent me black licorice and chocolate- covered espresso beans. I got sick, but I loved it."

* Memorabilia: Other small things which evoke images of home include pressed fall leaves, local postcards, or a spoonful of dirt in a Ziplock bag; artwork from nieces and nephews; newspaper clippings; ticket stubs from a sporting event or performance at the Forum, the Arena, Broome Community College or Binghamton University; or a bumper sticker, decal or T-shirt from your alma mater or an annual event.

When wrapping your package, don't forget to include a long, heartfelt, handwritten letter with some recent photos of family and friends, the most authentic gifts you can give. Then mail it from the post office (to ensure correct postage), assured in the knowledge that your little package will last long beyond this Christmas and into the New Year.

Kilmer of Binghamton teaches English at International School Yangon, Myanmar.

When this story was posted in December 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Changing of the Guard Date: December 15 2004 No: 330 Changing of the Guard
With Lloyd Pierson's departure, Marie Wheat has been named acting Chief of Staff and Chief of Operations responsible for the day-to-day management of the Peace Corps. Although Wheat is not an RPCV and has limited overseas experience, in her two years at the agency she has come to be respected as someone with good political skills who listens and delegates authority and we wish her the best in her new position.

December 18, 2004: This Week's Top Stories Date: December 18 2004 No: 334 December 18, 2004: This Week's Top Stories
RPCV remembers Deborah Gardner's murder in Tonga 17 Dec
Maoist insurgents in Nepal release Swiss aid worker 17 Dec
RPCV Alison Williams exhibits portraits of Malian people 16 Dec
Former Brazil Medical Director convicted of drug charges 16 Dec
RPCV Joseph Opala researched slave trade in RI 15 Dec
Vasquez sees resurgent interest in PC 14 Dec
Senator who wanted duel with RPCV joins Fox 14 Dec
NPCA planning National Day of Action for PC funding 13 Dec
RPCV "Harry" Chandler votes in Electoral College 13 Dec
Critic says Moyers delivered neo-Marxist propaganda 13 Dec
Micronesia RPCV Walter Cavanagh has 1,496 credit cards 13 Dec
PC "Survivor" Julie Berry headed for California 11 Dec
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Story Source: Press & Sun-Bulletin

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