I have found a missionary's second birthday in the field to be somewhat strange. Their first birthday is pretty easy. They know EXACTLY what they want or need or miss, etc. Their second birthday is not so simple...they say they don't need or want for anything and have even gone as far as to say, "Don't worry about sending anything for my birthday." What? Serious? Where is my boy?! Of course there's always the issue of carrying it all over your mission for each and every transfer so that might be it as well, even though I tell them to leave things in their apartment when they're transferred for other missionaries to enjoy (things like the Nerf machine guns I sent for his Hump Day) . Who knows.
As a mom, I've decided to believe that our kids are growing up. They've realized that they really don't actually need anything and their wants are significantly less than they were before they left. If they are serving a foreign mission (and some domestic missions) they have come to actually see how little others have and to differentiate between their needs and wants. I think it's a maturity thing and I'm not going to discourage him from feeling that but I am a mom so I can't just go for 19 years celebrating his birthday and then let one go! It's just not in my DNA!!
This year when I got the reply to my "What would you like for your birthday" question, I was ready. I had been watching the stores and online for a 'Grandpa' or 'Mr. Rogers' button-up cardigan in a neutral color. It can get pretty chilly in Seattle with all the rain and damp so layering works best for warmth. He had mentioned that he had found one at a thrift store in Seattle but that he'd started a 'trend' with the other missionaries and now they are quite difficult to find. I found a nice one online and then sent a few of his favorite treats and a 'box of candles'...Money Candles. What missionary can't find something to do with a little extra cash? None that I know of!
Some time ago, I purchased these cute little boxes with a cellophane 'window' in the front from Pick Your Plum. They were the perfect height for my 'candles'. If you can't find one, just use something that you already have around the house and cover it with some scrapbook paper or decorate with Washi tape. You could even cut your own 'window' in a box and cover it on the inside with a bit of clear plastic or food wrap and tape it in place. You might even be able to use an actual empty birthday candle box if it's the right size for the bills.
Place a piece of string or twine in the center of your bill for the wick.
Make sure that it extends about a quarter of an inch out the top of the candle...
you may want to tape it in place with a small piece of tape.
Roll up the bill and secure with a piece of Washi tape. You could use any kind of decorative tape or even a sticker but I like how the Washi tape isn't very tacky so it will be easy to remove without leaving any sticky residue. I wrapped the tape all the way around the bill so it looks like a stripe...more than one stripe would be cute too! When you're all finished, carefully line them up in your box. I had a little space left over at the back edge so I just crumpled up another bill and pushed it behind the candles so they would stay nice and snuggly in place while in the mail. Matt is turning 20 so I added number stickers to the front of the box. If nothing else, he can take his companion out for dinner. He's going to love it!