As I was driving through Walnut Creek, on the way to BART, I was passing by a lot of stores and thinking about how crowded they looked. Then I began thinking about my blog. While I do not know what to give as gifts to the people closest to me, I have a few ideas of what a new citizen to the United States might like. Given the numbers of people naturalizing, there are a lot of new citizens in our country. United States and Citizenship Services’ (“USCIS”) citizenship statistics show that in this last quarter alone, they have approved 212, 498 applications. Comparing all cities in California for the same time period, the greatest number of naturalization applicants, is from San Francisco – 6,162 applicants, total. So, it is my guess that we all know someone who has recently naturalized or who is going through the process. If you do not know what to give that person, I have a few ideas. As my blog is not a shopping blog, I cannot tell you where to get these items, but I am sure that you may be able to find them around.
1. American Flag
This is my top idea. While it may sound corny to someone born in the United States, immigrants are proud to become U.S. Citizens. They do not take citizenship for granted. They receive flags at the naturalization ceremony, but they are too small. I am thinking of one that is bigger, that can be hung outside. They may be hard to find this time of year in a store, but I am sure they can be ordered.
By the time a person becomes a naturalized citizen, he or she may have figured out how to cook in the United States, but a good cook book is always good to have. I lived abroad for a year when I was a student and a cookbook was the best gift I received. We do not use the metric system here and we still talk in pounds and ounces. People from other countries come here, perhaps with their recipes and soon find out that they have to convert kilos to pounds and they cannot get the oven temperature the same for their favorite cake. A cook book using weights and measures and temperatures that are used in America would be very useful.
3. A case to hold the U.S. Passport
Most new naturalized citizens apply for U.S. passports as soon as possible. A nice case or wallet to hold it in would be a great idea.
4. A frame or case for the naturalization certificate
A person who is naturalized here goes through a lot of work -the immigration process and then the studying for the naturalization exam. The certificate is an important document and it looks nice. It should be framed or placed in a case so that it is protected.
5. DVDs of a top television show or movie from sometime within the last 20 years
Naturalized citizens know a lot of American history after having studied for their exam. In fact they know more than most people born here. What is difficult to learn is American culture. We have a shared culture from television and movies. We tend to make references from movies and television when we speak. An immigrant will not know what we are talking about. While you cannot give someone all movies from the last 20 years, if you pick out something that you think is important and tell the recipient how it was important to you, the gift will be meaningful.