What does one get a new citizen?

ChaliceChick (The ChaliceBlog) wants to get the newly-naturalized workplace deli worker a token to celebrate his new status. Like her, I feel I’m patriotic, but I am less and less sure about how to express that in a way that isn’t confused with nationalism and a smorgasbord of misguided policies.

Yet hearing about people who choose this country as their country makes me willing to try and find an public and appropriate way to be a proud American. But first things first. What kind of gift would you give a new American? And why?  (For my non-U.S. readers, what do you make of this line of thinking? Would you give a new national a gift? What would it be? Please identify where you’re from since we don’t all know one another.)

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. I think it is fine to give a gift to a new American. It’s a sign of welcoming. For a good gift, I would choose something that makes me proud of my country and that it’s not about narrow nationalism. What about music (my choice would be Gershwin), or a book, or some item of local culture or artisanship?

  2. I was at the post office yesterday, and it occurred to me that one of their commemoratives (or one you made yourself by framing a block of stamps) might make a nice gift, especially if there is a current stamp issue that relates to the new citizen’s cultrual heritage or interests.

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