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#1
Old 04-25-2005, 05:30 PM
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Good gift in honor of becoming an American Citizen?

A good friend of mine is taking his citizenship oath next week. We've all taken off of work to attend the ceremony and are going have a day in the city with him, have a fancy dinner, etc. to celebrate. I was thinking of getting him a gift in honor of the occasion. Nothing big, but something appropriate, possibly even funny.

I was wondering if anyone had any good suggestions?
#2
Old 04-25-2005, 06:29 PM
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A gun, of course!
#3
Old 04-25-2005, 06:54 PM
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How about a nice frame to put it in, like you'd put a diploma in? They do get a certificate, don't they?

Or perhaps a flag?
#4
Old 04-25-2005, 07:03 PM
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How 'bout America (the book): A citizen's guide to democracy inaction, by the writers of The Daily Show?
#5
Old 04-25-2005, 07:25 PM
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I think a book is a fine idea, but I'd reach back a little further and get him Alexis De Tocqueville's Democracy in America.

If you want to go with the funny and fun, I'd agree that a trip out to the firing range is a good idea. He'll have to get his own gun, though. (Most ranges will allow you to rent a pistol for shooting -- call ahead and ask about a basics course.)
#6
Old 04-25-2005, 07:39 PM
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Chewing gum, a baseball cap, a tee shirt with a corporate logo on it. Just tossing around some ideas.
#7
Old 04-25-2005, 07:41 PM
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When my boss got his I got him a 1 ounce silver dollar and a 1 ounce coin from his homeland (the UK.) I like this idea because the coins have the year on them and are a ncie reminder.

A flag is a nice gift and when he got his he seemed very pleased.
#8
Old 04-25-2005, 07:43 PM
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If he's a homeowner, I'd consider getting him a sapling - a way to show he's putting down roots here. I know that maples are associated with Canada, but it's still a tree that I think of associated with home, myself.
#9
Old 04-25-2005, 07:58 PM
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A membership in the ACLU.
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#10
Old 04-25-2005, 08:10 PM
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How about a nice framed copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights?

I also like the idea of a tree.
#11
Old 04-25-2005, 08:27 PM
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I vote for a 1040 long form.

StG
#12
Old 04-25-2005, 08:57 PM
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!

Obsidian, I'm a naturalized U.S. citizen, and I think that's a great idea!

Cowgirl Jules, I'm afraid I'm going to veto getting him a frame. While you do get a Certificate of Naturalization when you become a citizen, it is an official document which you may need to provide. Mine also has a rather ugly official photograph of me -- I think the requirement is your entire right ear must be showing. I keep mine buried in my file of official documents, along with my birth certificate. To me, framing it and displaying it would be a bit like framing an old driver's license.

On the other hand, when I was naturalized, at the reception afterwards, each of us who was naturalized was given a set of two flags, the American flag and the Pennsylvania state flag (I was naturalized in Pennsylvania) in a desk top holder. I still have them and I have to admit, I feel a certain pride when I remember how I acquired them. Hmmmm. If someone could take a photo of him when he's sworn as a U.S. citizen or at the reception afterwards (about 30 of us were sworn in en masse when I was naturalized), that could make a really neat gift, but that's not something you could give him at the time. A framed copy of the Declaration of Independence, or a book with documents like the Constitution and subsequent amendments could be nice. Maybe a book on American history, possibly with something about the role immigration played in it? That or something tastefully patriotic.

Folks, I understand the temptation to joke about this, and I'll be as quick to bitch, moan, and joke about the things about this country I don't like, but this time, on this day, I don't think a gag gift would be a good idea. I was 2 1/2 when my family moved to America; it's really the only home I've ever known. Nevertheless, the decision to deliberately renounce all alegiance to my former country (England) was a big one and, corny though it sounds, the day I became an American citizen was the proudest day of my life. Yes, I was thinking that through as I wrote this. It's a unique, very special feeling. It was nearly 20 years ago, but I still remember it. A gag gift, while it wouldn't exactly have tainted it, would have told me that the person who gave it to me didn't really understand what this was all about. Before and after the ceremony, yes, by all means joke about it! When I was naturalized, I had to provide 2 character references, and you'd better believe my best friend gave me grief about being one! Becoming a citizen, however, takes several months of sometimes nerve-wracking bureacratic hassle. It is the most important thing I've ever done in my life, although if I ever become a mother, that might top that. As I remember that day, I still bask a little in its glory.

Then I grumble a little. You see, I was naturalized in October, too late to vote in the #@@!*# election! And there was a candidate for governor I didn't like!

Obsidian, please give your friend my congratulations and accept my thanks.

CJ
American by choice!
(OK, I had to do that. I now return you to your regularly scheduled cynicism.)
#13
Old 04-25-2005, 09:15 PM
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Siege, I thought it might be something like that. Otherwise, I think my mother and grandparents would proudly display theirs.

Maybe something nice done in calligraphy to frame instead? Do you know someone handy with a needle to embroider or cross-stitch an announcement, Obsidian?
#14
Old 04-25-2005, 09:20 PM
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When become citizen, get pie ...

Apple pie.
#15
Old 04-25-2005, 11:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Siege
Folks, I understand the temptation to joke about this, and I'll be as quick to bitch, moan, and joke about the things about this country I don't like, but this time, on this day, I don't think a gag gift would be a good idea. I was 2 1/2 when my family moved to America; it's really the only home I've ever known. Nevertheless, the decision to deliberately renounce all alegiance to my former country (England) was a big one and, corny though it sounds, the day I became an American citizen was the proudest day of my life. Yes, I was thinking that through as I wrote this. It's a unique, very special feeling. It was nearly 20 years ago, but I still remember it. A gag gift, while it wouldn't exactly have tainted it, would have told me that the person who gave it to me didn't really understand what this was all about. Before and after the ceremony, yes, by all means joke about it! When I was naturalized, I had to provide 2 character references, and you'd better believe my best friend gave me grief about being one! Becoming a citizen, however, takes several months of sometimes nerve-wracking bureacratic hassle. It is the most important thing I've ever done in my life, although if I ever become a mother, that might top that. As I remember that day, I still bask a little in its glory.
You know, my friend is very much the same. His family moved here when he was three, and to the average person on the street he's as American as I am. I guess that's where the idea of a funny gift came from. But you're right, it's a very serious thing. His parents didn't want him to get naturalized yet, and it was a big thing within his family as he went through the process. The fact that he asked all of us to attend the ceremony with him certainly says something about the event's meaning to him.

I like the coin idea a lot. I also really like the idea of De Tocqueville's book. He majored in history in college, so I know that's up his alley, and he's French.
#16
Old 04-25-2005, 11:22 PM
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U.S. savings bond? As a symbol of the investment he's making in this country? I also like the idea of something commemorating the day. Maybe a small scrapbook with pictures and possibly the headline from the local paper.
#17
Old 04-26-2005, 09:54 AM
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A NASCAR shirt and a tattoo. (I kid!)


A nice bottle of american wine.
#18
Old 04-26-2005, 10:05 AM
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A scale-model of the Statue of Liberty. We have one in our family room. It's a little kitschy, but there's something about it that makes us smile whenever we look at it (gosh, just like America!)
#19
Old 04-26-2005, 11:04 AM
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Maybe a biography of Benjamin Franklin? The French loved him!
#20
Old 04-26-2005, 03:24 PM
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Get him a CD of Ray Charles's version of "America the Beautiful"
#21
Old 04-26-2005, 03:44 PM
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Sorry for suggesting one more gag gift... a welcome to the club book:
"Stupid White Men"

You could give him a gag gift that is not offensive... especially if its something very american he doesn't like... like baseball caps or baseball bat. (I'll wager he is a cricket fan)
#22
Old 04-26-2005, 04:00 PM
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Some ideas -

A good bio of Lincoln, Jefferson or (as mentioned above) Franklin. Everyone should read Lincoln's entire 2nd Inaugural Address. There's a lot more to it than "With malice toward none".

A CD of patriotic music in traditional arrangements. He'll hear more modern versions soon enough. Should include the Star-Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, and the Stars and Stripes Forever.

For a humorous take on American history, the CD of "Stan Freberg Presents The United States Of America, Vol. I".

In addition to anything else, a nice printed copy of this Asimov article about the Star-Spangled Banner. Asimov was also an immigrant - he came to the USA with his family when he was 2. The article opens like this:
Quote:
I have a weakness--I am crazy, absolutely nuts, about our national anthem.

The words are difficult and the tune is almost impossible, but frequently when I'm taking a shower I sing it with as much power and emotion as I can. It shakes me up every time.
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