Category Archives: Antigua

Homemade Greetings for the Season: Christmas Abroad

While abroad, Peace Corps Volunteers like to stay connected with their families and friends, especially during the holidays when it’s not always possible to travel home. As a continuation of this earlier post, Sending Seasons Greetings: Holiday Cards from Abroad, we will look at more holiday cards that volunteers sent and received.

While it was easy to find and buy cards to send, it was often common for volunteers to make their own holidays cards.

Margie Tokarz, while serving in Antigua from 1967-1968, found time to make this card to send home.

She mentions in the card that being away from home is making her “find a happiness of Christmastime on a different level. I have to focus instead on its essence,” instead of its commercialism. But she writes to her family that she misses them terribly and that a great part of her will be with them on the holidays.


Claire Pettengill, who served in Morocco from 1978-1980, got started early on her cards, mentioning in a December 3rd letter that she was designing them and planning on making cookies as well. She says “Christmas is fast approaching and making me homesick. Oh for stockings, presents, and the radiators humming away in the night.” She made two cards to send her family. The first was all pictures with a framed palm tree and hanging stockings, colorful Christmas and New Years wishes and Arabic translations of those holiday wishes.


Her second letter looks much the same. Except in this one she included a holiday greeting to her family.


It was also common for volunteers to send letters to each other. This one Charlotte Daigle-Berney received from her friends while serving in Uganda from 1966-1968.



Every year, PCVs also receive seasons greetings from the director of the Peace Corps. Early volunteers including Maureen Carroll (Philippines, 1961-1963) received holiday wishes from Sargent Shriver, founder and first director of the Peace Corps.


Even though volunteers could not always see their families during the holidays, they could still keep in contact and send them warm wishes and updates about their lives abroad.



Margie Tokarz in Antigua

Margie Tokarz

Country of Service: Antigua
Place of Service: St. John’s
Service Type: Deaf Education
Dates in Service: 1967-1968
Keywords: Caribbean, Education

Accession Date: April 9, 2013
Access: no restrictions outside copyright
Collection Size: 25 items (located in small collections)

Document Types and Finding Aid

  • Correspondence, 1967-1968 (All letters to her parents except for two.)