Are you guilty of buying your friends and family tacky souvenirs in the form of key rings, magnets or miniatures of prominent buildings? Do they actually appreciate it beyond the thought of the gift? How much use is it to get yet another keyring that says Paris or magnet with I heart with NYC on it? I know they can be reasonably cheap and easy to collect but is the money well invested? I believe that gifts should be individual and meaningful. This can be quite a hard task to fulfill, I am aware and can cost you a lot of your holiday time by running around frantically, trying to find the perfect gift. My advice is simple and I want to share the tips I have learned over the years with you.
Make it Personal
I once had a friend who wanted to come on a London trip through a university course on Shakespeare with me, but fell sick just a day before and had to miss out. I wanted to bring her a gift that would remind her of London and then it occurred to me that that might be stupid. For one, she hadn’t been there in the first place and could therefore not create a memory with it. Second, it would have reminded her of the missed opportunity to experience swinging London town. After checking out every souvenir shop and fretting over what I should buy, I found the ultimate gift. A lolly that had a Shakespeare quote from the Globe on it. Why was it perfect? It perfectly summed up the experience – a sweet Shakespeare trip, that was edible and, being edible, it would not last to remind her forever.
Buy When You See a Possible Fit
Not only on my travels but actually throughout the year I often stumble upon things, where I think “that would be perfect for X”. Then, I just go and buy it. Why wait until the birthday or special event and then suddenly stress out over it and being unable to find anything that would suit? It doesn’t make sense, that’s why. The same goes with souvenirs. Don’t just wait until the last minute and then go find the next best shop. Chances are, it is a more expensive one, the stock is hideous and you will be stressed. It’s your holiday after all, why expose yourself to stress? Instead, buy the items that you like others to have. Sometimes the right person comes to mind instantly, sometimes you will find the right person later on, but if you still have space in your luggage, go for it.
Recreate the Holiday Mood
Sometimes you just don’t find the right present and other times you just don’t find the time. Don’t stress, but get creative. Do people actually need a physical thing in their homes that just collects stuff or is stored away in boxes after a while? Why not give them something that is not only a thoughtful gift but a fun experience as well? Since you can’t take your friends back to the holiday destination, why not take the destination to your friends? This could be a personal cooking session, for instance. On your travels you might have picked up an exotic recipe, which can be whipped up for a bunch of friends. It not only serves as a good occasion to gather everyone at once for a travel photo showing but also makes it more enjoyable for the viewers that otherwise don’t have an actual connection to the place you’re showing. Plus, it’s yummy.
Send a Great Postcard
Yes, it is cheesy but send a postcard. Everyone loves postcards. It gives people an opportunity to talk about cool places their friends are vacationing in, they can hang it up and read about your adventures in a super short form (and not listen to it for ages). Maybe avoid the overly corny ones with simple drawings and overly sexual undertones referring to famous sights or the stack of obviously outdated 80s style postcards. No one likes those postcards (unless you’re absolutely certain your friend does or does not care at all). Why not choose a beautiful postcard that you actually would want to hang up? Why not a one professional photograph card with a nice font?
Have you fallen victim to the tacky souvenir trend? Why do you like to buy them?