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“G” is for Gifts and Souvenirs

I’m blogging A to Z in April! No, really. Check back daily, because you’re an optimist! And I am NOT so far behind that I won’t catch up.

“What did you bring me?” It follows on the heels of “Welcome Home!” more often than you’d think. But it’s not a sign of your loved ones’ greed; it’s simply their way of travelling the world vicariously through you. They want to know that the postcard message “wish you were here” was sincere – that you thought of your mother, kids, neighbours, etc, while you were away. And really, you did, right? At least once, for half a second?

Gifts from your travels are a way to share your discoveries and adventures with those around you. No matter where I’ve gotten to, it’s second nature to want to bring something home for the kids -and sometimes my mom, etc. I don’t spend a lot, but I do enjoy searching for things that they’ll like/use/appreciate. Even if it’s just a “My mom went to the Andes, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” kind of thing. It doesn’t even have to be something place specific – I’ll often see something cute or different that you could probably get just about anywhere but I haven’t seen before. My last travel gift was actually an IKEA purchase (we don’t have an IKEA at home) I hauled home a tabletop greenhouse from Ottawa for my urban farmer husband so that he could start his herbs inside in February.

I think of gifts as the things I bring other people, and souvenirs as the things I buy for myself to commemorate my trip. Again, sometimes it’s just a keychain, but I do keep my eyes open for something different. The ceramic pig in my living room came from a darling little store called The Back Door in Kimberley B.C.  I loved that store, visiting several times during my visit out west, and the memory it provides always brings a smile to my face. And you should have seen the look on airport security’s face when they realized I had a “pig” in my carry-on.

The best, most different souvenir I have is technically contraband from the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The year was 1985, and I was standing in line for It’s a Small World. The decorative ball atop the queue stanchion came off in my hand – so I put it in my camera bag. Yep, I’ve got a ball of lead from WDW. Can you imagine bringing that through security these days?

I encourage my kids to souvenir shop too, and offer them tips -don’t buy what you can buy at home, try for something a little different. They’ve gotten into the habit of bringing things home as gifts- I have a lovely scarf from Paris, and some funky jewellery from Cuba. Of course, as airline regulations change, and baggage charges climb, the gifts change a little. It’s always a good idea to think first – ok, you want to buy it, but do you want to carry it?

What are your favourite gifts and souvenirs from the places you’ve been?

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About iwasawriter

Once, I was a writer. And writers, you know, write. I haven't done a whole lot of that lately, especially the basic level put-your-thoughts-on-the-page type writing. So here I am, back to battle the blank page and see if "I was" can become "I am" once more.

3 responses »

  1. And if her auntie had known she lifted that ball………

    Reply
  2. You gotta have a ceramic pig. You just gotta.

    I am a Maryland Terp (for terrapin). Our mascot is a turtle (a terrapin). Our colors are red and white (and gold and black). Somewhere in my home I have a bar of soap that’s over 25 years old — a red, turtle-shaped bar of soap — that I bought at South O’ the Border (in South Carolina?) because it just seemed necessary to stop at South O’ the Border after all the road signs and that seemed like the best thing to buy.

    Good luck with getting caught up in the challenge!

    Reply
  3. Visiting from A/Z. It is always fun to bring something home from a trip indeed! I got into a theme of bringing home a magnet to put on the fridge (and then we moved into a home with a fridge that didn’t hold the magnets so they sit in a bag somewhere else 🙂

    My favorite thing brought back was when my hubby went some place on his travels that had Doubletree Hotels; they were known for their delicious chocolate chip cookies. He would bring home a tin for the family; always delicious!

    Good luck with the rest of the challenge and I do believe you will catch up with it!

    betty

    Reply

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