Gift(s) for European Hosts--HELP!

May 14th, 2006, 07:49 PM
  #1  
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Gift(s) for European Hosts--HELP!

Here's a questions I haven't seen on this message board: What can I bring from the U.S. to give my Norwegian relatives who will be hosting us for a few days? Seems that it's ludicrous to bring glassware, etc., to someone in a country known for such items, and I'm really at a loss. I can think of nothing that represents the U.S. other than Levi jeans--not a great gift for a 60 yr. old cousin! Based on other posts, I plan to bring a bottle of liquor (it's expensive to buy in Norway), but I'd like your suggestions about something a little more long lasting.

Thanks!
patth is offline  
May 14th, 2006, 08:33 PM
  #2  
 
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I'm drawing a blank for anything right now, except for some small and inexpensive things:
..little collector pins - you can get ones with your state's shape, etc.
..fridge magnets with pictures relating to your state

I'll be following this thread to get some ideas.
Maire is offline  
May 14th, 2006, 08:38 PM
  #3  
rex
 
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See http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34797898

or consider Bourbon balls, from Kentucky.

Or, as you propose... just Bourbon. Woodford Reserve? or Knob Creek?

Best wishes,

Rex
rex is offline  
May 14th, 2006, 09:10 PM
  #4  
 
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Some USA food staples are not available in Europe. Baker's chocolate, Nestle's chocolate chips, Italian Expresso coffee beans. Jello instant pie fillings. Canned pumkin. Costco sized spice/herbs. Paper plates. Your airplane in-flight sales probably offers, Jack Daniels.
GSteed is offline  
May 14th, 2006, 09:16 PM
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Two points:

- in a globalised world, and when your European hosts are likely to have travelled a great deal more than you anyway, what's the point of bringing something "American"? If it's something Norwegians like, it'll be on sale there: if it's not on sale there, chances are it's a quirky American fad (like maple syrup or marshmallows) the rest of the world really can't see the point of. Simply take whatever you'd take to friends you're staying with 50 miles away.
2. However, in addition to the trinket, it's general etiquette in Scandinavia for ALL foreign visitors to bring the maximum duty-free hard liquor allowance (1 litre), preferably of a liquor your hosts actually like. It's perfectly acceptable (indeed mandatory) for this to be gin or scotch, rather than bourbon or rye, if that's your hosts' preference
CotswoldScouser is offline  
May 15th, 2006, 01:02 AM
  #6  
 
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Small Shaker-style boxes regularly show up in European interior design magazines; they're useful and have a timeless style, as with most things Shaker. Bring a high quality, made in U.S. one, not an import knock-off. If you were from Oregon, I'd suggest something small and beautifully made from myrtlewood from the coast near Bandon, which IS hard to find elsewhere. If you're in Vermont, I'd suggest you go down to Frog Hollow, they have fabulous things there that you can NOT get easily in Europe.
It's time for CS to let go of his obsession with maple syrup (which has been around for generations, so it's hardly a "quirky fad" and is as popular in Canada as it is in the U.S.), this is at least the third time he's brought it up recently, must be a fetish or phobia, who can tell.
BTilke is offline  
May 15th, 2006, 01:28 AM
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"Paper plates. "

Pleeeaaase, no. What makes you think there are no paper plates or Italian espresso coffee beans in Norway? There is also maple syrup in the supermarkets.

CotswoldScoucer, BTilke and Rex all have a point. Alcohol is expensive in Norway, so get a bottle of brandy or whisky, plus a bouquet of flowers from the nearest florist to the woman of the house. The Shaker box would also be appreciated. They are high class handiwork, and very much "in fashion".
elina is offline  
May 15th, 2006, 01:34 AM
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am I missing something here...paper plates?

Anyway, what's wrong with maple syrup and marshmallows CS, it's not just Americans that eat them, yummmmmmmm.

I'd go for the booze and a little touristy trinket from your home town (fridge magnet or something) as everything else is too effected by personal taste and can be bought by them anyway if they really want one. Our relatives from australia came over with a bunch of little grippy koala bears and handed them out liberally on their visit, and it was fun, low cost and not something you feel obliged to clutter up your house with if you don't like it.
nona1 is offline  
May 15th, 2006, 01:52 AM
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Agree with the above - liquor is very expensive in Norway, so bring 1 litre per person from duty free. Bombay Sapphire gin is my favorite

And maple syrup from Canada is widely available in Europe - both the organic and regular versions. It is popular (it's replaced Golden Syrup on pancakes in my house), but not difficult to find here.

But paper plates and jello instant pie fillings? Nooooo.....

I like the Shaker boxes idea.
Ruth is offline  
May 15th, 2006, 02:10 AM
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Jello instant pie fillings. Canned pumkin.

There are reasons why we don't have everything that is available in America. These sound disgusting.
nona1 is offline  
May 15th, 2006, 06:49 AM
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Just because it may not be available doesn't mean they want it (jello and paper plates)!

I would go with liquor as everyone has suggested, plus trinkets from your home town, a small photo wall calendar, key chain, cigarette lighters, frig magnets with city/state name/logo. And if there are other local food specialties like nuts or dried fruit, maple syrup, berry jam... in small amounts.

I like the Shaker wooden decorative box idea too.
suze is online now  
May 15th, 2006, 07:11 AM
  #12  
 
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It is interestng people like the Shaker box idea - perhaps becuase people are thinking "I'd like one of those" - To me that is the key - what would YOU like to receive? I know that I would not be interested in fridge magets or other tourist tat, but would love to receive something handcrafted that woudl last - such as a shaker box
wombat7 is offline  
May 15th, 2006, 07:22 AM
  #13  
ira
 
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Hi P,

My great uncle told me that when he was in Europe as a young man that cigarettes for the men, chocolate for the chldren and nylons for the women were greatly appreciated.

ira is offline  
May 15th, 2006, 07:51 AM
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I just answered a similar question posted by brown_jug (you might find some good ideas there, too) and suggested ball caps of your favorite american sports teams or your alma mater for any young people. They pack easily and are a real novelty and "American".
cchottel is offline  
May 15th, 2006, 08:13 AM
  #15  
 
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Books !!! Books with photographies related to the place where you live
We are travellers..aren't we ?
kenderina is offline  
May 15th, 2006, 08:55 AM
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Combine a Shaker box AND a book about Shakers. That would give extra value to the box, knowing what kind of people make those simple but stylish objects. And Shakers ARE definitely American.

I mean, not necessarily every European even knows that they exist, let alone how they live. And you have to admit their life style is very peculiar. A book would explain.

For example when I first saw Shakers and heard about their way of life, I thought that Oh My God, How Can It Be True!!!???
elina is offline  
May 15th, 2006, 09:49 AM
  #17  
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Thanks, everyone. I appreciate your taking the time to post your ideas (even the pragmatic ones like paper plates & canned pumpkin). It's hard to come up with anything truly American that isn't a little--shall we say--tacky or cheap, isn't it?! I love the idea of the shaker boxes and will begin an Internet search for them and perhaps a book about them.

Keep those ideas coming!
patth is offline  
May 15th, 2006, 12:19 PM
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Actually, I find many things that are "truly American" to be of wonderfully high quality. You can find cheap, tatty American souvenirs, but you can also find cheap tatty souvenirs from just about every country that sees a fair number of tourists.
Google these for some ideas (all three have web sites):
The Real Mother Goose (Portland, OR)
Earthenworks Gallery
Frog Hollow Vermont State Craft Center

all of them sell wonderful things designed and made in America by wonderfully creative and talented American artisans.

Then, of course, there are the many small artisanal manufacturers of soaps, creams, kitchen products, etc. like Purple Haze Lavender (my personal favorite www.purplehazelavender.com ) found across the U.S.
BTilke is offline  
May 16th, 2006, 05:27 AM
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We're going to Lithuania this summer, and I am bringing food gifts. My son had lived there and there are typically American foods that aren't sold there but are really enjoyed and appreciated. Obviously, Norway may be different, but I think some of these same ideas may apply. Here are some ideas: Our brown sugar and chocolate chips with a recipe for chocolate chip cookies included. You may even want to make a batch for them while you're there. I'll actually be bringing the large 4 pound bag of sugar from Costco because this has been the #1 requested item every time someone has gone to visit them. Unique hot sauces from the southwest of the US. Or, even a bottle of Frank's sauce. Cajun/creole type rice and bean mixes from the New Orleans area. Spicy barbecue sauce. Real wild rice with a few recipes. When my daughter studied in Vienna and we went to visit, her landlord asked us to bring a giant size jar of peanut butter because, while available there, it is very expensive in Europe.

Food isn't long-lasting, but assuming your host reads English, you could include a cookbook of regional American favorites.
julies is offline  
May 19th, 2006, 06:50 PM
  #20  
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Thought I post an update on my gift dilemna. I loved BTilke's idea about the Shaker boxes and elina's idea about pairing the boxes with a book. I went on-line and purchased a set of 3 Shaker boxes from Shaker Workshops in Massachusetts (not cheap but beautiful) and a book, "Shaker Life, Work & Art" from Amazon. Both arrived w/in 5 days and they are going to make an absolutely wonderful gift that I know my cousin will pass down to her daughter. Thank you--I would have never thought of this on my own!
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