Gift(s) for European Hosts--HELP!

May 19th, 2006, 07:58 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
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Here is an idea for something that is beautiful, long-lasting and very American. A Revere bowl.

Designed by Paul Revere, they say, and it comes in silver, silver-plate, or pewter, so it fits various budgets.
olive_oil is offline  
May 19th, 2006, 08:14 PM
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For booze, bring a bottle of good quality vodka. There are two types-get the high-test vodka with the most alchool. Trust me, this will be very appreciated.

For a more substance gift, bring something art. I don't know about the Shaker boxes but maybe this would be appropriate. I brought some eskimo art-a small bird made from branches. One time I brought some soap-stone figurines. If you live in the SouthWest, get something nice from the Navajo art.

Scandinavians have usually well decorated in their homes. Don't bring tacky gifts. Think nature for a gift, this is something which will mix into a Scandinavian home.

In my opinion, gold, silver and other precious metals are not appropriate.

blackduff is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 04:15 AM
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Glad that worked out! I have seen some Shaker boxes for sale at home design stores in France, Belgium, Germany and Austria, and the high quality ones were quite expensive.
The accompanying book is a good idea. We've only been to visit one Shaker center (in New Hampshire) but it was fascinating.
BTilke is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 04:36 AM
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>>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.<<

Geez ira, I bet you fell off your dinosaur the first time your great uncle told you that story.
obxgirl is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 04:52 AM
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If you do bring any alcohol along with the great Shaker boxes, don't make it tooo high octane or they won't let you on the plane with it. Too flammable.
Carrybean is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 07:25 AM
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How about a really nice pen/pencil set made by an American manufacturer? I bought one for some French friends and they really liked it. It's also very easy to carry. A beautiful book of one of the National Parks or the city in which you live is nice, too. Also, easy to pack, though heavier. If they like to cook, perhaps a cookbook with American recipes. I often get requests for the cookbooks. I usually give a set of measuring spoons and cups with that gift. It saves converting. I'm sure whatever you decide will be enjoyed.
annetti is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 08:53 AM
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Shaker boxes are such great design and interestingly they go beautifully (IMHO) with the lines of most Scandinavian interior design I have seen. I actually like the Revere bowl idea (as a nice "American" gift, but have no idea if it's "appropriate" as someone stated that gold/silver were not. And Pewter is problematic if used for food, right? Pen/pencil set actually sounds nice too--not that it's not available in Europe but it's a fairly neutral and always useful gift.

For some college students in Scotland (nieces of our neighbor) we got t-shirts with the logo of the university where I work. (On a previous trip they had brought our lads Scotland t-shirts).
annw is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 11:22 AM
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We went to Italy 5 years ago and wanted to bring my cousins gifts that were truly American. We found a shop in a nearby town that had Native American Jewelry and other gift items. We bought the women turquoise necklaces, bracelets and earrings and we found interesting key chains for the men. For some of the men, we also bought letter openers from the Frank Lloyd Wright Museum catalogue. (they probably have a website) Be careful not to pack the letter openers in your carry on.
I love the idea of the shaker box. We are going again this June and I needed an idea for some of my cousins.
amf is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 11:45 AM
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Take them out for dinner. That's always a nice present that everyone loves.
kleeblatt is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 12:04 PM
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I agree that taking your host to dinner is always appreciated.

amf, I was interested in your letter opener idea as this is what I did one trip to Italy. The makers of my sterling silver flatwear produce letter openers in the pattern that I have owned "forever". I purchased the sterling silver letter openers for gifts to give to friends in Italy. And for the few that didn't know I explained it was the same as my sterling pattern. Everyone seemed very pleased with them.

Letter openers are certainly easy to pack. Except I agree that one could not put them in their carryon (I took all of mine to Italy early summer of 2001) so I don't know if they would get stolen if they were in one's checkin luggage. That would be a worry.

patth, do you have any photographs of relative and/or ancestors that you and your Norweigian relatives "share". If so what would you think of having copies made and bringing those to them?
LoveItaly is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 12:31 PM
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Jack Daniels....

Mucky is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 09:01 PM
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LoveItaly--Great idea about the photos...maybe next time. I currently have more than $100 invested in Shaker Boxes & a book P.S. This Norwegian also loves Italy and is afraid that this trip will never measure up to our trip to Italy last summer.
patth is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 09:32 PM
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Hi patth, I bet you will enjoy Norway. I say that as my stepgrandson visited Norway and although Italy is their favorite country I can tell you he raved about the time they spent in Norway. I hope after you get back home and get rested you can give us a trip report. Visiting a country where you have relatives or close friends is so special. My best wishes to you!
LoveItaly is offline  
May 25th, 2006, 07:21 AM
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OK, I have the "American" gift solved; now I have a vodka question. Should I purchase vodka for my hosts while I'm in St. Petersburg or in the ship's duty-free shop? I know nothing about brands and prices, and don't want to be ripped off, so I need a little advice (don't have a clue what a good litre of vodka should cost). Can anyone suggest a brand and/or tips for purchasing? Cheers!
patth is offline  
May 25th, 2006, 07:30 AM
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I had the same question recently for my daughter's host family in Florence. I decided on a nambe wine server, because I wanted something hand-made in the southwest of the United States, but also something classy and 'artistic'.

Nambe has won several modern art awards and it made the perfect gift to a family who serves wine at each meal. They seemed to really like it. And coincidentally, two members of the family had spent three-weeks touring the American West last year, and we spent time after dinner poring over their gorgeous pictures. We decided that the wide open spaces of the American West really made a good contrast to their home in Italy.

I was able to go to the Nambe website, copy their History of Nambe, and the Care and Use sections, then used another website to translate that copy into Italian. I printed it out on pretty paper, with a picture of their wine server at the top. They seemed to really appreciate the extra effort to present the information to them in Italian. We enjoyed a lovely dinner at their home, and they proudly used the wine server at dinner, then set it on the mantel afterwards. I was really glad I'd brought it for them.
May 25th, 2006, 08:26 AM
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Most of the time I bought vodka, I bought the Schmirnoff (sp??)which is either Canadian or American. I would always bring the blue label. One is a red label and the blue one has a higher alcohol. One is 80 proof and the other is 100 proof. The bottles with 40% is the same as 80 proof.

Most of the time I bought the bottles in the duty free shops.

I currently have Finnish vodka called Finlandia. This is 40% and it's quite nice.

I was passing into Sweden each ten days to two weeks. I stopped at the duty shops always on the way home. I usually asked the Scandinavians what they want and most of them wanted the vodka.

Although Absolut Vodka comes from Sweden, it's not that popular. It received it's fame came from an American advertisment. Absolut dumped this agency and their sales dropped. Funny story.

The higher alcohol rate is needed since often the vodka bottle is put into the freezer. It doesn't freeze but it's very cold when it's served.

blackduff is offline  
May 25th, 2006, 08:32 AM
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OK, I know that you have the gift picked out, but I thought you'd all like this story.

A few years ago we were traveling to Spain to spend some time with a friend that had moved back to Europe after living in the US for years. We knew her mother from her trips to the US to visit her daughter. Since it was summer, we were invited to stay at the mother's summer villa at the beach. Naturally we asked what we could bring. The surprising answer was a box of the extra long Aluminum foil. Apparently they only had the regular size in Spain and her mother was constantly complaining about it. So, we packed about 5 boxes. We felt like idiots, but they were a huge hit.
altajoe is offline  
May 25th, 2006, 10:04 AM
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altajoe, that is an amusing story! A couple of my Italian friends always love to receive Betty Crocker cake mixes, lol. Why I have never understood but it is fun to have something we take for granted receive such enthusiam.
LoveItaly is offline  
May 26th, 2006, 12:24 AM
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There's something which hasn't mentioned but if you're bringing these gifts, you probably will be invited for a meal.

If you do, make sure you arrive with flowers in your hand. The flowers are for the woman and the bottle is usually for the man.

The next thing to remember. If you're sitting on one side of the hostess, there's a chance that you'll be asked to make a thanks for the meal. Okay, maybe it's quick to say "Thanks" but more is needed. You're going to think about a good story which would be suitable. Not too long, not to short, and cetainly not dirty.

I can't remember the sitting place but normally it's alongside of the hostess. Give a story before you go to the meal. It's a special part of Scandinavian life.

blackduff is offline  
May 26th, 2006, 01:30 AM
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That's interesting, Blackduff.

It used to be that friends in the UK always had me bring zip-lock bags for them. They may be available there now, though.
Carrybean is offline  

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