house gift suggestions

Old Jul 6th, 2005, 06:07 PM
  #1  
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house gift suggestions

my mother-in-law will be taking a tour in russia. she will be in st. petersburg for a couple weeks and will be a guest for dinner in someone's home. she would like to bring a gift and has asked me for suggestions. any help on this at all, please, would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 06:11 PM
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They, dont have the simple home appliances that we take for granted like simple vegetable pealer or hand egg beater. Nor do you have good wine.
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 06:17 PM
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I usually try to give people in other countries gifts that represent the US in some way. Like, for instance, you might consider giving them a book about your home, for instance, let's say you live in Idaho, so you might give them a book about Idaho that has lots of nice photographs in it.
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 06:29 PM
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U. S. pictorial calendars make very nice gifts too, along with good chocolates.
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 06:38 PM
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That should have read they: My husband has been in Russian homes and says they need common kitchen appliances . What's available there is of poor quality.
They will be extremely thankful.
If you know cothes sizes, a simple t-shirt would be most welcomed. (no Logo, please)
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 06:41 PM
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Most flats are very small and they often really don't have space for extra "things". But a nice bottle of wine would be great. Or candies/cookies if she doesn't want to take alcohol.
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 06:44 PM
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My friends in Germany always want me to bring home Oreos! They are crazy about those. Just another idea because someone mentioned cookies


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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 07:10 PM
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Gernmany has excellent appliances, not Russia. chocolats and oreos should be an added treat, the vegetable peeler or whatever will last longer and needed more.
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 07:46 PM
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What about something that is special about where you are from? Like maple syrup or other local treats?
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 08:07 PM
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I brought maple syrup to French friends in Provence and Normandy, they thought it too sweet, so who knows about our choices. My friends were honest enough to tell me not to waste money on them again. I bought those tin log cabin Vewrmount special presentations.
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 09:30 PM
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Unless you really know the recipient, the best gifts are the ones that can be used up. If she doesn't want to risk bringing something special, like maple syrup or salsa from the U.S. then she should bring what she would take to a host here. A bottle of wine, good vodka, or candy. When in doubt I always bring flowers. People always have room for them and they don't have to sell them at a garage sale later.
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Old Jul 7th, 2005, 02:05 AM
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wow - i post regularly on carib and us boards but you guys are so fast and informative. and NICE.
the suggestions are great. my MIL will be thrilled. except? vodka for a russian? is this truly a good choice or were you joking? perhaps a bottle of kentucky bourbon?
are there restrictions about entering russia with booze or other food products like the salsa or syrup?
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Old Jul 7th, 2005, 02:38 AM
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I definitely wouldn't take vodka. The other drink Russians LOVE is champagne. I agree with the "use it up" advice. Their apartments may be quite small. The advice of flowers is excellent and as you exit a Metro, there will be many flower stands to get a bouquet. It is a custom that I love about Russians--they appreciate flowers on a daily basis rather than ours as a "special" occasion. Perhaps it is the lack of having a yard and flower garden available. A pictorial calendar is good. Maybe a picture frame? Good chocolates? Popcorn? Post cards of her home town to show?
Tell your MIL to bring pictures of her family and maybe even her house.
The Russian people are some of the warmest hosts we have ever experienced.When we have stayed with families or they with us here we have to be VERY careful not to "admire" something too much--they will give it to you!! We have a wonderful picture of birch trees that our friend took right off of his wall and gave it to us. They wanted to give us maps and papers they had protected during the war. Just amazing folks. The meal will be memorable.
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Old Jul 7th, 2005, 07:34 AM
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ira
 
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Hi V,

Flowers are always acceptable.

A picture book of your home state is always acceptable.

A vegetable peeler or other appliance is not a good idea.

((I)
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Old Jul 8th, 2005, 07:40 AM
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I guess it depends on the relationship your mother-in-law has with the people who invited her. When I visit a Russian friend, I always bring gifts. When I visit someone I don't know as well in Russia, I stop for flowers on the way and bring a box of American chocolates.

So, to a friend...
Small appliances can be good, but they do have much more available to them than most Americans realize. My friends loved the "misto" spray bottle for oil that I gave them last year- they are figure- conscious and do not have spray oils available for frying.

Amongst my friends, some love peanut butter, popcorn, maple syrup... some just don't! Popcorn can be insulting if the person doesn't know you, as it used to be fed to the animals.

Most Russians CAN buy a veggie peeler but choose not to- they prefer to peel with a knife. I brought one last time to my friend Vera, and I was the only one who would use it- they go faster with a simple knife.

For someone you don't know...
Dish towels and place mats, napkins, etc. are a safe option. I like to give a fridge magnet from where I live, too. Candies are always good, as well as other kitchen-y accents. I always stock up on books of NYC and the Southwest to give to new friends- better to find good pictorals, with little need for English. Also, if she has a favorite musician, a tape or CD could be appreciated.
It sounds very "CCCP", but the selection of Barbie dolls in Russia isn't what it is here. I have always brought a nice doll with some cute extra outfits to share with any children in the household. Also, dress up clothes can be fun!

There are a million little things... let me know if you have any other questions!
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Old Jul 8th, 2005, 08:01 AM
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Last time we gave a Barbie doll to an overseas friend's daughter it nearly wrecked the friendship.

Flowers (local), candy (brought from home), books/calendars, sports paraphernalia for kids. No booze.
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Old Jul 8th, 2005, 08:09 AM
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My husband's family lives in Russia and we always go bearing gifts. We usually bring an assortment of: Bath&Bodyworks lotion, little yankee candles, leatherman/pocketknives for the guys, and cookies/chocolate in decorative tins. Also, the Lipton tea bags always go over well.

Since we live in Texas, we always bring some BBQ sauce as well.

Hope this helps!

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Old Jul 8th, 2005, 04:04 PM
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again thank you to all. i am copying this thread and mailing it to mominlaw now. i know she will love the book idea as she was an art prof.
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Old Jul 8th, 2005, 05:40 PM
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Virginia,
No I wasn't joking about the vodka. Maybe it wasn't the best idea, but it did seem that a high quality bottle of vodka (bought in Russia) might make the host happy. Now you know why I stick to flowers.
Gardyloo,
I'm curious as to why Barbie was offensive? Was it her, ahem, form?
Maybe you should try Build-A-
Bears (I would insert a little smiley here if I knew how).
A
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Old Jul 8th, 2005, 08:35 PM
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Hello L84SKY, the website to know how to do the smileys is www.fordors.com/forums/smileys.

Best wishes.
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