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Ideas for gift giving for French homestay hosts

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Aug 9th, 2011, 03:14 PM
  #1
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Ideas for gift giving for French homestay hosts

Hi everyone,

First I would like to say I love this forum.

I am staying in France for four months with three host families. One married couple no children that I know of, and two single women, ages unknown, one of whom is an accomplished cermanicist.

I decided to give a gift package of makeup and perfume set for women and men to the married couple. For the two women I have decided to give a Victoria Secret's perfume and lotion gift set.

Now I'm just wondering if these gifts are considered appropiate and considerate in France for homestay hosts. Or should I think this all over and if I should any suggestions?

Thank you
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Aug 9th, 2011, 03:44 PM
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"I decided to give a gift package of makeup and perfume set for women and men to the married couple. For the two women I have decided to give a Victoria Secret's perfume and lotion gift set."

Id personally never give that sort of gift to strangers. Not because it is 'inappropiate' but because most people have there own favorite scents, products -- and even allergies. There are the most AMAZING products in France so they might not be that 'impressed' (not meant in a snobby way)

I would not give any personal care/perfume items.

Something from your home state/region/etc would be more appropriate IMO.
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Aug 9th, 2011, 06:15 PM
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I agree with Janis. Whenever someone gives me scented things (body wash, etc.) I always re-gift them since it's never a scent or product I like. If you don't know these people how do you know what makeup to buy (skin tones, etc.).

Give neutral gifts or take them to dinner (that's what I would like).
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Aug 9th, 2011, 08:42 PM
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I really dislike getting gifts with perfume or lotion in them as this is something quite personal as far as the aroma goes. This is something that just sits around for years and years and I am then kind of sad that the giver wasted their money on a gift I will never use.

Better is to get them something that represents your hometown or region as the other posters suggested.
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Aug 9th, 2011, 09:44 PM
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Agree with above posters. Many people try to bring a product that their city/state/area is famous for.
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Aug 10th, 2011, 09:11 AM
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I don't think it's a good idea on several levels. I think it is too personal to give to strangers. Of course you risk that they won't like them at all, or think Victoria's Secret is perhaps tacky (it might be if you were used to only buying Chanel, Goutal, etc. perfumes, for example, I wouldn't like it at all myself) but I just don't think personal gifts like that are appropriate from strangers staying in your house through an arrangement with some school (I assume that's what it is).

I don't know how you could give makeup to someone unless it were just lipsticks or something. Even then, a makeup set would have to have more in it.
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Aug 10th, 2011, 09:44 AM
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Where are you from? What is your state/country/hometown known for? I'm from Vermont, so maple syrup is always welcome. For flying and keeping in mind weight limits, I've given a small
locally-made maple (wood) cutting board. From Aisa - bring nice fabrics - i.e., a tablecloth. From Texas - try chilis and hot sauces. Maine - taffy candies. From Isreal - bring an olivewood pepparmill. Etc. Etc. Be creative!
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Aug 10th, 2011, 09:47 AM
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I meant Israel and pepper mill - sorry for spelling!
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Aug 10th, 2011, 10:40 AM
  #9
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Thanks for the replies everyone! I choose the the makeup, perfumes, and lotions because they are all travel size so I thought that would be appropriate since it's not to big but still attractive looking. I can understand where everyone is coming from it's just I never had that problem before when giving perfume and lotions.

I'm from Chicago no real speciality except cheap Chicago trinkets and corn from southern Illinois. I heard from others that popcorn is considered a fun gift because they don't have it in France? But I will also cook when I get there because the hosts are known to enjoy western food as brownies and cookies.
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Aug 10th, 2011, 12:10 PM
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it's just I never had that problem before when giving perfume and lotions.

The recipients were very polite.

You might want to browse here:

http://caf.architecture.org/page.aspx?pid=624
Michael is online now  
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Aug 10th, 2011, 12:45 PM
  #11
 
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I also would never give perfumes and lotions. Way too personal.

You could save the space & trouble of packing and wait until you arrive and have met the people. Then you could shop for what they would like after you've seen their homes. I know the friend I stay with in Switzerland likes it when I buy their favorite kinds of wine and/or fresh flowers as a thank you.

If you really want to pack something from the US, I'd go with some kind of a gift pack of foods (nuts, dried fruit, candy, etc.).
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Aug 10th, 2011, 12:59 PM
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Mzladyx : Popcorn is widely available in France. So are brownies and cookies mixes. Gifts I take back to France from the US (I am French) : towels - guest/bath/kitchen towels, US cotton is excellent quality - dehydrated salad seasoning (the 4 Seasons type) - nice Indian handicraft (woven coasters or small rugs or pretty jewelry) - miniature LED flashlights, the kind attached to a key holder.
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Aug 10th, 2011, 01:20 PM
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A nice dinner at their favorite restaurant would be my choice, as adrienne suggested earlier. That would give you all good memories. If you are staying a month or so with each host, I would think that is the least one could do. A travel sized pack of perfume strikes me as a bit cheap, IMHO.
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Aug 10th, 2011, 02:13 PM
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I notice that you will be visiting France for 4 months.

Are you aware of the normal 90 day limit for American visitors to Scehngen visa countries, or is this something you have already sorted out? It may depend on the nationality that you hold, or the purpose of your visit.

There have been many threads on this topic, and it could be a lot more important than the appropriateness of your proposed gifts,
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Aug 10th, 2011, 02:43 PM
  #15
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Thanks for all your help everyone I'll take all of your ideas into consideration. Thanks again!
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Aug 11th, 2011, 10:42 AM
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Popcorn may exist in France, but not THIS popcorn from Chicago:

http://www.garrettpopcorn.com/

I'm not suggesting it to the OP since I would think it'd be a PITA to deal with, but I just had to share that my colleague from Chicago brings this stuff every time she comes to our DC office (it's good stuff). And yes, we have popcorn in DC.

Btw, I like the dinner out idea as well.
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Aug 14th, 2011, 03:48 AM
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One house gift that I've had success with is personalized stationary. Go to a printer's shop/store and select a nice quality box of stationary for notes and have them personalized with the recipient's names or initials. It's compact enough to pack, just personal enough and something that virtually everyone can use.
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