ideas for host gifts

Jan 25th, 2010, 06:55 AM
  #1  
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ideas for host gifts

I am traveling to Italy and Switzerland this summer with my family and we are staying with family and friends while we are there. I need some ideas for gifts for our hosts.

What do you think that EUROPEANS (italian / swiss) would like from the U.S. ??? -- (we live in NJ and my husband works in NYC).
travelingintheblood is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 07:58 AM
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What I've often brought back to Europe as souvenirs of America (particularly for those that are hard to buy for) is the "This Is..." series of books by Miroslav Sasek.

They've always been well received (well to my face at least) and as they have minimal text and great illustrations of 1950's/1960's scenes, they work for people of most ages, even if they don't speak English.

There's one for New York so it should hopefully fit part of the bill.

For kids/teenagers anything Yankees (or Mets for the connoisseur) normally goes down well in my experience.
Jay_G is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 07:59 AM
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This has been discussed on at least a few occassions. You might find help by searching.

If I recall correctly, most of the threads result in a knock-down drag out fight about what to/not to bring.
vjpblovesitaly is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 08:07 AM
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Indeed - I was hoping to start a list that didn't begin (and end) with boxed brownie/pancake/muffin mix or Reeses Peanut Butter cups and might suggest something that the 'average' European might actually want.

Well, we live in hope...
Jay_G is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 08:11 AM
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I would love dearly a house guest who brought me a Baccarat
Mille Nuits Cake Plate.

This subject has been discussed ad nauseum. The Search feature should pull up enough suggestions to fill Macy's Herald Square.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 08:14 AM
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"Indeed - I was hoping to start a list that didn't begin (and end) with boxed brownie/pancake/muffin mix or Reeses Peanut Butter cups"

Funny. I was thinking of maple syrup when I responded
vjpblovesitaly is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 08:32 AM
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Maybe some of the European Fodorites will chime in with examples of gifts they've received that they did or didn't like and we can avoid the Betty Crocker v. Aunt Jemima face-off....
Jay_G is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 08:45 AM
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How much are you looking to spend?
Margaretlb is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 08:46 AM
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"What do you think that EUROPEANS... would like from the U.S."

Nothing.

That's not meant to be offensive. But there is not one single thing that ALL (or even most, or even more than a tiny minority) of Europeans want from America.

Any more than ALL, or most, or even a tiny minorioty of European teenagers want anything referring to American sports teams (Seriously. I don't know a single young person over here who'd be seen dead wearing the stuff. But I know lots who regard fellow-citizens who do wear it as complete tossers)

Any more than there's anything all Americans want from Europe.

Now some Europeans like maple syrup. Some want to wear foreign sports teams' clothes. And some might even like marshmallows.

But most don't, which is why smart marketeers don't sell the stuff here.

Look,they're YOUR friends and YOUR family. Their tastes are as unlike mine, or any other European poster's as yours are from your next door neighbour's.

And who's the greatest expert round here on YOUR friends' and YOUR family's tastes?

Correct.

So why are you asking us?
flanneruk is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 08:52 AM
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Thank you for the helpful replies.

Not sure on money amount -- just want some good ideas. Willing to spend more if needed. I find it is hard to buy things for our Italian relatives. They have different taste and style in clothes and food.

Maple syrup is a good idea -- however, we had Italian family here last Christmas and made them french toast and they had no idea what it was or how to eat it.

I usually give European Chocolate -- cheese -- or tea as gift here in the U.S. -- but it seems silly to give out European gifts when visiting Italy and Switzerland.

What do we have that they love??! Anything??? I need some locals to chime in!
travelingintheblood is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 08:58 AM
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They are family that live FAR away and we see them maybe every uh 7-10 years!!

Looking for HELPFUL advice on people who are in my situation and have given a gift that worked for them . . . and also those who live over in Europe and have something from the U.S. that they have been given or that they think would make a nice host gift. thank you!

I am asking on this forum because I would truly love to give our hosts a gift that would be special and that they would enjoy.
travelingintheblood is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 09:09 AM
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"What do we have that they love??! Anything??? "

There is absolutely NO way of telling what these specific people would love to receive. NONE -- they may live far from you and you've only rarely seen them. But none of us have ever met them so you have a great advantage there.

What flanner says is true - no two people will want/appreciate the same thing.

And - Europeans can get just about anything they want either locally or on-line. Think along the lines of what you'd take as a hostess gift back home - not food IMO. So if you have to take something, just make it something from your home town -- And not Maple syrup . . . .

Better possibly to take them to a nice dinner, buy them wine locally, that sort of thing.
janisj is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 09:34 AM
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Janis is spot on.
Just give them what you would give to a friend at home
MissPrism is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 09:38 AM
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Californian wine and bourbon? (er....unless they don't drink, of course)
alihutch is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 09:43 AM
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In that situation I usualy bring some sort of book about the area I live in (if I don't know what they like) or one about one of their interests if I do (natural wonders, or American history or Wash DC. If I realy don;t have a clue I invite people out to dinner and/or bring wine puchased there.

If it's stuff for teens or tweens I get an Itunes gift card or similar.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 25th, 2010, 09:50 AM
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For house gifts I like to give crafts made locally, frequently pottery. While I do not know everybody's taste, I can give something I find tasteful and authentic and would like to receive myself; that's all that I can do anywhere.
Nikki is online now  
Jan 25th, 2010, 10:11 AM
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Jersey Shore will be out on DVD soon. It will include never before seen footage
vjpblovesitaly is offline  
Jan 26th, 2010, 05:27 AM
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Thank you very much for all the helpful imput!
travelingintheblood is offline  
Jan 26th, 2010, 03:28 PM
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A piece of advice from a Venetian local who ran a linen shop, which allowed us to avoid a faux pas.

Don’t give handkerchiefs to Italians, as it is bad luck. It implies that the receiver will have something to cry about.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
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