Need a gift for a host family

Dec 14th, 2006, 04:33 PM
Original Poster
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Need a gift for a host family

My son is doing a two week study abroad program in Monaco in January. His host family actually lives in France. What would be an appropriate gift for him to bring. We know nothing about their likes, dislikes, etc.

Thank you.
msrondette is offline  
Dec 14th, 2006, 05:58 PM
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I dont know if this may help but when I travel I like to take gifts from my home state of Oregon (local food, crafts, art). I leave them with people I meet and bed and breakfast owners. People are usually very interested in where you come from! Just a thought!
panhandle is offline  
Dec 14th, 2006, 07:41 PM
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Bring a bottle of very good California (red) Zinfandel wine. Its not easily available in Europe. Pack it well, in bubble wrap in his suitcase and it should arrive just fine.
kleroux is offline  
Dec 14th, 2006, 07:44 PM
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I agree---a nice Zinfandel is wonderful wine, and something they do not know there. And if you happen to live in the Northwest, a package of the non-refrigerated dry-smoked salmon (Native American style) to go along; that is unknown in Europe.
enzian is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 02:02 AM
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I suggested this on another post with a similar question some time ago; Williams Sonoma do a fleur-de-lys shaped cake tin. I've never seen anything like that here; I'm sure a french family would like that.
Tulips is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 02:15 AM
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Hi ms,

Flowers are always appreciated.

He can buy them in France.

ira is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 07:05 AM
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I think a French family would find a Fleur de Lys anything rather odd... and probably not use it.
kleroux is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 08:25 AM
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Peanut butter and barbeque sauce are some of the things that I have been requested to bring to families before in France and Italy.
dutyfree is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 08:41 AM
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I agree with the idea of items from your home city, especially books of photographs, craft or food items that reflect regional tastes. But I do not endorse the idea of bringing wine to a French host family. In my experience, the Italians and the French do not have the same custom of bringing wine as a gift that North Americans do and the French especially can be quite rude about Californina wine.
LJ is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 09:33 AM
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a coffee table book of your area and also some nice kitchen towel/pot holder is always welcome and practical.

good box of brownie mix might also be welcomed. he could make it for them while he was there.

also, a small album of pictures of his family and friends and tourist info of your area helps break the ice when he first sits down to have any type of conversation with the family.

it is very simple to explain family in a foreign language and helps make a connection.

some europeans do not like to see bare feet in their houses.. bedroom slippers are a good idea.

lincasanova is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 09:44 AM
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Just a detail : Monaco in not a french city, it's a COUNTRY (not need to guess what a french family would like, think about a monegasque family)
norween is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 11:34 AM
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Don't even try to pack a bottle of wine in your luggage. If it breaks, everything in your suitcase will be colored red. The way baggage gets thrown around these days, the odds are bad for it surviving the trip. Flowers sound like a better idea and you don't have to take up space in your suitcase.
ngarona is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 12:05 PM
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A local food specialty and include a post card showing your home town or state (hazelnuts from Oregon, smoked salmon from Seattle, maple syrup candies from Vermont, etc.). It doesn't matter their likes or dislikes with this kind of gift... "it's the thought that counts" and you can't go wrong with sharing something local in my experience.
suze is offline  
Dec 17th, 2006, 03:59 AM
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Thank you to everyone who replied. I was intrigued by the response from kleroux who thought the fleur de lis would be a bad idea. Are you French or Monagasque? Not meant sarcastically, just curious. By the way, this host family is of Italian descent and apparently are wonderful cooks (which thrills my son to no end!). So, he is studying in Monaco and living in France with an Italian family! We live in NJ not far from NYC and he wanted to bring I Love NY t-shirts. His girlfriend told him it was a dumb idea!
msrondette is offline  
Dec 17th, 2006, 04:17 AM
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I would recommend maple syrup, as you are from the Northeast. In my experience, my host families have really enjoyed a nice, locally made cutting board (sometimes shaped- like a pineapple or tree).

A good chocolate chip cookie kit is nice, too- or as someone else suggested, brownies. That way, he can make them something, too!

katya_NY is offline  
Dec 17th, 2006, 05:15 AM
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If they are Italian they are certainly familiar with Zinfandel wine which comes from the Italian grape Primitivo. Both Zinfandel and Primitivo are from a much older Croatian grape.

My daughter studied abroad last year for five months (Spain). She was surprised to find out that most "host" families were hosting to supplement their income. Her family enjoyed some simple products that weren't available there. She asked me to mail some Kool-Aid in various flovors which she taught them how to make. She also bought calendars that represented our area and a local candy - bourbon balls.

kybourbon is offline  
Dec 17th, 2006, 06:57 AM
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very few european host families are under the umbrella of volunteer programs although the same progrma in the USA enjoys the generoisty of volunteer families looking for an experience of cultural enrichment with hosting a foreign student.

unfortunately, most europeans are not willing to open their homes to strangers but some will work for language schools and programs as long as they are reimbursed the expenses and then some.

all said, families here are very involved with helping third world children ahve medical stays or summer holidays and are very gracioushosts with them.

language schools and study programs need so many families for accomodations, that unless they paid them, they could not offer their courses as easily.

lincasanova is offline  
Dec 17th, 2006, 07:11 AM
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Brownies, in kits or already cooked, are available all of France. Brownies are also often served in cafes, alongside of croissants.

Champion, Carrefour, Auchan all sell the brownies in a box or in kit form.

My thoughts for this family would be a nice book about your area. If you're close to NYC, find a nice photo book for the coffee table.

blackduff is offline  
Dec 17th, 2006, 07:44 AM
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Haven't read all of the above, but if the family has kids or teens (or even kids in their 20's), how about tshirts or sweatshirts from your local university?
hdm is offline  
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