What to bring for friends in London

Oct 12th, 2010, 12:08 PM
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What to bring for friends in London


I am going to visit a friend in London and want to bring gifts for her, her husband and their one year old daughter. What can I bring that they don't have in London? For example, I want to bring clothing for the child. What brands can I bring that they can't have there?
Your assistance is greatly appreciated.
enjoyinglife is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 12:23 PM
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You haven't seen fit to tell us where you live, so how on God's earth is anyone meant to know whether you're asking about what they sell in Azerbaijan or in Tokyo?

In any case, though, why does it matter? We can't buy lots of the really crap house brands they sell in American Wal-Marts (or the really horrible variants on Wal-Mart's George brand that W-M wouldn't try to foist on anyone outside America). But who'd thank you for bringing them?

On the other hand, the best-received present from abroad I've ever given anyone was a vinyl set of New York Dolls albums I got a niece from somewhere on the Lower West Side.

The question starts off with what your friends might like - which is something only you can possibly know. And in answering that, the easiest assumption to start off from is that EVERYTHING is available in London

No New Yorker wouldn't waste time buying a Califiornian something merely on the basis it might not be on the shelves of Ralph's. They'd base their decisions on their knowledge of the recipient.

Whgy treat Londoners any different?
flanneruk is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 01:10 PM
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A can of Spam. Really.
rogerdodger is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 01:25 PM
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Regarding clothing for a one year old, I don't think they have Gymboree or Janie and Jack ( the upscale version of Gymboree) in London. However, as flanneruk said, with very few exceptions you can but anything in London that you can in New York, California or anywhere else in the U.S.
historytraveler is online now  
Oct 12th, 2010, 01:26 PM
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Definitely DON'T bring any Hershey's chocolate....Yuk.
Hooameye is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 01:35 PM
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Are your friends foreigners in London? From the same place you are? Maybe just some comfort food from home. For our American friends in Germany they always ask us to bring cornbread mix. When we spent a year out of the US in London any friend who asked me I had bring Wheat Thin crackers. (That was about the only "American" food I couldn't find there.)
laurie_ann is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 03:35 PM
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Ask them what sort of CARE package they would like from home. That is really the only practical option.

They can get most anything they want in London -- either the same items or better ones.

There are a few touches of home an individual family may miss that isn't easy to find in the UK. But what fits that criteria will be different for everyone.

So ask them . . . .
janisj is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 03:44 PM
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How about some local artisan type things (jewelry, pottery, textiles, etc) that's made near you.
zootsi is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 03:50 PM
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I've often found that instead of trying to decide what my friends might like and then trying to fit it into my luggage allowance, it's a whole lot easier to take them out for a nice lunch or dinner. It's always appreciated and better than second guessing on gift possibilities.
historytraveler is online now  
Oct 12th, 2010, 04:42 PM
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I agree there is virtually NOTHING Londoners (or most any Europeans) can't get that we have here in the USA, so trying to find them some "American present" is a bit of a waste of time. That said, a nice bottle or two of California wine that might not be available in the UK might work (check with your wine store as to whether it's available there or not).

Or a nice picture book about the area of the USA you live in.

Or something anyone would like and make use of, like a set of placemats and napkins.

Or take them out to dinner.
StCirq is online now  
Oct 12th, 2010, 05:15 PM
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There are definitely very few things that you can buy in the US that yo can't inthe UK. I would never get cloting since there is no recourse if the fit is bad or there is some other roblem.

If I have to bring a gift for someone I don;t know well I always do something local and unique -a coffee tablebook on NYC for adults, for kids something any one can use - like an iTunes gift card. If Iknow them -well then I can judge what they might like. Or perhaps something from a local museum. Sometmes if I want a token gift I go to the subway store - they have a bunch of modest items - from small folding umbrellas, to note cubes or tachotkes kids might like.

Not sure why you're bringing gifts. I usually try to take people out to dinner if possible - versus bringing a "thing".
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 05:41 PM
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Locally made crafts.

But what do I know? I'd probably bring something to California from New York as a gift if I knew it wasn't available in California.
Nikki is online now  
Oct 12th, 2010, 06:03 PM
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Have you visited them before? It sounds like you haven't been to London or the UK enough to understand that they can get everything they would want there.

If you've been, what did they seem to enjoy? Perhaps the best gift is something that you know they like - just the same gift concept as you would have here.

Do they have a garden and enjoy gardening? If they do, perhaps THAT is something you could do. Order an evergreen or flowering plant that is more typical to the US from a nursery in the UK to be delivered contemporaneously with your arrival.
Continental_Drifter is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 04:44 AM
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After living here (the UK) I want to dispel the myth that you can get ANYTHING in London that you can in NYC, LA, etc. It's just not true. Yes -- if I want to go through an ebay company that fills up a freight container once a month or so and then ships it to Europe I can get most things. At a huge markup and a huge inconvenience. If a friend comes to visit me it is more convenient for them to throw something small in their suitcase than it is for me to use this company.

We're throwing a Halloween party this weekend. There is NO comparison between what is available here vs. the states.

An itunes card bought in the state might not work for a UK customer. I have an American itunes account and often have problems when purchasing music here in the UK. The accounts are different.

To answer the OP's question -- things that are hard to find, super expensive, or simply unavailable -- if your friend is American just ask her if she misses anything. If she's an expat she probably has a list in her head!

Janie and Jack and Gymboree are good suggestions. They have adorable baby clothes here but they don't do the huge "lines" that the American stores do. Find a Gymboree line that you like and buy the lot so she can mix and match.

If it helps, I'm missing Brach's candy corn and mellowcreme pumpkins. American candy (not chocolate). Apple cider mix. Maple syrup. Ranch seasoning. You could be thinking about American holidays coming up, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Lots of American make their stuffing with cornbread mix, another unavailable product. Oh and Victoria Secret bras! But, if you're good enough friends to know her bra size you probably wouldn't need to ask here for suggestions!
BKP is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 04:47 AM
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TIDE PENS!!! Crystal Light, Pam cooking spray, sugar free hot chocolate, J Crew, Janie and Jack, Halloween is a great thought - candy corn. Also, triscuits, good microwave popcorn.

Also, Thanksgiving is around the corner. While you can find canned pumpkin, it's quite expensive. Maybe some cute decorations?
lizziea06 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 04:53 AM
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Tylenol Cold, Neosporin, specific brands of toothpaste, Crest White Strips - these are all things [email protected] brought back or have had people bring to me.
lizziea06 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 04:54 AM
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Is there something different between the Maple syrup we can get in the UK? I see loads of varieties here, but heh, I'm just a dumb Brit
alihutch is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 04:55 AM
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It's not the same. Just like your peanut butter.
lizziea06 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 05:13 AM
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even the imported stuff?
alihutch is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 05:18 AM
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If you want to pay 6 times the US price then by all means you can get Skippy at Partridges.
lizziea06 is offline  

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