What to bring for friends in London

Oct 13th, 2010, 02:12 PM
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I think we need a bigger bottle of Midol....
lizziea06 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 03:04 PM
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hi enjoyinglife,
I've been in London for about a month and a half now and I'd say that there's probably very little you can bring your friends that they can't get there. If I were you, I'd bring something from your local area, so that it's a bit more personal gift from you. For example, I often give 'away' friends a gift of a maple syrup product. I can't carry bottles of maple syrup on a plane and won't put them in checked luggage so I bring candy or maple flakes (which are fabulous sprinkled on hot pancakes or buttered toast). Is there a similar local area product you can take? For the baby, I'd just bring a sweet toy or item of clothing. I wouldn't worry too much about it being unique.

As far as people not wanting 'crap', I just don't understand that attitude. The idea of a gift is that it's a GIFT, generously given and hopefully, graciously received. I'd say don't worry too much about it. I'm sure your friends will appreciate your thoughtfulness, whatever you bring.

(Do you knit, crochet or sew? If so, maybe you could whip up a little something hand-made for the baby.)
goddesstogo is online now  
Oct 13th, 2010, 03:23 PM
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My daughter who lives in London likes Gap clothes for the kids. Yes, there is a Gap on High Street, St.Johns Woods but they take back US Gap stuff and the difference in price often buys something extra. Also, US "sugar" cereal is much, much more expensive in UK, but that is not a "good" gift esp. for the child. Howver, the US grahams cereal is liked by some London kids.
Elainee is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 03:51 PM
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goddesstogo, Perhaps I was a bit brutal when I coined the word 'crap', but I have a small stash of gifts ( which I graciously received and even wrote thank you notes) that I can't use or that don't suit. I simply wait until enough time passes that I don't feel too guilty and take it to Goodwill. Some items I label and bring out when whoever gave it visits. But in all honesty, such gifts were a waste of money. That doesn't make me or anyone else less thoughtful or appreciative. In fact I feel badly about such a sitution. When giving gifts, I usually take considerable time in trying to come up with something that will be appreciated. Giving gifts without having a really good idea as to what will be useable or even enjoyed is often difficult at best.
historytraveler is online now  
Oct 14th, 2010, 12:14 AM
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Sure, history traveler, we all have some version of what in my house is called 'the gift drawer' where unwanted gifts go to live till they get re-gifted or taken to Goodwill. It wasn't just your post I was responding to. I've been reading gift threads on here for a long time and believe me, there's nothing anyone can suggest that someone else doesn't think is crap. That's why I said the OP shouldn't over-think it. If she gets one or two good ideas from this thread, that's great. She should pay attention to the posts with ideas and ignore the posts with opinions.

In one of my very early posts years ago, I suggested that the OP with a similar question (and whom I think lived in a city with a famous university) take a university t-shirt or sweatshirt for the teenager in the family she was visiting and I got soundly lambasted for that answer too. I'm pretty sure it was one of the posters here who also told me it was a 'crap' gift, so at least they remain true to form.

It's just not very helpful when someone asks for a suggestion and gets a whole bunch of responses with no actual answers but just trashing everyone else's suggestions.
goddesstogo is online now  
Oct 14th, 2010, 12:58 AM
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An American friend of mine is a keen birder and brought her British friends cotton shopping bags with illustrations of American birds. They packed easily and are "green".
Supermarkets now charge for plastic bags and most people now take their own re-usable bags.

I seem to remember that you can get rather nice writing paper in the US.
The nationalities of your friends make things a bit more difficult.
I'd agree with a really nice gift for the baby and take the adults to a nice restaurant.
MissPrism is offline  
Oct 14th, 2010, 03:34 AM
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Oh no BKP - that comment wasn't directed at you!

Some other things that might make good gifts. If your friends are avid cooks, Microplanes and Oxo kitchen tools are really handy. Yes, I know you can probably find them in an overpriced kitchen boutique on the high street, but they are much cheaper in the states and handy to have.

I stand by candy corn and tide pens and defy anyone to come up with a worthy UK counterpart ;-)
lizziea06 is offline  
Oct 14th, 2010, 05:01 AM
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I miss Tide pens. I missed barbecue sauce but learned to make a passable version. I love maple syrup and find the Canadian brand sold in France very good and not that expensive given how long a bottle lasts.

Regarding candy preferencs, an island which invented deep-fried Mars bars should not cast stones or candy corn. But, perhaps that was a non-Brit casting the aspersions on candy corn. Chill pill, anyone?

This is not much help to the OP. For the baby, I would just buy a cute outfit and not worry much about the brand, size is more important. As already suggested, I would look at good craft shops for a unique gift for the parents.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Oct 14th, 2010, 06:24 AM
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alihutch on Oct 13, 10 at 8:54am
>>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<<

I didn't notice anyone putting down Brits in the thread, you might want to dust that chip off your shoulder.

Our German au pair said the thing she missed the most was Nutella. Although Nutella is available in our supermarket she said it wasn't the same. I had no reason to doubt her.
DancingBearMD is offline  
Oct 14th, 2010, 06:45 AM
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Okay, I'll make a suggestion. How about a picture frame? Certainly something you can get in London, but that issue has already been dealt with enough. With a small child, I'm sure they have a lot of photos. Perhpas you could even find a frame that's unique.
historytraveler is online now  
Oct 14th, 2010, 07:15 AM
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I didn't notice anyone putting down Brits in the thread, you might want to dust that chip off your shoulder.

No chip, no putting anyone down, just a self deprecatory joke!
alihutch is offline  
Oct 14th, 2010, 08:14 AM
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how about some sunshine - we haven't seen much of that lately
portuense is offline  
Oct 14th, 2010, 08:26 AM
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Actually, historytraveler, you might have a really good idea there. If the OP has a photo of her and her friend together (or their respective families) at an earlier visit, that might be a very nice and very personal gift. That, or a small photo album with a few pictures of the earlier visit and room for pics of the upcoming one.
goddesstogo is online now  
Oct 14th, 2010, 08:52 AM
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alihutch on Oct 14, 10 at 11:15am
>>No chip, no putting anyone down, just a self deprecatory joke!<<

My apologies. You Brits and your damn subtletly.
DancingBearMD is offline  
Oct 14th, 2010, 08:55 AM
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Two nations divided by a common language...
alihutch is offline  
Oct 14th, 2010, 10:02 AM
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If your friends drink wine and you plan on checking a bag I would simply take them a bottle or two of your wonderful central coast wines and be done with it, especially since you already plan to take them out for a dinner. Really, when someone visits me I'm thrilled with a dinner out. That means no menu planning, no cooking and NO CLEANING the kitchen for that night. It's the best gift. But getting back to the wine suggestion, there are some really good boutique wines only available in California. That's another gift I would be thrilled with.
sharona is offline  
Oct 17th, 2010, 01:07 AM
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Can you still get Oshkosh dungarees for small children? They used to be on my request list.
tarquin is offline  
Oct 19th, 2010, 08:19 PM
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Take your Australian friend a big jar of Vegemite. You might need to get it by mail order.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Oct 20th, 2010, 04:32 AM
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I read yesterday that wine is now made in every single state of the US. That really surprised me as the only US wine we ever see here is Californian. now, maybe there's a reason for that but for sheer novelty value how about a bottle of wine from a US region less well known on this side of the pond?
littlejane is offline  

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