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Thread: Need ideas for American gifts for international friend

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
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    Need ideas for American gifts for international friend

    I could definitely use the great, collective imagination of the BB for this one!

    I work with people from many different countries. On my last business trip, one of my colleagues in Israel brought me a few gifts from her country. She asked me ahead of time what I wanted (since I'd been there before) and I requested za'atar spice and halva.

    We have another trip coming up, so I thought I should return the favor and bring some US gifts for her. She hasn't spent much time here & couldn't think of any ideas of what she wanted, so I'm supposed to surprise her.

    So...I need your help coming up with some ideas! For some reason my mind is drawing a blank of what is unique to the US. The biggest caveat is that it must be something I can take onto carryone luggage for my flight to Miami. She does have 2 kids (around 10 and 7, I think) so something for them might be fun.

    TIA!

  2. #2
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    Jul 2001
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    Susan, how about something unique to your state? No, not a dairy cow either!

  3. #3
    I'm not sure if any of this would make her happy. A lot of people from other countries find american food either too bland or too sweet.


    (some of these may not be native to the US. Just thinking about some things off the top of my head)

    - barbecue sauce from somewhere local
    - Maple syrup
    - real wild rice (make sure its from Minnesota so its authentic)
    - blueberries
    - kona coffee
    - salt water taffy
    - cajun seasoning
    - peach things
    - donuts
    - Grits
    - Chocolate Chip Cookies
    - local beer
    - Cheddar cheese (it should travel well in a carry on)
    - Biscuits
    - Shortcakes
    -

  4. #4
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    Aug 2001
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    popcorn
    for the kids - t-shirts from your state university or a local sports team (the Packers would be a good candidate!)
    <)>>< Candace ><<)>

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    peanuts or peanut butter?

    My carry-on would have Texas goodies (chili, barbecue, pecans, peppers, etc.), but I don't think that's the kind of thing you are looking for.

  6. #6
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    I am struggling for things to bring to Germany in August.....so this is interesting to me.

  7. #7
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    LadyWild--what a great list! I jumped on to suggest maple syrup--maybe a little breakfast-themed gift? Syrup, pancake mix (maybe from a local place?), coffee?

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    If your friends drink alcohol a really good bottle of wine or champaigne or local crafted beer would be fun (but expensive and heavy). When my daughter was in France I sent her a bunch of American photograph calendars for distribution (obviously, a different time of year). The ones with national parks went over especially well - everyone had heard of Yellowstone. T-shirts with 'nice' American sayings are popular, the younger the recipient, the better. Perhaps some 'American' condiments - bbq sauce already mentioned and maple syrup but also consider pepper jelly, something Cajun, New Mexican dried peppers, pickled okra, maple sugar, peanut or other nut butters, ketchup.

    Smoked salmon has always been well received. We spent a great afternoon flying kites with one rather staid couple who were doubtful of the gift at first but rapidly became converts.

    Love the idea of shopping bags.
    Anne

  9. #9
    I think you live in Wisconsin. If so, then bring them some mustard. I know the mustard museum is nearby.

    I especially like the idea of the reusable shopping bags that reflect something Americana.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    It's been a long time since I have lived in Germany however, popcorn was not readily available...people liked it but corn was not served often as it was considered pig food ()...at the time I was there peanut butter was hard to find.

    I think you couldn't go wrong with food products from your state...i.e. dried cranberries, chocolate covered dried cranberries...mustard wouldn't be a bad thing, especially one that is different, but they probably have mustard readily available...I did like the suggestion of a breakfast package with Maple Syrup.

    Whatever you decide upon I am sure they will appreciate the effort you took...and you might find something they want again...

    Have a good time and enjoy yourself, even if it is a business trip!
    EmptyNestMom
    Grandma Pam to 3


    "The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude." – Julia Child

  11. #11
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    We live in Amish country so when we travel, I take Amish hand-quilted potholders, placemats, etc. for gifts. Lightweight, unbreakable, and a very nice story to tell about where it comes from.
    Sonja in Southern Maryland

    All kids are gifted; some just open their packages earlier than others. -Michael Carr

  12. #12
    Our French exchange students always brought really nice French perfume and makeup from Clarins for their hosts. In return, they wanted to take home Coca Cola memorabilia, Levi's jeans, and Hard Rock cafe shirts.

    Hollywood movies are unique to America but popular worldwide. Maybe some movie t-shirts?

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    Great ideas & brainstorming everyone. Thanks so much!

    I love the maple syrup idea, but never check luggage so that one is out unfortunately.

    Coffee - one thing I didn't know until I went there, but Israel has unbelievably fantastic coffee. They mock American coffee. So, this one is also out

    I asked around & popcorn is a common snack & readily available in Israel

    Last night, for the kids, I picked up some UW Badger tatoos, which I think will be fun.

    I think the idea for wild rice will be perfect! WI is known for both cranberries & dried cherries, both easy to pack & carry in luggage, so I'll pick up some of those as well.

    P.S. Very impressed that you guys knew about the Mustard Museum here! It's definitely a blast, but not very TSA friendly. They do have some hilarious gift ideas beyond mustard, tho, so I might have to visit this weekend.

  14. #14
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    Just want to throw this out there --

    Is your friend Jewish/does she keep kosher? So many people in Israel do follow various levels of dietary restrictions. It is something to think about before you brought foodstuffs that she may not be able to enjoy.

    - robin

  15. #15
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    I work for an Israeli company, so definitely know more than I ever thought I would about kosher! Very few of my colleagues keep kosher. But, I do know that her husband does. I had totally forgotten! Thanks for the reminder. I'll make sure anything I get for her will get eaten.

  16. #16
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    Sometimes in Israel it is hard to tell who does and who doesn't keep kosher as the options are much more seamless there. If the person is somewhat liberal in their observance it may not be that obvious to an on-looker.

    I am glad I could be of some help.

    Robin

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by SusanMac View Post
    I think the idea for wild rice will be perfect! WI is known for both cranberries & dried cherries, both easy to pack & carry in luggage, so I'll pick up some of those as well.
    Great ideas!!! Include a few recipes using wild rice and tips on the many ways to enjoy dried cranberries. First time I received wild rice as a gift I was clueless and the package wasn't very helpful.
    We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made.
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  18. #18
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    Gifts for 4 and 5 y/olds?

    my ex-exchange student has 3 nieces. the 5 y/os are twins.

    I do not know what to bring them as a little gift - it has to be the same obviously. Totally clueless.

    I am also struggling for other gifts to bring. I will hand carry any gifts. I already have a bottle of salsa, 2 american hat pins for my girls - one of which I found out won't be able to see me. she leaves for her year of service on the 4th to India. It's a 9-hr drive for her and i checked airfare and train and it's still about the same - almost 200 euro. Too much for just a day and a half....sigh...................

    I have been asked for peanut butter chips and that's it. And some salsa. check. HElP!!!!!!

  19. #19
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    How do you manage to pack for an overseas trip in a CARRY-on bag? I'm just amazed that you can be that efficient with clothes, etc. for a fairly long trip...

    SSM
    Now Robin's Mom too...10/21/02

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by luv2cook View Post

    I am also struggling for other gifts to bring. I will hand carry any gifts. I already have a bottle of salsa, ...
    You're carrying on salsa?

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