With our trip wrapping up, it’s time for the acquisition of a few souvenirs. Gifts and souvenirs always stress me out, only because the variety of items offered are usually generic and impersonal making them destined for the dustbin shortly after handover.
Certainly this isn’t the case for all souvenirs. The options for women seem to be endless, with necklaces, pendants, rings of every imaginable shape, size and color. Soaps, chocolates, porcelain plates with some hand painted characters. For a guy though, the options seem to be a bit more limited. Even with Christmas coming up, the simple solution for a gift is to get a voucher to Home Depot and go buy some tools. Men like tools, not fridge magnets.
Restrictions on souvenirs are certainly limited to what a guy might like, but more importantly small and light, non-perishable, and something that will arrive intact. What might Dad like, or that brother-in-law? Below is a short breakdown on a few of the male-oriented items we’ve encountered and struggled with the possibility of purchase. For the guys you’re thinking specifically of, one of these suggestions may be spot on.
Aprons? Likely a little suggestive, unless spending a lot of time in the kitchen already. Maybe best suited for a guy that already has several aprons, and not the kind worn in the woodshop. Rolling pins, spatulas and wooden spoons could also fall into this category. They are all beautifully carved and finished pieces…but souvenir worthy?
Pens? Possibly for that guy that writes a number of letters. Maybe someone that carries a couple pens around for show, or is afraid of contacting the communal pens at banks and shopping markets when signing that credit card slip (yes, they don’t use the PIN everywhere). Make sure the pen is marked with the souvenir city of purchase, and at least one of those bikinis that slip off when the pen is inverted.
Watches? A watch is a watch, and can be purchased pretty much anywhere. Unless it’s duty-free, or a deeply discounted knock-off, why load up your luggage with a timepiece with limited warranty.
The belt buckle. For a Texan, Albertan, or other farming territory requiring heeled boots and oversized waist-mounted jewelry. We’ve seen some wicked belts, but a belt is a belt. Not too many guys are showing off their belts, or discussing waist side with anyone potentially looking to buy souvenirs.
Ah, the wooden games and puzzles. We’ve run across chinese checkers, and even regular checkers, all nicely carved into a set that rivals the price of a small car. Small chess sets seem to be typical souvenir items as well, however these are usually sets that sit in a box somewhere in the crawl space, or are set up in the corner of the room for display…slowly collecting dust.
How about a corkscrew with the city of vacation written across the handle? Corkscrews are handy on occasion, but if there’s very little wine drinking in the house that corkscrew might be used as a wall anchor to create a temporary coat hook. Of course there are the old standards of the bottle opener, keychain, and combination of the two that could possibly be retained as a gift. Maybe used for that spare set of keys handed over to the neighbour.
T-shirts? The only t-shirt option seems to be the “I heart someplace”. As a souvenir, this only seems to work for the person buying the shirt. How could anyone you hand the shirt off to say they love a place if they haven’t been there. The good thing about being in Nice, is the shirts imply “I love nice!”, which would be near equivalent to “I love happy, spaceships, or cuddly teddy bears”, just in poorer english. Still not likely suitable for most guys as the big red heart on the shirt just isn’t studly enough.
The default seems to be consumable items. Maybe a vacuum packed cured meat or cheese. Something that will likely be consumed in 5 minutes and forgotten about in a week or two unless the smell still lingers in the fridge or unemptied wastebasket. Candies, chocolates, cookies…aim for something unique that could be washed down with a coffee or beer.
What would I want? The reality is I wouldn’t want anything. Buy me a beer when we meet up again and we can chat. Simple, easy, no need to go out of your way to try and bring something kitschy back. Just good to know you at least considered me in your struggles with shopping.