Gifts to bring from America

Discussion in 'Travel Tips & Advice' started by skate007, May 12, 2005.

  1. skate007

    skate007 Active Member

    Hello Everyone! I am going to be living with a host family in the Czech Republic soon, and I am having a hard time finding things to bring as gifts (from America). I just don’t know what would be of an interest to the Czech people (even children). I can not think of anything that the United States has that the Czech Republic doesn’t. If you have any ideas it would be greatly appreciated! Thank you
  2. schutnitza

    schutnitza Active Member


    This is truly a hard task to find gifts for the hosts. Especially if you don't know the people personally yet (or do you?). I always have this problem when I go back to Russia. I always have to bring something and never know what, even for the people I know! Well, now I bring clothes and household items a lot, but this is for those who I really know well.

    Here are some suggestions of gifts from America that have worked for bringing to Russia (of course, people that are from CR probably can answer this better and I might be totally wrong here, but anyway...):
    1. Good book with a lot of good illustrations and history of the city/town/state where you are from. It might also help you with starting conversation with people that you don't know yet about yourself and where you live and etc...Even take a map of the place where you live - sometimes people you meet want to know where it is located.
    2. Nice table cloth or something of that sort... I think this is good especially for middle age people. I would say this is an item that not everybody can afford to buy very often even if it is available in the host country.
    3. Since CR is big on beer, some memorabilia from a US brewery (like a beer mug, etc. ) could be an interesting gift
    4. Good quality coffee (not Folgers instant or anything cheap like that). Take something like good quality Columbian coffee in whole bean. Don't take flavored stuff because most europeans like strong black coffee.
    5. Some people like to get exotic spices like different indian spices and etc that wouldn't be easily found in eastern europe. Some stores sell nice sets those exotic spices.
    6. For kids take any toys (no games or something violent like so as to not offend people).
    7. Sometimes gifts like sets of good lotions are a hit.
    8. Maybe if you know their music interests, take some CDs (but not classical. Bring something unique to the US culture)

    DO NOT TAKE (in my opinion): candles & picture frames and other like things that are really popular in the US for gifts - those are not looked upon well by eastern europeans (again, this is based on my own experience) Also, remember that appliances in Europe are not US standard, so don't take those.

    Also, I recommend that you don't bank on one big gift. It is better to take a VARIETY of different things that can show some of the US culture and pique the person's quriousity and interest in your way of life. I usually get a few expensive items and then throw in some cheaper, but cool ones. A lot of times I've been able to find some of the greatest little gifts at Wal-Mart.

    Happy shopping and gifting!!! :)

  3. evian

    evian Well-Known Member

    Hi Kaitlyn,
    I also had the same dilemma as you, last year when I went on an exchange to Japan. I bought much of the usual stuff, i.e. Australian souvenirs, books, boomerang etc. etc... But what I found really left an impression, was to buy 2 very precious and expensive gifts, 1 to give as a final present when you arrive and the other just before you leave to go home. Something that they can put on display (something precious) is a good idea. Because my family is from New Zealand, I bought them a display plate enclosed with NZ Paua Shells (the Japanese adore these). If you are stuck for ideas, you may like to try some Swarovski Crystal - it is small, beautiful and takes little space in your bag. If you could get one of something that related to the USA that would be great.
    I don't know what the Czech culture is when it comes to accepting gifts, but some of my friends became upset to how the Japanese host family accepted their gifts to them. For example, the father would throw the present back on the table when received, or not acknowledge when he sees what it is, or even say "I hope it is money." Whilst many would find this rude, on no accounts are they trying to come across this way, it is just their culture. I'm just saying this so you are aware that the Czech customs may be different when it comes to receiving gifts, so don't be offended by them.
    Hope this helps,
    Enjoy your time in CR!
  4. JednaPusu

    JednaPusu Member

    I always bring special jams and jellies, maple syrup, good coffee (NOT Starbucks or other corp brands), salt water taffy and such. These are always a big big hit. I brought jalapeno jelly this time and it only lasted for one breakfast! I agree with the advice of not one BIG gift, numerous small gifts are much more fun (and easier to pack). For the children, well illustrated books on American things, like American Indians, animals and travel (like Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, etc.) Pictures to daydream by.

    Have a great time and I have just one bit of advice for you, please, if you are going to speak english to anyone in CZ, please do not talk so slowly that it comes off you are talking to a 2 year old. I hear americans do this there all the time and I find it insulting. Learn the language, or at least enough to ask for things. And ALWAYS say PLEASE and THANK YOU.
  5. skate007

    skate007 Active Member

    Thank you for all of your help, you gave great ideas and made me think a bit more! I am planning to bring Minnesota Quarters (the US has quarters for each state coming out and the Minnesota one just came out last months so I bought a lot) as one of my gifts, does this sound alright?
    Again thank you for your help!
  6. Suniskys

    Suniskys Active Member

    Coins sound perfect! My cousins love getting coins there.

    For me, it's a little easier. Kraft Peanut Butter for my grandpa, and Comet for my grandma (she's a total neat freak and loves Comet). But then, I know them.

    Since you're American, this may not work as well, but when my dad goes over, he brings smoked salmon. Everyone absolutely loves it! It never lasts long! And it's such a Canadian thing that they all think it's neat. It's also not very common over there.
  7. magan

    magan Well-Known Member

    DO NOT BRING CRYSTAL. Someone suggested Swarowski crystal as a gift to bring to Czech Republic. Please do not. Bad idea as Czechoslovakia is well know for their crystal and everyone has that stuff at home and is tired of it. On other hand it it very popular with tourists to bring Czech Crystal home. Ask your Czech friends where to buy it as tourist areas ask ridiculous prices for it. Department stores where locals go have "normal".

    Also, coffee is plentiful and good in CR. Practically all well known brands are available there. Not too many Czechs drink drip coffee, most of them prefer "turkish coffee".
  8. skate007

    skate007 Active Member

    wow, you all have been so helpful! Someone said that I should bring Minnesota beer mugs, what do you think of that idea?
  9. Halef

    Halef Well-Known Member

    Hmm.. good idea, but I have a question - how big is a "Minnesota beer mug"? Anything under 0,5 liter is too small :)
  10. magan

    magan Well-Known Member

    Maple syrup is now available in Cz. Peanut butter is also available. ...At least in Prague, where I am often.

    Perhaps dish towels indicating where are you from?

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