Please sign in to post.

Gifts for our Hosts in Belgium

My husband and I are planning a trip to Belgium very soon and will be staying with my husband's Belgian friend and his family. We want to take some gifts for him, his wife and their teenage kids (boy and girl). What are appropriate gifts? Team t-shirts? Is this a good choice for the mom and daughter? http://www.clipa.us/cgi-bin/clipa?display=home
We are planning to pack light - carry-on backpack - so we prefer items that will be easy to pack or that we can pick up once we arrive in Belgium. I read on another blog that said an uneven number of flowers is good and chocolate purchased in Europe. Any tips are greatly appreciated.

Posted by
103 posts

I'd try to bring something unique to your area, unless it's somewhere that they travel frequently.

Things I've brought in the past include:
- coffee table books (may be too heavy, but sometimes you can find small ones)
- keychains
- potholders/tea towels with local flowers on them
- hobby items - ie if you know that they like to play golf, you can bring golf balls with something on them that's from your area
- coffee mugs
- stuffed animals
- shot glasses
- candies made near my home

You could always get chocolates, a nice bottle of wine if you know they drink alcohol, etc. after you get there.

Posted by
2081 posts

Vlsmds,

i agree with bringing something from your local place.

To me, anything different is great to try. for example, i just love the Lait (coffee creamer) you can get in a toothpaste type tube in france and belgium, but not overhere. You dont have to refrigerate it either so i always send back 12 or so tubes of it.

You can try to find some local wines and chocolates.

Happy trails.

Posted by
12040 posts

Your profile doesn't reveal your location, but if your area is known at all for BBQ, a bottle of the local sauce would go over well. They sell something called "BBQ saus" in Belgium, but it's something completely different from what you would expect in the US.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you all for the suggestions. I really appreciate it. My region of NC is known for honey, molasses and Christmas trees, but I can't take any of those items. Perhaps locally made jewelry or soaps? I like the BBQ sauce idea - we have some locally owned restaurants that make great sauce. Wonder if Customs would allow it into Belgium?

Posted by
2081 posts

Vlsmds,

with re to BBQ sauce.

I think they are only concerned about raw or non cooked items.

happy trails.

Posted by
12040 posts

They won't blink twice about a sealed bottle of sauce. Just walk through the "Nothing to Declare" line.

Posted by
17 posts

BBQ sauce is always good. I like the suggestion of a book or travel guide about your area, maybe with info about Biltmore Estate and Smokey Mtns Natl Park if you are near-- maybe it will entice them to return the visit! Also, NC has some nice handmade pottery so instead of honey maybe a honey pot:
https://www.southernhighlandguild.org/cart/clay/honey-pot-rust.html
I like a lot of the coffee mugs on that website too.
Or since Christmas trees are grown in your area a nice ornament with a representation of the mtns:
https://www.southernhighlandguild.org/cart/glass/blue-ridge-ornament.html
NC also has lots of good colleges so I think your idea of something from a local college for the kids is nice. Good wine and beer and chocolates are everywhere in Belgium so I might save that for your souvenir to bring home to NC, unless it is something unique to your area. I did give a bottle of Patron tequila to some friends in Belgium and they thought it was quite exotic. Belgium is lovely, hope you have fun.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you all so much for the wonderful suggestions!

Posted by
7640 posts

If you are doing carry-on only, then you won't be able to bring a bottle of anything with you.

Something local from your area, perhaps some hand crafts from the Cherokees? A beautiful calendar of the Smokey Mountains?

No chocolate! Belgium is known for their chocolate, so this wouldn't be a very unique gift.

Posted by
1453 posts

A gift will to my opinion be appropriate if you know at least a bit what their preferences are. Most parents are happy enough if you just think about the kids. I think best is to give something to teenagers what we see here in Europe as quintessential American like indeed (t-)shirts of leading sports-teams or an original NC Rebel Flag. For the daughter (t-)shirts of well known cheerleaders can be spot on. Or if the son is interested in aviation something that has to do with the Wright brothers.

There is nothing wrong as your husband asks his Belgian friend if he can makes the children happy with a gift and what will be okay for them. Maybe he firsts gets a polite refusal, but if it’s in the interest of the children the friend will certainly co-operate. For the parents is the gesture that counts, kids like it more if they get something they fancy. For the parents or the mother anyway some flowers you can buy in Belgium, like tulips will be okay.