Hi guys, I am trying to figure out some small hostess gifts that can be transported in carry on luggage. I would love some suggestions. Also, do you know if candles that are solid wax and not gel are allowed? I was just on the TSA website and didn't see it specifically addressed and also didn't see any place to email for an answer. What about semi-solid items like chocolate? Thanks.
I would ask the host if they want you to bring anything. Chances are they know what they would like from America.
I've heard Hershey's Kisses are unavailable in Europe but I hesitate to recommend it because the chocolate is better there.
If they don't want something specific, I would wait and get something at your location (even in the airport if they are picking you up). That would save the need to lug it.
In Germany it's typical to bring either flowers or wine for the host. If wine isn't the thing, German florists have vending machines outside so you can pick up some last minute flowers for the hostess.
We have visited a friend who was born in the USA but has lived in Germany for many years. On our first trip we took a quilted table runner from Amish country. Then I lugged a Yankee candle in my carry-on because every American woman needs one. Last trip we took her a box of 36 Hershey bars with almonds at her request because she just missed that kind.
While we visited her we mentioned Quaker oatmeal that is flavored and can be microwaved. She never heard of that so we mailed her some. She raves about it on every phone call.
Once we took Phillies baseball caps to some little boys.
Thinking of just the right thing is not easy. Maybe this gives you some ideas.
I travel to Italy each year for work and always take a small gift for my business associates. It used to be wine which was so easy but since the liquid restrictions I have had to think of other things. Last trip I took some small glass dishes with native animals on them. Sounds horrid but they were hand made and really quite tasteful. They loved them. I try to find something uniquely Australian and not necessarily expensive. The're always appreciated. I personally wouldn't ask them what they would like but just go ahead and get something. I suppose it depends how well you know these people.
Being from Texas a calendar or book with pictures of Texas seems to be a big hit. Many people have a misconception about what Texas is really like and it helps to show we are not all tumbleweeds and cowboys.
Consider taking an apron or tablecloth or placemats you find at a craft fair near you. Handmade local crafts are great gifts and these pack flat and small. Pot holders would work too. What about fridge magnets from your city or state? If you are a good photographer, take some pics of your beautiful area and have them made up into a calendar. Again- packs flat and almost not space. Another idea- picture frames.
Some of the gifts I have brought that have beeen faves:
Coffee mugs (which are rare in Europe) with a local scene or even a cheese saying on it. (It is a true novelty abroad.
Some artisan coffee
Micro-beers (destroy the myth that US has horrible beer)
Local crafts like suggested essecialy Christmas ornaments.
Some local Native American crafts.
T-Shirts (with funky saying) and Engish comics for young people.
I have become friends with some people I have stayed with a number of times in Italy. I know them well enough now I always ask if they have some special requests, and with a little encouragement I can get them to suggest things. They like things that represent where I am from, just as if I would like things from where they are from if they were visiting me. I have taken a coffee mug, refridgerator magnets, and coffee table book, all from Oklahoma. If they are my first stop in Europe, I can pack a box for them and include things like Brownie mixes, homemade items such as pumpkin bread or chocolate chip cookies, M&M's that are from the most recent holiday because they will have fun color assortments they have not seen, other interesting candy I don't think they will have, See's chocolates, Life is Good t-shirts, or an OU football t-shirt. I love surprises!! (PS I don't think chocolate or candles would be a problem to carry on)
why would you take American chocolate to the place where the best chocolate in the world is made?
I get flowers from the locals to make a special thank you to a B and B owner that has been especially nice. unless you are visiting family, I wouldn't bother. I do have friends in Germany and they like weird things like pancake mix, macadmia nuts and canned salsa!
I don't know how well you know your hostess, but my family and friends in Europe always demand American BBQ sauce when I go over. I've got a Swiss cousin visiting me right now and our first venture was to Mcdonalds for as many little BBQ packs as they would give us.
My suggestion is probably more of a Canadian suggestion...But you 'mericans have Maple trees too, don't you?
...Real Canadian Maple Sugar Maple Leaf shaped cookies go over big. Or the suckers that are the same shape but made out of Maple Sap. They don't get broken and don't take up much space in your carry-on. Kids love 'em. Dentists love 'em even more...
Thanks everybody for your suggestions. I finally decided on calendars with a Utah theme. Our state is so diverse and wonderful and it is the right time of year to be giving them. They also pack flat and don't take up much room. We are leaving today.....yippeeeeeeee!