Lightweight Gifts

What are your favorite lightweight gifts to bring home? I prefer to neither ship things nor check baggage, but open to all ideas....Thanks!

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1735 posts

You don't mention where you're going or when, but scarves and shawls are great lightweight, low cost gifts you can find most places. I also like interesting local fragrances. As gifts, and for myself, as a reminder. You can find interesting hand-made paper products in a number of countries. And finally, for myself, CDs of local performers.

Posted by Susan
Marin County/San Francisco
3692 posts

Scarves, pashminas, calendars, magnets, jewelry, aprons, lightweight tableclothes, placemats, quality dishtowels (not junky tourist ones).

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
2028 posts

I almost always get small &/or lightweight gifts to bring home for others (and myself), only thing I ever had to ship home was a rug I bought in Turkey. I'm big on paper things - hand made papers/calendars/small booklets about the area or local recipe books/placemats and beer coasters. Textiles - small towels/table linens/scarves etc. I too like to pick up CD's of local music.

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
5381 posts

It sort of depends on which country you are visiting. Take a look around while you are visiting to see what pleases you. Souvenirs in Italy will be different than ones in Scotland. I like buying Christmas ornaments, but only when they are made in that country. As much as I like fridge magnets, check to see where they are made. Scarves? Most are made in India and China. T-shirts, t-towels, bags, same thing. So, the decision becomes, buy something made local or buy something made in Asia that reminds me of my visit? Have purchased lace Christmas ornaments in Belgium, wooden ones in Germany, tartan cashmere scarf in Scotland, and I wish I would have got those silver thistle earrings in Edinburgh. Visit a local flea market or craft show or a medieval fest, where you may find linens, hand-made jewelry, small leather items, lace, etc.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
5640 posts

Are these gifts for yourself or others? For others I like to bring home bookmarks and small calendars. In particular the bookmarks are small and lightweight. For myself, I like to buy something I can wear later that will remind me of the place I bought it. Usually that would be a scarf, but sometimes it's a small piece of jewelry or something else. I like to buy a small piece of art depicting a scene of a place I'm visiting. One trip to Paris we bought a small watercolor that included the Pont Neuf. We were on that bridge when we brought in the New Year on that trip. Another trip we bought a picture in Rothenburg that showed the hotel we stayed in. You get the idea. I always bring a calendar home for use to hang the following year. Every time I look at it I'm reminded of a country we visited.

Posted by Andrea
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
608 posts

I always bring my mom (a former real estate agent) a real estate paper/flier. She spends hours pouring over the listings even if it isn't in English. It fascinates her. She's had them from all over Europe!

Posted by Pamela
New York City, NY, USA
4211 posts

Hi Julianne, for women friends I sometimes find some nice jewelry. Earrings, a pin or a small necklace are often very affordable and don't take up much room or weight. Another way around the problem of lugging gifts is to get something duty free. I usually brought home some Scottish candies for the kids. There are usually funky magnets and other types of small souvenirs. I once found the funniest toothbrush which i took home to my dad. It was a soldier in a kilt with a black brush as the bear hat of British fame. No one wants to use it; so it still has a place of honor in the guest bathroom. I've never had trouble with a duty free bag either, but I wouldn't want to count on that. Pam

Posted by Julianne
20 posts

Thanks all--great ideas...if anyone wants to be more specific, to answer the questions-- (1) gifts are for others and (2) we are doing a bit of a hopscotch across Europe with key locations being Scotland, Prague, Tuscany (whew!). And yes, please, locally made stuff....thanks again!

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
855 posts

Small Scottish glass bud vases were hits with our friends.

Posted by Angela
Chicago/Rural WI
811 posts

We buy handmade bar soap on our travels. Sure, my husband fusses a little when I drag him (yet again) into such a store, but he always loves it when we get home. There is a fantastic soap (& other bath-type products) shop in Prague's Old Town called Botanicus. Highly recommend. Edited to add: I just noticed they opened a store in Portland, OR, their first US location! Yay! However, I went to the US online store and holy smokes, they are charging way, way more than we paid in Prague. $19 for a bar of soap? Not even close!

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
2028 posts

Not sure where you're going in Tuscany. From Florence I brought back hand-made papers and some pretty ballpoint pens for my co-workers, they were a hit and I also got some woven placemats and lace doilies for myself there. I didn't get any myself, but small hand tooled leather key chains would be good gifts from Florence. From Sienna I got some scarves based on the palio flags. They may not have been made locally but they were great gifts reflective of the city and it's big event. They were a hit with my family members.

Posted by Tara
148 posts

Cool maps (ones that have been hand drawn or look ancient and are relevant to the place we stayed) Coasters Prints Basically anything that is flat and light. But, we also do something that should perhaps be on the "shameful secrets" thread. If we see something that we like that looks mass produced we buy it on Amazon and have it shipped to our doorstep. It could be something that's made by the same folks selling the product (such as Harris Tweed), but as an example, we were in France last month and got a bit caught up in the Tour de France excitement. We saw some cool Tour de France shirts with the official logo that we thought our teen boys would like. We didn't have much room to carry anything back with us, so we found the same shirts on Amazon and had them delivered to our doorstep.

Posted by Paul
NYC area
1758 posts

Hi, On a few late fall trips to Germany and Austria, we buy Christmas cards for something "unique/different" to send to friends and family at Christmas time.

Posted by Alice
Morristown, NJ, USA
2 posts

Original artwork. It can be very tiny, but watercolors will travel well and there is always a bit more room on my walls (I have alot of art in my home) and everytime I look around, I remember where I was and when. Also, paper goods (found beautiful paper Christmas ornaments in Copenhagen), and earrings.

Posted by April
San Diego, CA, United States
171 posts

Necklaces, earrings, bookmarks, scarves, artwork, pencils, pens.