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Gifts for host family

A former exchange student that once lived with my parents in Florida has offered to let my son and me stay with his family while we are in Barcelona and Madrid for several nights. He and his wife are hosting a gathering in our honor so we can meet their extended family. Please give me ideas of appropriate gifts to take to them. I was trying to think of uniquely American gifts, made in the USA. Some ideas I had were Tervis drinking cups, Disney themed items and Brighton accessories. I don't know if some of the Disney items would be offensive, such as Pirates of the Caribbean or princesses. I heard of one man who filled a suitcase with Levi jeans to take to Europe as gifts, but I don't know how that would be received by a well-to-do family. Also, does anybody know if camouflage patterns or Duck Dynasty items would be offensive or popular? Thank you very much for your input.

Posted by
4738 posts

Do your parents have any suggestions of things he enjoyed while they were hosting him? I personally think food items are a better choice (e.g., a bottle of nice California wine, a candy that is special to your area, etc.) when you don't know someone's taste. Alternatively, you might ask him if there is anything he would like from the U.S. Sometimes, people have something in particular that they miss. For example, one of my friends always asks for a particular hazelnut coffee that she always had when she lived here. I usually take my host out to dinner.
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Skip the Levis, duck dynasty, and camouflage. I'd only consider Disney if your host and his wife have a child and you want to bring a toy.

Posted by
8172 posts

No Duck Dynasty, no Disney, no Levis.

Bring something authentic, made in your hometown or your state.

Posted by
1178 posts

Local products will be great....I carry Georgia grown Pecans (They do not have them there!!), Moon Pies -- Yes!! The small ones, they do not have them there...some hand made jewelry items for the ladies, Something useful, not a dust catcher!!! They do have citrus there, but not the processed items you have in the stores there...Disney is available in Spain in the stores. I have carried toys for the children (Made in the USA is hard to find),

Posted by
1178 posts

Local products will be great....I carry Georgia grown Pecans (They do not have them there!!), Moon Pies -- Yes!! The small ones, they do not have them there...some hand made jewelry items for the ladies, Something useful, not a dust catcher!!! They do have citrus there, but not the processed items you have in the stores there...Disney is available in Spain in the stores. I have carried toys for the children (Made in the USA is hard to find),

Posted by
6725 posts

I was given all sorts of advice when I headed for Germany 50 years ago as an exchange student. Luckily I didn't bring out my 'gifts' right away because I would have been humiliated -- things that people assured me were sought after and rare would have looked patronizing and stupid. (not quite as bad as a case of hershey bars and nylons -- but close) Levis fall into that category or logo items unless you know that the people specifically want things like this. If they have young children, Disney would be okay since Disneyworld is in Florida but otherwise not.

There are classic hostess gifts like wine from your region, other edibles like the dried fruit treats made in Oregon or applets and cotlets from Washington. It is more a symbolic gesture and won't offend. Then once you are there you may get some idea of things that would be specifically valued by the family and send them afterwards. Plan to take them to dinner at a nice place while you are there -- do a little research on places in Barcelona and make reservations -- if nervous about that perhaps ask them which of two or three they would prefer to go to.

Posted by
9 posts

I agree with Laura. As I am Canadian, people in our travel group have taken things like a small jar of maple syrup or maple candies, or even small bottles of ice wine! Not sure what part of the USA you're from, but a local delicacy is always a nice treat in my opinion...

Posted by
6725 posts

I've always wondered about maple syrup. I am sure people accept it graciously but what do they do with it? It is available in Europe if people want it and it doesn't really fit into the cuisines of most. Although I suppose it could be used in making a flan. Maple candy on the other hand might be different enough to be fun.