I will be visiting and staying with distant relatives (who I haven't met) in Manchester next month. I would like to bring along some little mementos and have been wracking my brain trying to come up with something inexpensive (as there is a bunch of them from younger kids to older Aunties!) yet thoughtful. I live in NJ but would imagine anything from NYC might work. I wondered about a Christmas ornaments (near impossible to find this time of year unless I make something myself), NJ or NY state quarters for the kids or most anything red white and blue. What represents NJ??? Any ideas what might be enjoyed from the US??
Linda - I think Christmas Ornaments are a great idea - and I'd use the NYC angle myself because you should be able to find inexpensive NYC ornaments at any tourist shop or online. I've bought ornaments in the middle of summer at our World of Coca-Cola (small coke bottles on a red ribbon) and the Atlanta History Center (angels made from cotton seeds). There are sure to be some great "tourist souvenirs" that would work. I've also purchased decks of cards, again at a tourist site, for friend's kids from London - they were Civil War Generals - they thought these were great. And all these things are very easily transported.
I've given Wisconsin calendars. It's useful and is something that you generally won't buy locally. When I come home, I always bring something for the neighbor kids who have watched my garden and I've found that Scottish Candy is particularly well received. So, maybe saltwater taffy from the shore? It might have to be checked. ; ) PAm
The Christmas ornament is a good idea. Fridge magnets are also nice, for the adults. The Saltwater taffy is also a good idea- one box per family.
Go to the tourist shops in your area! For our trip last April to visit family in Germany, I went to some touristy shops on Hollywood Boulevard and easily found lots of trinkets for the kids on our list, including key rings, little state flags, T-shirts, and picture books about California and Los Angeles. For the female adults on our list, I found beautiful stationery (note cards) with scenes from different American artists (check your local museum gift shops for a great selection), book marks, and picture frames. One cousin loves to garden, so I slipped in some packets of California Poppy flower seeds. For the men (and families we had never met) we brought See's Candy (a made-in-California favorite). A calendar of your state is also an excellent choice. Check to see if the 2010 calendars are out yet.
The space used in your luggage for the gifts will come in handy for all the souvenirs you buy during your travels!
Thanks everyone for such great suggestions! I hadn't thought about note cards, bookmarks or calendars. PERFECT!!! I had been overlooking the obvious!