I’ve been feeling guilty for a few weeks. On our vacation, I only bought souvenirs for my immediate family. A trucker hat for my son and I, a shirt for my daughter and my hub got one of each plus an overpriced mug. The kids also got necklaces made from coconut shells tied onto string. That’s all we bought. Meanwhile, my brother-in-law bought stuff for everyone at his office. I was feeling guilty because I just did not want to buy anything for anyone so I didn’t. I know, that doesn’t sound like me. Here’s what went thru my mind during the three times we had the opportunities to buy souvenirs: 1) I thought about packing the souvenirs in our 16-day-stuffed-to-the-max luggages. 2) Then I’d have hold onto them until they made it safely into the hands of the recipient. And 3) I thought about the list of people that I would want to give thoughtful pinches. Once I bought something for one person, it opened up pandora’s box and I wouldn’t know where to cut the list. Besides all of those thoughts, my biggest concern was - am I adding “junk” to the home of someone that I care about? Unless it is consumable, is a souvenir something that I would want to display in my house or wear if I didn't actually go there myself? I’m probably just making excuses for being lazy and tight with money because I do have a box of wonderful things people have brought back from their vacations. All of them are.. in a box.
I felt bad coming back from a wonderful vacation and not having anything to give to my awesome neighbors (see last week’s entry). They fed our fish, Viking, while we were away and watched over our house to make sure all was safe. My thought was that a 14 year old girl would be happy getting paid and wouldn’t care if she got a coconut shell necklace with a sea turtle on it or not. However, while in the airport, I had a panicky feeling - I felt compelled to buy something for the neighbors - so I almost bought them a couple bags of coffee beans. Thankfully I didn’t because my neighbor told me that, like 90% of Americans, they have a Keurig-type coffee maker. My thoughtfulness of NOT buying them coffee beans just saved them more work in the mornings! Besides, I’m pretty sure the youngest member of their family does not drink coffee so I would still have to buy her something. I was also super close to buying them chocolate bars. Ha! They sell the exact brand at my local co-op. If I wanted to, I could have just bought some here in MN and said it came from Costa Rica because it literally comes from Costa Rica.
If the saying, “It’s the thought that counts.” is true - wouldn’t you want to be thoughtful by not adding shit to someone’s already cluttered house? Let's face it, who's house isn't cluttered these days? How about being thoughtful enough not to put someone in an awkward position of what to do with stuff they don’t have any use for or want? I know that sounds like I’m all “ba-humbug” but years ago when I hired a professional organizer I had to justify to her why I hold onto these sentimental items that aren't even from my own trips. This is why they are all…in a box. Needless to say, I stopped giving those types of souvenirs because I felt like it's just torture for the recipient.
I want to know if someone has already come up with a subscription box or a site where we can send in all the souvenirs we won’t use or we don’t like and swap it for something we really want? One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and I’m hoping to cash my stuff in for a Louis Vuitton purse from someone’s France trip. The site would have to be something discreet - like that site that got exposed for marital cheaters. I'm positive that the person who carefully selected, purchased, packed and hauled these souvenirs would be so bummed to find out that the recipient was giving them away.
My cousin tells us not to get her anything when we travel but if we insist, a kitchen towel for a souvenir would be perfect. Brilliant! EVERYBODY uses a kitchen towel and she'll think of the people who gave her the towel every time she uses it, which is always. Other thoughtful pinches that would be cool to receive from new places could be alcohol (make sure it clears customs by having it wrapped by duty free), local soaps or tea, or a handkerchief. You know, stuff that is not meant to be displayed or worn, but are pinches that can be consumed or used.
Fortunately for me, the other day, my guilty feelings lifted away after having a convo about souvenirs. Apparently, I’m not the only one that feels this way. It was refreshing to hear someone else’s thoughts because it confirmed that I’m not lazy, stingy nor thoughtless after all. Phew!