Since the word souvenir means “to remember” in French, it is appropriate that we made a few purchases while in France. Thomas got a beret and a book; Andrew got three key chains (one cheap one and two that were grossly overpriced.) Jeremy didn’t get anything.
Here’s my loot:
The champagne is from Reims. The pastel goodies are Macarons, not from the famous La Duree but from another little patisserie. (I was so excited to see what all the buzz was about, and honestly I was a bit unimpressed.) The bottle is a carafe d’eau, for serving water, from the gift shop at the end of the Sewer Tour. Usually I don’t buy anything for myself and then I regret it – sort of reverse buyer’s remorse. This time I was pleased with my treasures.
Souvenirs are often a topic of debate whenever we travel. The boys just love to get stuff and the gift shop is definitely the highlight of any adventure. While that is understandable (maybe receiving gifts is their love language?) I don’t like when buying things becomes the focus. We certainly do not need more things. On the other hand, having a little something is a nice remembrance, and may make a trip to a not-so-exciting destination a little more bearable. So is buying a $1 key chain so terrible?
While our souvenir philosophy is a work in progress, here is our strategy presently: we give them a dollar (or Euro) limit and let them choose a few things, with guidance. I think it is valuable for them to have some money to manage. Sometimes the money is spent early on and then they regret their purchases. Painful, but I’d rather teach this lesson with a 5 euro toy now than with a $25,000 car someday. As they get older they’ve made better decisions (at least in my opinion) so maybe it is working.
Another idea we’ve considered is to buy the same “thing” wherever we go. For example, at any museum, choose a postcard. Sometimes we don’t buy souvenirs, especially when the offerings are just overpriced junk. In those instances we try to talk about it in advance so our intent is clear and the boys don’t have false hope and anticipation of a gift shop visit.
At any rate, our shipping weight limit for our return to the U.S. is 14,500 pounds, so that limits our European acquisitions for the next 2 years.