Presents from guests

Some of our guests gives us presents. Chocolate, souvenirs from their home country and even wine.
So I wonder if it is expected that we as hosts give something in return.
We do not always do that, and we do not want to offend anyone.

You’ve already given your home and hospitality. That’s why they give you presents. That said, it’s nice to bake some cookies sometimes or to do something nice for people celebrating a birthday or anniversary.

I don’t call what we provide “presents”, and there is no expectation that the guests reciprocate. For every booking we have a bottle of inexpensive wine on the mantlepiece, a couple bottles of water in the fridge, and a candy dish with a handful of wrapped hard candies. To us, that’s just part of the experience here at the Poolside Cabana, as are the full hot breakfasts I provide.

We’ve gotten some interesting gifts, including a recipe for a Russian potato salad, a bottle of gourmet beer, a cut glass bowl, and our last guests brought us a couple of blooming Christmas cactus.


I receive gifts from guests, and it’s always a special treat. Sometimes I receive a lovely gift after the visit. We had a French couple with their young daughter in one of our apartments in October, and I saw that she had the most gorgeous day book that she used as a journal. I complimented her on it and she told me she’d made it. She had done a bit of craft shopping in New York but was dying to go to a Michael’s. I said - let’s go. We’ll be there in 15 minutes and I’ll bring you back. It was absolute heaven for her to shop there and she spent two hours going through every aisle. I had some time that morning so I wasn’t bothered, I ended up buying some things as well. Back to France she went, and two weeks later I received my very own journal that she’d made for me. It’s one of the loveliest gifts that I’ve ever been given.

Sometime’s I’ll be asked if there is anything I want from whatever country they are arriving from. I usually say no but now if asked I’ll request a magazine like a Real Simple type, or a recipe magazine. It’s a fun ice breaker for us, and a treat for me to try and figure out a recipe for Croatian butter cookies.

I try to not reciprocate gift for gift, but if someone has been so kind to think of me, I try to do something for them that they’ll appreciate, and sometimes it’s a local treat, sometimes it’s taking them somewhere out of the way, or sometimes it’s just a heartfelt thank you.

I’m planning my own vacation this week, and if we end up going somewhere outside of North America, I’ll definitely bring the host a small gift.


We always put small eatable treats in the kitchen before arrival, depending on season etc, but do not expect gifts from guests. Still our very first guests surprised us with self-fished mackerel from the bay, plenty for everybody to put on the barbeque! They were very proud and we became very full!

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Anything from the States you would enjoy? I’ve been meaning to ask.

Or better yet, anyone in Europe - what from the US would be welcome? I have a cousin in Scotland, for instance, who likes Oreo cookies but can’t (or couldn’t a few years ago) get them.

When adopting a child from China you are supposed to bring a gift for every official. It’s brutal to think of a gift that appropriately says “thank you for allowing me to take my child home”. Of course, for them, it’s just perfunctory, and since 2008 I’ve noticed that many of my Chinese friends bring me gifts when visiting and they are never personal. The first year was a disaster (I won’t even say what I got, it was well intended). The second year we got Yankee candles and votive holders and wrapped them in a pretty bag.

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I would like to know if Reeses Peanut butter cups are available in Europe…I heard about 5 years ago that many wanted that. And what is with many of the Spanish I met who were obsessed with pancakes when they spoke to me? Is it that they can’t get crappy pancake syrup in Spain? It was kind of funny. :smile:

Some good maple syrup may be a good choice - surely that is difficult to get over there? not to cheap here, either!!

Yes, it is expensive here! And I am sure many Americans used to processed Aunt Jemima syrup wouldn’t even like the real thing. I just wasn’t sure if they didn’t have the same ingredients to make panqueque or what? I know they are easy to make from scratch, but I would still have to do a google search. I don’t care for pancakes though.

I think Oreos are widely available across Europe now (they are available at any supermarket in France and Italy), maple syrup and pancake mix as well. Reeses are more difficult to find. The American product I like and I can’t find here are those big bubble gums with a cinnamon or watermelon flavor :stuck_out_tongue:


Curious…as I don’t chew bubble gum. Can you describe more? Very interesting. Do they have smaller bubble gum in Europe? Is it these you are referring to?

Bubblicious is the brand name for the watermelon ones and I think it’s Big Red for the cinnamon ones :). In France we mostly have strawberry or mint bubble gums.

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Any time family or friends visit from Canada (I’m from Vancouver) they HAVE to bring me maple syrup. That, and Crunchie chocolate bars.

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I was just thinking that crab is what my area if famous for - but I’m sure my hosts in Norway have plenty of seafood!!! I don’t know what else we do well, besides University of Maryland T-shirts and hoodies!

@dcmooney. They do have wonderful seafood in Norway. But might be fun for them is one of those “crab boil” kits with the spices, etc, and instructions. Now that would be novel, speaks to where you are from, and indicates sharing of culture.

My UK cousins always have me bring chocolate chips; the French cousins love maple syrup which they pour onto bread or ice cream; and several European friends want hot, red peppers or Mexican food makings, etc. Have you ever eaten Mexican food in France or the UK? Wretched and expats crave things that can turn local foods into their child food memories.


Wait! Wait! Wait! What about all the Trump paraphernalia you could bring them? Surely your hosts would love that. Maybe they can keep it and sell it on Ebay 40 years later. Kidding!!

But if in doubt, then just give them alcohol from your area. I wasn’t aware of forums like this when I was traveling to study abroad. Finally I just said “screw it” - they are getting a small pint of Jack Daniels, and another of Jim Beam. Give it away if you want. That was it. I was done. My Spanish host mom acted so gratefully. But this was a long term 3 month rental situation. I did end up leaving that situation early though. I did leave behind the horse lotion I was using to massage her with daily (yes I do know how to massage), and many other products. I did still take her gift of this dispenser that includes all saran wrap, aluminum foil, and another item (maybe paper towels) that all come out of the same dispenser. Ingenious! She gave it to me though…it’s still in a box. I was very intrigued by this item as an American. Other Spaniards say they fail easily and that is why they sell them at the cheap stores. So funny what other cultures are intrigued by! - lol.

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Although certain things may be available in Europe that doesn’t mean they taste the same. I swear the Haribo Gold-bear gummis in the states are not the same as the ones in Germany. Not to mention all the other gummis. I was in candy heaven in Berlin. Indio beer in Mexico is better than Indio beer in the US. So I’d say take your American gifts and don’t worry about if they have them at your destination.

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I had a German guest bring us 4 HUGE bags of candy, and you’re right - it was delicious! He was a sheepish about getting us so much, but he said he wanted to be sure there was enough for everyone in the family! I especially loved the colorful ones, I don’t remember what they are called, in layers, colors, some with licorice.

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Oh dear! Nick some cuban cigars from the white house, hehe! No, i don’t know, really nice of you though! We are pretty easy to please, surprise us😀. Oh, i am so looking forward to your visit!

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