I love buying souvenirs when I travel. No matter how many pictures I take, I still want a tangible memory. Something that I can hold in my hand and think, I was there.
But I won't just buy any old souvenir. Oh no, it has to be perfect — at least in that moment when I'm buying it. So I tend to be very indecisive, which is why I wasn't able to buy a rug in Turkey.
It's hard to predict how much I'll like my souvenirs when I get home, or even to the next destination on the trip. For example, at the time I was thrilled to be buying freshly dried mace at the Douglaston Spice Estate in Grenada, but it turns out that my cooking repertoire doesn't include a recipe that uses mace.
But guess what kind of souvenirs I have been consistently pleased with? (The title of this post might have given away the answer.) Yes, that's right: Christmas ornaments.
Pictured above is an ornament I got in Llandudno, Wales, in September. I didn't set out to buy a Christmas ornament, but I was in a store with all sorts of little dragon tchotchkes. (The Welsh love dragons — there's a dragon on their flag and thus dragons seem to show up everywhere.)
I would have liked an adorable stuffed dragon but I really couldn't justify buying one, and even I could, I wouldn't have wanted to lug it around Wales. But this little dragon ornament suits me just fine.
When I was on Grand Cayman earlier this month, there were Christmas lights everywhere. I bought the ornament pictured on the right at the Westin Causarina, where I was staying. I didn't actually see any turtles when I was on Grand Cayman, but the turtle symbol is everywhere, beginning on the tail of Cayman Airways plane I flew. I think the stingray should be their mascot, but the Caymanians are all about the turtle. I love how this one is making a snow angel in the sand! By the way, according to its label, this ornament was designed in Maine and made in China. Oh well…
Below is an ornament that I bought at Heathrow Airport last November. I had a really long wait, and I wasn't in the cool new Terminal 5, which I still haven't been to. There weren't that many stores in Terminal 3, but there was a little Harrods store that mostly sold things with the Harrods logo. I love the black London cabs, so when I saw that ornament, I just had to have it.
Now, I don't always remember how much I like my souvenir Christmas ornaments — and when faced with an overloaded souvenir shop I often forget completely, especially if the holidays are faraway. So hopefully now that I've written this this post I can start a real collection.
What are your favorite kinds of souvenirs?