Snowbird Gift Guide

Destin Ale Midlife Snowbird blog
Consumables such as beach towels, local craft beverages and specialty food items are great options for someone who is not easy to buy for

Snowbird Gift Guide

75 Best Gifts, Souvenirs for Yourself and Your Home Team


Shopping for souvenirs, mementos, keepsakes and gifts is a process I start from the very beginning of my snowbird stay each year. By "very beginning" I mean as in "on the way" to our snowbird community. Small gas stations and gigantic travel plazas are fabulous opportunities to buy trinkets, novelty items and local logo products such as items related to area college and national sports teams. Many of my favorite lapel pins and baseball caps are from fuel stations.

Hawaiian coin purse Midlife Snowbird blog
Choose quality over quantity for gifts and souvenirs

French for a "remembrance or memory," a souvenir is any object that someone acquires, collects and transports home for the memories associated with it. Keep in mind, when giving a souvenir as a gift, etiquette suggests the amount spent on the item should not make the receiver feel uncomfortable.

To help strategize, I've compiled a list of my best ideas for souvenirs and gifts for loved ones and your home team, as well as yourself. If, like me, you're not really into shopping, it's so much easier to have a plan and pace yourself than to try to make a mad rush at the very end. 

One of my favorite strategies is to find gifts in unexpected places such as the souvenir section of the local grocery store or drug store. Baseball caps, t-shirts and apparel are usually less expensive than the traditional surf shops, although many surf shops reduce inventory at irresistable prices in the off season. If you winter in a region with outlet stores, most of the luxury brands clear out their inventory in January with amazing deals such as 70% off + an additional 10% to 15% off select merchandise. I have a very nice collection of Coach wallets, purses and accessories thanks to the January sales. Adding a new Swarovski pen to my collection is another fun close-out pursuit.

Don't make the same mistake I did -- group all of your purchases together and go through each and every closet and drawer about a week before departing to make sure everything you bought comes home with you. This reduces the chances of leaving behind a drawer full of gifts and gives enough time to go through your list of who is getting what. If you need to add some last-minute items, it won't send you into full-on panic mode. As much as I try to shop for 80% of my list within the first few weeks of arrival, there's always one more thing to buy at the end.

Once home, most gifts are presented to recipients in a timely manner to show appreciation for the help while away or to let someone know you missed them. For items purchased way in advance of the occasion, such as Christmas, they are put aside in a designated area with a label of who the gift is for and the occasion when it will be given.

It's always nice to be thought of and let someone know you cared enough to buy something for them. Being surrounded by souvenir magnets, coasters, pens, apparel, hats, notepaper, books, wall art and much more connects me to my beachy southern home all year round.


75 GIFT GUIDE IDEAS

Overall, unless buying a gag gift, go for items that are high quality without necessarily a high price. One quality item is better than a bunch of lower end stuff. Take advantage of local specialties that not just everyone can pick up in your home state. Ideas include cactus jelly, orange blossom honey, pickled okra, fresh oranges and citrus fruit, art, hand crafted items and so forth.

Consider how much space you have to get your souvenirs and gifts home and whether they will perish. Baked goods may not work for everyone, although I have a friend whose mother insisted she bring cake from a local southern bakery back home to Indiana.

Our rental is known for rather tired-looking kitchen linens, so I buy beautiful new hot pads at the start of each snowbird season, use them during my stay, then bring them home with me. If your unit doesn't have the highest thread counts, buy new pillow cases at a discount store such as TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Tuesday Morning or Home Goods and take them home. I liven up our condo with seasonal flowers such as blooming hyacinth and tulips. When they are done, remove the bulbs from the soil, let them air out and transport them in a plastic bag.


Difficult to Buy For

For the person who is difficult to buy for, consider consumables such as specialty foods, beverages, candy, flowers, lotion, pens, upscale room spray, soap, stationery and so forth.

Younger People

For younger people, a high quality beach towel is fun without a huge commitment. Or a quality specialty food such as gourmet pasta or sauces, or perhaps a beverage that you know they might enjoy.

Long Distance

If someone at home is celebrating a milestone, send a thoughtful bouquet of flowers. They're fun to give and receive. Gift cards easily fit into an envelope to transport via mail, but since they function like cash, take photos of the front and back in case they are lost in transit.

Ask for Help

It's easy to be overwhelmed with choices when considering an appreciation gift for someone you may not know that well. Don't hesitate to ask a store employee for assistance selecting a craft beer or local wine. After all, they know what's popular and can save a ton of time and mistakes choosing an item based on what a label looks like.


Gifts by Category

General gifts

Ash trays

Beach towels

Books

Coasters

Coin purses

Key chains

anniversary bouquet Midlife Snowbird
Thoughtful gestures such as a flower bouquet help bridge the distance

Lapel pins

Magnets

Shot glasses

Tote bags

Travel or coffee mugs

 

Leather Goods

Purses

Wallets

Wristlets

 

Jewelry:

Bracelets

Earrings

Necklaces

Rings

 

Personal Care

After shave

Beauty/Grooming kits

Cologne/Perfume

Lotion

 

Office

Note paper/stationery

Pens

 

Home/Kitchen/Bath

Air freshener

Blanket Throws

Candles

Diffusers

Hand towels

Hot pad sets

Kitchen gadgets

Linens

Pillows

Pillow cases

Photo frames

Soap

Soap/lotion dispenser

 

Food/Beverages

Cake

Candy

Chocolate

Craft Beer

Coffee

Cookies

Honey: wildflower, orange blossom, traditional

Nuts

Pie

Preserves/Jams/Jellies

Tea

Wine

 

Plants/Garden

Bulbs

Floral arrangements

Plants: Greenery, orchids, etc

Seeds

 

Clothing/Accessories:

Hats/caps

Hoodies

Scarves

Shoes

Socks

Sweatshirts

Swimwear

Sunglasses

T-shirts

Zip Ups

 

Local Specialties

Art prints

Canvas art

Crafts

Pottery

 

More ideas

Gift cards

Photo prints

Photo frames

 


 

"Keep some souvenirs of your past, or how will you ever prove it wasn't all a dream?"

-- Ashleigh Brilliant, British Author, Cartoonist



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