Category: Gifts

Traditional Bulgarian Souvenirs

6Bulgaria is a country of many traditions and customs preserved through time. With more than 1300 years of history, the country has been involved in many wars with its Balkan neighbours who left their cultural imprints in the time.

Still the Bulgarians managed to save their traditions and folklore untouched. Visitors and tourists in Bulgaria will be able to take home a slice of this distinctive history by purchasing traditional souvenirs and gifts.

Traditional costumes exist in many varieties and forms depending on the different Bulgarian regions. The main parts of the women’s costumes are long cotton shirt dress (soukman), apron with traditional embroideries, belt, kerchief and the so-called “tsarvuli” – woollen or leather traditional shoes/slippers. The male costumes include white or black traditional trousers, shirt, embroidered vest, wide woollen belt and black or white sheepskin hat (kalpak). The shoes (tsarvuli) are hand made from calf leather and are typical for all Bulgarian regions. Other popular traditional textile products are handmade woollen carpets and rugs. The most popular ones are produced in Chiprovtsi, a small town in North Western Bulgaria. Another major centre of the carpet industry is the southern part of Rodopi Mountain. Very popular carpet patterns are abstract geometric shapes as well as flowers and birds shapes.

“Martenitsa” is traditional decoration from red and white thread which is related to the Bulgarian custom “Baba Marta” (Grandma March). It symbolises the end of the winter and the beginning of the spring. Bulgarians give each other and wear “Martenitsa” during the month of March. The belief is that “Martenitsa” brings good luck. It comes in different varieties, but the typical one is in the form of male from white thread with the name of “Pizjo” and female from red thread with the name of “Penda”. On the last day of March most of the people hang their “Martenitsa” on blossoming fruit trees.

Bulgaria is known as the country of the rose and is the biggest producer in the world of rose oil, which is used in the perfume industry. The Rose Valley is the major rose growing region and is located in southern Bulgaria with town Kazanlak being centre of the rose oil industry. The most popular rose souvenirs are vials of rose oil essence typically around 2ml. They are sold in packs of ten or individually hidden in a wooden traditional doll or carved wooden bottle.

Woodcarving and decorative ceramic pottery are the other areas where the Bulgarian customs are very well preserved. Well-liked souvenirs for tourists and visitors are wood carved boxes, wooden dolls in traditional costumes, wine or water bottles (baklitsa) and decorative wine cask (bure). The most popular pottery souvenirs are plates and bowls from the town Troyan which are brown coloured with beautiful white, black and blue droplet patterns.

The traditional musical instruments of Bulgaria are great choice for tourist gift or memorabilia. They have been used through the centuries and the 500 years Turkish rule to preserve the Bulgarian spirit alive. Typical folk music instruments include goat or sheep bagpipe (caba gaida), flute (kaval), traditional two- headed drum (tapan), rebec (gadulka) as well as bells, clappers and whistles.

The roots of Bulgarians are going back in the time to Slavic’s, Thracians and even the mighty Genghis Khan. Whether you are purchasing for close friend, relative or yourself the traditional Bulgarian souvenirs are great piece of the preserved history of this European country.

Class Reunion Favors and Souvenirs

5If you’re planning a class reunion, you may be looking for some new ideas for unique favors. Will you be sending home your classmates with cool souvenirs that remind them of a wonderful time reconnecting with old friends? Or will those party giveaways end up in a box in the attic or the trash? Here are the top do’s and don’ts to help you find class reunion favors that everyone will love.

1. DON’T do the same old thing. Items like imprinted pens, shot glasses, mugs, water bottles and mouse pads have been done over and over again. There’s nothing wrong with them, but they have no wow factor. If you want to give your classmates a memorable memento to bring home, then think outside the box.

2. DO choose useful. Forget the imprinted stress ball. It will end up in the back of a drawer. Instead focus your search on finding class reunion favors that everyone can use. There are lots of things that you can have personalized that are also practical. How about a pocket magnifier, mini flashlight, memo board or little sewing kit? Search for fun, but functional items like a frisbee, backscratcher, mini spiral notebook or pocket mirror.

3. DO consider seasonal. If you’re having your reunion in the spring, an imprinted ice cream scoop, sand pail or pocket fan may be appropriate. If the party is in the fall, you might want to go with an ice scrapper or holiday ornament.

4. DO think retro. Your high school reunion will be a time when all of your classmates will be remembering the good old days. Play up the nostalgia with party souvenirs that boost the reminiscing. Custom CDs with songs from your graduating year is one possibility. Another idea is personalized year you graduated notebooks, magnets or bookmarks that feature prices, top songs, TV shows, winners in film and sports from your graduating year. Give out these favors and conversations will spark.

5. DO look into something edible. This is always a crowd pleaser. There are many options for every budget.  All your reunion information could be printed in your school colors on a candy bar wrapper that covers a gourmet chocolate bar. Or you could select a mint tin with a custom reunion design on the cover. Some of these tins even come with premium chocolates or other candies.  How about hot chocolate mix? You could have cookies made with your school and class year written in icing on the top. Do a little online browsing and you’ll find everything from personalized M&Ms to fortune cookies with your message.

6. DON’T spend a lot of money. Unique doesn’t have to mean expensive. Invest some time online searching for these giveaways for your classmates. You should be able to find something great for a couple of dollars for each souvenir.

7. DON’T wait too long. Favors may not be the most important part of the class reunion party, but if you procrastinate, you might find yourself limited to what you can get on short notice. Keep in mind that custom, imprinted items will take longer to receive than products that aren’t personalized.

8. DO seek inspiration. Check online forums and reunion websites for other people’s ideas. They have an abundance of information and advice. Also ask friends and coworkers for suggestions.

9. DON’T consider a favor that would exclude anyone. For example, imprinted golf tees are fun, functional and unique. But they wouldn’t appeal to people who don’t play golf. When deciding on reunion souvenirs, ask yourself whether or not this would be something that all of your classmates could use.

10. DON’T let it drive you crazy. These little giveaways at your reunion party are meant to be fun. Choose something you think your classmates will like, and then don’t second guess your decision.

You really can find class reunion favors that will be the hit of the party. You don’t have to go with the same old thing or spend a lot of money. Just give yourself a little time, do some online searching, check out reunion websites and forums and it won’t be long until you discover fun, functional and unique souvenirs for your classmates.

The Benefit of Wedding Souvenirs

4Wedding days are more fun with all of the bride and groom’s friends and family celebrating with them. The couple should express their thanks to them by giving wedding souvenirs that are meaningful and appreciated by guests.

Wedding souvenirs give guests a lasting memory of the wedding. Couples should think about giving as extravagant of souvenirs as their budget allows. Souvenirs do not need to be extravagant or expensive, but the thought counts.

Souvenirs need to be chosen that are original and meaningful to their families. If there is a theme to the wedding, souvenirs are a great way to complement the theme. Personalized souvenirs are popular because it is a fun way to add a personal stamp to the wedding day.

To get started on souvenir ideas, couples can look back at souvenirs they have received attending other weddings. Recent weddings will help couples gauge the trends and fashions to get ideas. But everyone should be unique in their souvenirs.

Look at the budget and figure out what can be afforded. Then choose a souvenir that couples want to present to their guests. Some couples present an inexpensive and personal souvenir to each guest. Other couples present more elaborate souvenirs to each couple or family. Creativity is important in souvenirs.

Whether deciding to give one souvenir per guest or per couple, be sure there are extra wedding souvenirs on hand. Some guests may want and take more than one or there may be unexpected last minute guests in attendance. Couples also send souvenirs to friends and family who are not able to attend the wedding.

If giving one souvenir per guest, each gift should be presented at each place setting or as part of the table centerpiece. If deciding to give each couple a souvenir, label the souvenir with the couple’s or family’s name and place them on a table so guests can pick them up upon entering the reception.

Children are usually given the same wedding souvenirs as adults, but couple have decided to give special souvenirs that children particularly enjoy. This can be a bag of sweets with a personalized label. It can also be cookies that the kids will enjoy. There are also other fun wedding souvenirs that kids will love.

Wedding souvenirs can be placed as part of table decorations and the overall theme of the reception as flowers, settings, and linen. It is a great way to say thank you to each person attending a wedding. The presentation as well as the gift itself should reflect the intentions. Thoughtfulness and creativity can speak volumes.

Souvenirs can be expensive, but people should not buy cheap souvenirs just to have something to give out. Cheap souvenirs are something that guests will never use, keep, or be worth money.

Even the simplest souvenir can mean something. Use the wedding souvenir to tell guests something about the couple’s unique story. Make sure the souvenir is properly packaged. More elaborate souvenirs can lose their luster with bad packaging.

Souvenirs could be personalized to add a handmade charm. The plastic wrapping and generic thank you tag can be thrown away for the couple to add their own ribbon, wedding tag, or label to make it their own.

Couples need to plan ahead. Whether the guest list is an intimate twenty or ambitious three hundred, the perfect wedding souvenir takes time. Couples need to give themselves plenty of time to find wedding souvenirs. The dream wedding souvenirs will come true if there is enough thought and planning put into them.

How to Choose the Best Souvenirs For Your High School Reunion Party

3Planning a class reunion is a big job. There are so many details to work out from tracking down classmates to figuring out the menu for the reunion party weekend. You might not even have thought about reunion favors yet. But they’re an important little finishing touch to your festivities. Class reunion favors serve as souvenirs of the wonderful time shared with old high school friends. Here are some ideas to help inspire you to find just the right reunion favors for your old class.

Be Practical

Class reunion favors are meant to remind your guests of rekindled friendships. So, you don’t want to get anything that is likely to end up in the trash or stored in a box in the attic. Look for items that will be used and appreciated. Anything from an inexpensive, imprinted pen in your school colors to a more pricey tote bag with your school logo fall into this category.

And don’t rule out reunion magnets. They may not be as functional as an imprinted bottle opener, but everyone will put them on their refrigerators. It would be a memento they would see everyday.

Think nostalgia

The best class reunion favors will inspire spirited discussion at the party about the good old days. How about retro candy from your youth? You can find online companies that specialize in nostalgic candy. If you want to splurge, you could place the old fashioned sweets in an imprinted mug or glass.

If you went to high school in the 60’s or 70’s, then think tie-dye and day-glo items (with optional peace signs) imprinted with your reunion message. For the 50’s you could go with do-wop, fuzzy dice and juke-box theme. Look for imprintables like t-shirts, caps and bandanas with these symbols.

How about a blast from the past with year you graduated class reunion bookmarks? These inexpensive bookmarks are in your school colors, contain your reunion personalization, and are filled with prices, top songs, TV shows, news and events from your graduating year. They can be real conversation starters. Besides bookmarks, you can find the same information printed on certificates and magnets. You can even find custom year you graduated pocket notebooks, for a unique spin on these reunion favors.

Another idea is a CD with music from the year you graduated. Some companies provide the songs for that year. With others, you have to first burn the songs you want onto a master CD and they’ll reproduce it. Either way, they will design and print a label with the song list and a cover with your reunion information.

Make it sweet

Besides the retro candy, there are other options for a sweet reunion favor. You can order custom M&M’s imprinted with the “Class of __”. Or you could buy or make your own candy bar wrappers personalized with your reunion message. For something really unusual, check out online businesses that will print your school mascot directly onto the surface of chocolate or cookies with safe, food-dye based inks.

How about mint tins customized for your graduating glass? You can even get these little hinged mint tins filled with gourmet chocolates for a surprising treat for your classmates. After the candy is gone, the personalized tins can be used for holding or storing other little things for a lasting souvenir.

Imagine the possibilities

Just about anything can be personalized. Your class reunion giveaways could be imprinted staplers, tape measures, pocket mirrors, beach balls, pencils, mugs, Tshirts, mousepads, golf tees or keychains to name just a few examples. You could scan old high school yearbook photos and arrange for a business to make custom calendars for your guests.

So, don’t limit your ideas. There are so many unique favors available. Do a little browsing online and you’re sure to find just the right class reunion favors that your classmates will treasure.

 

What to Bring Back From Denmark As a Souvenir

2When traveling to new countries, the tendency is to buy souvenirs for friends, family and, of course, yourself. The problem is what type of souvenir to bring home. Well, when you come to Denmark or if you are just looking for some good Danish souvenirs, I have a couple of suggestions that have been winners for many of my friends and family. Below is a list of my favorite Danish souvenirs.

Souvenirs are only appreciated if the person you are giving them to has been to Denmark or cares about the place. A lot of the souvenirs like memorial plates, ashtrays, etc., will be put on the shelf by your family and will mean “nothing” to them. They will only mean something to you, because you visited Denmark. I always suggest bringing home interesting food products that are not available back home. Here are a few fun and tasty treats to take back:

1. Flødeboller: These are chocolate-covered marshmallow cream balls on a cookie base. They are popular on top of ice cream, but can be eaten by themselves. You can get them at almost all grocery stores for about 15 -20 kroner for a box of 12 and I have yet to find anyone who does not love them.

2. “Pålægschokolade”: This comes in a small box with about 30 pieces in each box. Again, it can be found at all grocery stores. They are thin slices of chocolate and they are usually served on freshly baked bread that is warm. If the bread is warm, the chocolate will melt on the bread. If the bread is not fresh-baked, you can toast the bread and place it on the toast when it is finished. You can even gently warm the bread and chocolate in an oven (do not microwave… it ruins the taste). The chocolate does not have to be heated; it can be eaten at room temperature and will still taste fantastic. Come on, where else do people eat chocolate sandwiches? I am always sending boxes of these back to friends who visit. They stock up here and write and ask me to send a few boxes every couple of months.

3. Candy: Licorice is, of course, the natural choice if your friends/family like licorice. If not, get some other great candy. You really should go to Nørregade in Copenhagen and get “bolcher”, which is the Danish word for candy, at the BEST bolcher factory/shop in Denmark. It is called Nørregade Bolcher and it is located on Nørregade (right next to Nørreport train station… a 2-minute walk). There you can not only watch them make the candy, but you can pick your own combination of the different types of bolcher from the store displays. It is reminiscent of one of the old American soda fountain / 5-and-dime stores where they had all sorts of different candies in little jars with scoops so you could choose. Even if you don’t like candy, it is a great place to visit as a tourist. Love the smells and atmosphere. Yummy!

4. Kitchen accessories: Look in places like Illums. It is pretty pricey, but there is some cool stuff. Accessories can also be found at places like Kop og Kande and Inspiration for a bit less. Just funky designs that make any home or kitchen look DANISH! Denmark is renowned for their unique and stylish kitchen gadgets and they are well-crafted to last.

Avoid all the souvenir plates, unless your family/friends collect stuff like that. Also be aware that the Stroeget is a great place to shop, but their prices are much higher than places in the suburbs. A 10-minute walk up Vesterbrogade or Norrebrogade can put you in the suburbs where the same shops are, but with better prices. Remember to spend wisely, cuz it ain’t cheap.:)