Monday, 10 October 2016

Special souvenirs // Bring home something that has meaning and worth

When you go on holiday, you pay for a lot of things. You're coughing up for the transport, whether it be by plane, train or car. You're springing for the accommodation too, wherever that may be. And you'll be paying out for food, drinks and whatever entertainment you have lined up, also. When you come back from the vacation, all of that will be gone, so what are you left with?

It all depends on what you value. As you sit where you are right now, cast your mind back to a great holiday you've had. It could be last year. It could be a few weeks ago. It may be several decades ago, but there's the key. You remember it, and still have fond recollections of it. So when it comes to going on holiday, one key consideration is that you can't put a material price on great memories.

What you can put a price on are the souvenirs you bring back. The very word souvenir is actually a French verb meaning "to remember". Another word that we use is "memento", which is the Latin term for the same thing. You don't need, strictly speaking, to buy anything - but they can help enhance a memory of a holiday you've loved.

Not all souvenirs are good souvenirs

As soon as it was clear to enough people that souvenirs were something that people do, it became an industry. Few cities on this planet do not have a tourist gift shop selling them. If you were so inclined, you could collect giant pencils from pretty much every town and city in Europe. There is profit to be had in taking an item that's cheap to make, and slapping a municipal logo on it. On the average visit to Blackpool, lovely though it is, you’ll see enough tacky mementos to last a lifetime.

Pick a souvenir with meaning

Given that there is a profit margin in everything we buy, it's worth thinking before we purchase them. Sure, you could buy a tea towel, but what does that specifically have to do with Paris, for example? Where was it even made? If you're enjoying a holiday, is it not nicer to put the money back into the economy of that place? When picking up souvenirs from India, buy them from the temple you've visited or an independent store. Those are the souvenirs with lasting meaning.

Choose a keepsake, not a trinket

Another word we use for a small item with meaning is "keepsake". The cash value of the item may be small, but its importance is in the sentimental value. So if you've enjoyed a wonderful week in a small hotel, look for something with worth in the gift shop. Something that, ten years from now, you'll still be happy to have around. Let's face it, you may move house another few times. Do you want to still be lugging around a novelty hat that says "Kiss Me, I'm Irish"?

Souvenir shopping is a personal thing. Our memories have worth, even if it's not something you can readily quantify. So if you want to enhance your memories of a holiday, pick a souvenir that evokes real memories.

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