Gift ideas for your German friends

Photo by scukrov via 123RF
Photo by scukrov via 123RF

Gift ideas for your German friends

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

Receiving an invitation from your German landlord, coworker, neighbor or the parents of your children’s playmates is a welcome sign you’re adapting well to your new surroundings.

Should that invitation be to an event such as a birthday or other milestone occasion, you’ll likely wish to come bearing a gift for the host or hostess. Although gone are the days when American wares were highly coveted items nowhere to be obtained on the local economy, there remain a few presents likely to put a smile on the face of your new companions and future friends.

Foods: A peek into a food store purporting to sell American products gives insight as to what might appeal to local tastes. Pop-tarts, Reese’s brand treats, boxes of macaroni and cheese, Kool-Aid, brownie mix and other items are all readily available, but often the cost is rather exorbitant.

Bakers might enjoy experimenting with products that differ from their own, to include Crisco, semi-sweet chocolate chips, non-stick cooking spray, cream of tartar, lemon meringue pie filling mix or molasses.

If your new friend has ever shared a Thanksgiving holiday with other Americans, she or he might appreciate a can of One Pie pumpkin pie filling with which to make their own pie or a can of cranberry sauce.

An older generation recalls with fondness the items their soldier friends would share with them, to include Hershey bars and strangely enough, canned American beer.

Speaking of beer, the U.S. turns out plenty of great brews these days, so a selection of craft beers could go down well. Likewise, are some of our top-quality wines.

Local wear: It’s easy these days to find a N.Y. Yankees or L.A. Lakers top or baseball cap, but gear bearing the name of a state college team, interesting city or well-known event might hold appeal. Harley Davidson T-shirts with the name of a local stateside dealership should go down well with biker friends.

Regional products: Something specific to the region of the U.S. from which you hail is a thoughtful gift. Saltwater taffy, maple sugar candy, pralines, Dunkin’ Donuts coffee beans or jambalaya spice mix are examples of products that are unique and travel well. Non-food items such as fridge magnets, bumper stickers or key chains from your home state might also be appreciated.

Reading materials: If your recipient’s English is as good as yours, a recent bestselling novel could go over well, as could a magazine dedicated to your friend’s favorite hobby, from fishing to photography. Teenagers and younger children too might enjoy glossy magazines about music, fashion or computer games. A simple illustrated English dictionary, a Dr. Seuss book or picture book by Richard Scarry would be appreciated by any parent eager for his child to learn our language.

Meats for the grill: One thing that’s almost sure to please? A juicy sirloin or T-bone steak. Nobody makes a cut of beef quite like we do.

Random: Things for which I’ve had specific requests throughout the years include a license plate from my home state, Coppertone suntan lotion, Nilla Wafers, red Twizzlers, Tropicana orange juice, cornbread mix and beef jerky.

German readers, this is your chance to weigh in. Which American items are close to your heart?

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