gifts from USA for family back home

Booked my tickets first from California to Indonesia, and left the rest of the flights and dates to Thailand and India for later.  Now it was time to go shopping.  Last time, several readers gave great ideas for gifts to carry from USA for families and friends back home.

{{{ UPDATE - March 2016 {new post} Gifts for family to carry from USA }}}

Alas, I'm a "last-minute expert", so most of the shopping was pending until the last day, which always turns out hectic and more expensive.  It is smart to start shopping and collecting items to gift over the year - whenever you find a good deal, a useful coupon, or during the main sale days (Thanksgiving, Labor Day, etc).

Anyway, here are some gift ideas I am sharing with you (stuff I really took) in case you are looking for ideas and things to take from America for your families and friends.

1. A beautifully packaged bath accessories set is a winner
2. Found an interesting puzzle that I thought would be great for my 6 year old cousin
3. Saw this chic bottle opener and I knew just the right person to give it to
4. Ironic that the kitchen towels I took to India were 'Made in India'
5. I use Mircale Hand Repair for my dry skin, so took one Hand Repair cream and a Foot Repair cream
6. Shampoos and conditioners 
7. Picked up this lightweight plastic photo frame to put a family photo after bro-in-law's wedding
8. Chopping board and vegetable peelers (Oneida and OXO peeler)
9. Gillette razors (and some extra blades)

Must visit IKEA for smaller, reasonable, and very useful items.  Useful is the key word here.  I took these milk frothers along with batteries ($4), the lint rollers ($1), and garlic press ($4).  People LOVED it.

Perfumes are great buys here; they're almost twice the price in India/Bkk as far as I know.  I understand it is difficult to guess a person's choice of scent.  But that's the thing about gifting family and close friends - they would genuinely and joyfully accept what you bring out of love.

Clothes, lots and lots of clothes.  If you don't know how tall or big the kid has grown, give accessories like scarf, stole, belt, cap, some wrap-around, etc.  Anyway, it is so easy to find a tailor and alter clothes in India.

It is worth gifting US brand bags and purses especially bought during sales, or from Marshalls/Ross/Burlington Coat Factory, etc; US brands of hand bags are very expensive in my home countries from what I know.  The ones above ranged from $20-$55.

Lots of various size Ziploc bags (these are LOVED by my families in Bangkok/India), Goody Ouchless elastic hair bands, bath accessories, etc.

Also took a knee cap for my grandfather, a blood pressure monitor for father-in-law, some Revlon and Maybelline cosmetic products for aunts, a watch for brother-in-law, and several other small items.

Before shopping, I had to keep several factors in mind:

     a) we just started our life together and setting up our household so it was important to set a limited budget,
     b) all the shopping had to be done considering luggage, weight, and size of baggage allowed,
     c) it is impossible to take things for each and every one.
[i know, not many people understand these factors...]

Therefore, there were few things that worked out well for me while shopping under a budget and while taking small tokens of gift from US:

First I bought the 3 lb bag of walnuts and huge packs of chocolates, worth buying from Costco.  And then bought small plastic bags and ribbon, divided the walnuts and the chocolates.

Similarly, I bought a box of Spanish saffron (The Gathering of Saffron), some small plastic boxes and pretty organza bags.  Divided the saffron, made it presentable, and was able to gift a combination of these things to many people. 

However small your gift may appear, you know what ... only your families and closest friends will appreciate and understand that it is the thought that counts.

{{{ UPDATE - March 2016 {new post} Gifts for family to carry from USA }}}

Your turn: Share some of your ideas.  What have your families and friends liked from what you took for them from America?

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  1. Great post Nisha, But my sister in law says they get everything there in India.

    1. Thanks Swathi. Many of the things are not available in India, or are very expensive, or need to travel to metropolitan cities to buy.

  2. Wow incredible and well stuffed, enjoy..

  3. Good shopping list and very helpful for me as I am planning for a trip soon. Can you please tell me where did you buy that big box of saffron?

  4. Very good article and well drafted with help of actual gift pictures

  5. Where do u buy small boxes to divide saffron?

    1. Need to know that too....Please advice, thanks.

  6. Helps me on what to buy for Pakistan. Thanks

  7. These things are definitely great ideas....I got some nuts, chocolates, purses, saffron & more.
    My question is where do you get such big box of saffron and cheap, also the cute boxes where you repack them? I bought a 2 gram box and it's pretty expensive in the Bay Area. Please advise, thanks

    1. I bought the saffron box from Indian store in Dallas and the small boxes were bought either in Indonesia or Thailand during my stay there with my families, can't remember right now... you might want to check at Michael's or other art/craft/hobby stores in Bay Area for small boxes.

  8. Hi. From where did u buy the small boxes for repacking saffron? I havent seen such rectangle boxes. Thanks.

    1. The small boxes were bought either in Indonesia or Thailand during my stay with my families there, can't remember right now..sorry..

  9. Wonderful website. Plenty of useful information here. thanks on your sweat!

  10. Nice post, very helpful and useful information. thx!!

  11. Awesome ideas! I just want to know where you bought your gift bags from? They look sure chic!


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