Gift Ideas for Family to Carry from USA

Three years ago I wrote a blog post on gifts from USA for family back home and shared ideas on what to buy from America for family members in your home country.

I traveled to Bangkok and India again few months back and this time, I have some more ideas on what to carry for families.  And this time, I have divided the gift suggestions into categories and some quick notes.

1. Bath and body products

Travel packs or bath & body sets in a fancy packaging are nice to gift.  Bath & Body Works has amazing fragrances and bath sets -- these are loved by several families back home, and if you can buy during sales or their special offers, that's even better.  Victoria's Secret's lip gloss, perfumes, bath and body products too are always a win.  Miracle Hand Repair cream for dry, rough hands (and Foot Repair Cream for dry, cracked feet) is good too because as far as I have seen my family, they forget to take care of themselves.

I have been using this particular brand of Aloe Moisture Gloves since 5 years.  They say the gloves are "infused with soothing aloe vera" but you don't feel any aloe vera when you wear it so I don't know if that aloe vera thing even works - but I LOVE how soft these gloves feel inside and out, and every night before sleeping when I apply hand cream, I wear these gloves to sleep....even in summers---they don't make it too warm or sweaty at all (or may be that's because I have extreme dry skin?)..  but anyway, I thought these would be nice since women cook so much back home and don't do enough to pamper themselves in a simple way.

2.  Food products

- Pistachios (Kirland Pistachios, roasted and salted), almonds (Kirkland Almonds, 3lbs bag), walnuts (Kirkland Walnuts, 3lbs bag) and dates may be easily available in India, but the quality is very good in USA.  Especially the bags from Costco are affordable, and then I later divide the nuts into smaller bags to give to various families.

- Craisins (dried cranberries) are not common in Asia I guess, so I took Ocean Spray Craisins.  Sunflower seeds as well as pumpkin seeds are healthy and are expensive and not easily available in India, hence a great buy from USA: I took Go Raw Organic Sprouted Sunflower Seeds


- The Anthon Berg liquor-filled chocolates in the shape of the liquor bottles and filled with tiny amount of liquor are interesting and unique for friends back home who drink alcohol. You get these in Costco mostly during Christmas season.

- Some bottles of salsa: Muir Glen Organic Black Bean and Corn Salsa, Pace Chunky Salsa, and Archer Farms Mango and Peach Salsa ... a bottle of sliced jalapeno (these are LOVED!!!!!  I should have taken 10 more bottles of these with me) ... a bottle of Smucker's Strawberry Preserves

- Medjool dates, pitted or not, are a fantastic idea.  The quality you get in Costco is pretty decent.  And you could easily get a box of dates for $12, which makes a reasonably priced gift to give to an entire family (if you do not want to give to individual folks) if you have guests visiting or if you are visiting relatives.

- Saffron is a forever favorite gift, to give, and to receive.  And in Indian households, saffron is added so often for desserts that it does prove to be a useful gift.  I love this brand The Gathering of Saffron, pure Spanish saffron, that I have personally been using past 7 years and carrying for family too.

- For friends and family members, especially those who bake, this bag of Nestle chocolate chips is a great buy...however if you can afford the superior, expensive couverture chocolates like Scharffen Berger, Valrhona, etc then you can take those.  And as always in the end, a lot of boxes of chocolates always help.

4. Kitchen Items

- Many people like bag clips and many don't know about it: these are the clips you use to seal opened packets of chips, for example (instead of leaving them open or tying them with a rubberband!).  if you buy the magnetic bag clips, you can put them on refrigerator and use to clip your recipes/notes/grocery shopping list, etc too.

- Reynolds aluminum foil and cling wrap, and Ziploc variety pack (I prefer the ones with zipper instead of the press-to-seal method and I prefer freezer-safe bags), are of superior quality here in USA and turn out quite useful in kitchen for folks back home

- Spatulas and cooking spoons of nylon and wooden materials for use with nonstick cookware is still available in India and Bangkok, but the silicone cooking spoons are rarelyyyyy seen...take the silicone cooking tool set, the women will be very thankful to you and these are very very useful because several families in India use steel spoons when cooking in nonstick cookware and scratch the nonstick layer and STILL continue to cook in it, which is SO harmful.

- I did not know a box grater was fascinating until my mom found it interesting to have different grating/slicing options within one object without changing in case you find it interesting too..

- My mom found these food storage containers fancy and she liked it. Leftover tomato, onion, lemon, avocado, etc can be stored in their individual containers in a refrigerator--easy to spot in a stuffed refrigerator and no need of cling wrapping and all that. I personally cling wrap or use the multipurpose Pyrex glass bowls with lids that I have to store leftover vegetables, but for those who might like food saver storage container set

5. Gadgets

- Bluetooth speaker has become quite popular. they sell it as "shower bluetooth speaker" but it is great to carry outdoors too, and is definitely a useful gift idea for youngsters and oldies, I took this one: SoundBot Bluetooth Speaker

6. Miscellaneous

- Some handbags, accessories, etc are common gifts you can keep handy to give to anyone

- Supplements like One a Day Multivitamins, Citracal calcium supplements, Centrum, Garlic pills, etc are some things many people take from here.  Especially if you take the 300+ pill box from Costco, it's good to go for a whole year until your next trip back home.  In fact, on one trip to Costco you can get plenty of items to fill your entire one 23-kg (50 lb) bag!

- This Conair Heating Pad for backache relief for the elderly... or even a Sunbeam heated blanket is very useful in winters

- Creatology mug kit that comes with a ceramic mug, 3 paints and a paintbrush to personalize it as the person wants. I thought this was a nice gift for small kids.  There are so many useful and small gifts you can easily take for kids from the Dollar Tree or Target bins too.

- I use over-the-door hangers on room doors and cabinet doors in my house and find it a great way to use space without permanent fixtures, so these are also a great idea to carry for family back home.

- Bar Keepers Friend is a powder that cleans and shines ceramic, stainless steel, and many other cookware materials (NOT nonstick), helps remove rust, helps clean the pans that have scorched food stuck onto it, and can also be used to clean cooktops, etc.

- Flameless LED battery-operated candles are becoming very popular.  Some even come with a remote control or color changing options and what nots.  People back home LOVE this kind of stuff!

- I got those two chalkboard mugs that you see in picture below for my two brothers. The mugs have chalkboard paint over it and comes with a chalk to write on it and I thought my young brothers will like fun stuff like this when they have their milk in the morning.

That's all I have for now!

Which gift suggestions did you like?  What other ideas do you have for shopping in USA for friends and family?
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  1. these are such cute and useful gift ideas!

  2. very thoughtful gifts.. Thank you.. it is always helpful to check your blog..

  3. Awesome gift ideas. I don't live in US but visit it for business trips. I would be on the lookout to buy some of these on my next trip :)

  4. Nice list.

    But it always amuses me when people living abroad think that these are not available in India :) of course it depends which part of India one lives in. Am from Mumbai and many of these available on Amazon India without even venturing out.

    My cousins gave me some listed here but they were surprised when I showed them the ones bought in India

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


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