Ornery.org
  Front Page   |   About Ornery.org   |   World Watch   |   Guest Essays   |   Contact Us

The Ornery American Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » British Christmas present for an American friend

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: British Christmas present for an American friend
Jordan
Member
Member # 2159

 - posted      Profile for Jordan   Email Jordan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have an American friend who studied at my university, but has now returned to her homeland. She recently wrote to me, and spoke of how she felt like she was losing touch with the people and places over here.

Well, it is nearly Christmas, so I thought I would send her a gift which might help to cement her fond memories of this little island and the friends she made here. Therefore, I would like to canvas the opinion of the (hopefully not too ornery!) Americans on this forum as to what would constitute a memorable gift, especially one which would make you think of Britain.

Obviously, mailing from Britain one immediate restriction: I will need to send it by airmail, which is pretty expensive, so weight and bulk will affect how much I can spend. She's a very dear friend, so I'm willing to pay a little extra, but bear in mind that I'm saving harder than Ebenezer right now!

My first idea was a teapot, tea strainer and a bag of loose tea; while I like the thought of literally warming her heart, I can't help but feel that it's a little clichéd. Not to mention the risk of it being thrown into the Atlantic…

[ November 27, 2008, 04:27 PM: Message edited by: Jordan ]

Posts: 2147 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Storm Saxon
Member
Member # 1070

 - posted      Profile for Storm Saxon     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You could send her some Marmite....
Posts: 2936 | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
hobsen
Member
Member # 2923

 - posted      Profile for hobsen   Email hobsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My first thought was something on paper, as that would save postage and avoid cluttering up her residence.

As a suggestion, several of Shakespeare's sonnets express kind thoughts toward absent friends. Choose an appropriate one, and then find someone who makes a hobby of calligraphy to render it in a form suitable for hanging on a wall. Or choose some other literary passage you know she likes. But in any case, send the result with a letter explaining how you managed to get it done. That adds a personal touch which should make it more meaningful to her than something you just purchased in a gift shop.

And if you are in a university in England, I would surmise it has a society devoted to calligraphy. Maybe I am wrong, but it is my impression English universities have a society for everything, from beekeeping to the novels of Emile Zola.

[ November 27, 2008, 04:54 PM: Message edited by: hobsen ]

Posts: 4387 | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
scifibum
Member
Member # 945

 - posted      Profile for scifibum   Email scifibum   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Since you probably can't send her a car with the driver's seat on the right...

I think tea supplies sounds very nice, actually. Maybe it's a cliche but I would not roll my eyes at it in her shoes.

A nice print of a photo of you and some other mutual friends would probably be treasured - "love from [you all]" inscriptions are a bonus.

Take out menus from favorite eateries?

DVD of a British movie you saw together?

British board game you played together?

Posts: 6847 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gina
Member
Member # 6372

 - posted      Profile for Gina   Email Gina   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I would go for the tea if I were in her place. Your cheapest grocery brands are better than the stuff we get here. [Razz]
Posts: 476 | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Athelstan
Member
Member # 2566

 - posted      Profile for Athelstan   Email Athelstan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A small phial of British Rainwater – it’s cheap and I’ve got a garden full of the stuff. Certainly says Britain to me this year. Probably illegal though as I’ve no idea what’s in it besides water.
Posts: 715 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
cperry
Member
Member # 1938

 - posted      Profile for cperry   Email cperry   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think the tea is very tasteful (no pun intended) and apropos.
Posts: 2782 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Haggis
Member
Member # 2114

 - posted      Profile for Haggis   Email Haggis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Whatever you do, DON'T send her a can of spotted dick. It might send the wrong message.

Tea is good.

Posts: 1771 | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KnightEnder
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think the tea and or scifi's ideas sound great. Especially if she likes tea. If she's a normal American you could send her a coffee mug with The Union Jack on it. But the pictures, here we frame them and or put them on the fridge. Some of my favorite things are pictures of old friends.

(I'm sure y'all frame them but do y'all magnet them to the fridge too? Especially children's 'art' work? Do all cultures do that?)

KE

IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Stevarooni
Member
Member # 6053

 - posted      Profile for Stevarooni   Email Stevarooni   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'll add to the weight of those saying, "Tea from a Brit is cliché, but that's not necessarily a bad thing." A very nice letter would still be great, though; that says more about you thinking about her than any physical gift.
Posts: 536 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jordan
Member
Member # 2159

 - posted      Profile for Jordan   Email Jordan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks for all the great comments and ideas! Do keep them coming if you have any more, I've got a couple of days before I actually commit to something.


Storm: I didn't think of Marmite, that's a good one! Albeit something of a risk—as the fairly realistic slogan goes, you love it or you hate it! I don't know how much she'd appreciate vomiting out her Christmas gift. Um, I suppose it would be memorable… [Big Grin]


hobsen: this is actually my favourite idea so far, because it works out rather perfectly. You see, she majors in history and literature, and one of my aunts is a formidable calligrapher and presser of flowers; one of the best I know of, in fact. She's made me a couple of things before, so I'm sure she wouldn't object to being commissioned for this!

You're basically right about university societies, at least at the better universities. In fact, Warwick had something like three Christian societies at one point, ranging from its conservative Christian Union (ejected from the students' union for alleged homophobia), through the quietly British Christian Focus (which had an openly gay president) to the radical and political Speak!, which campaigned for economic and social justice.


scifi: a photograph with kind words would be absolutely darling, and I have no doubt it would mean more to her than anything. Getting a hold of those friends will be a harder task, however, since I now live quite far from my university! There's a Christmas dinner being hosted by many of her friends in a few days whick would provide a great opportunity to get one, but I don't think I could easily get back in time for work the next day. (Dagnamit!) Ah, and I don't have a camera.

That said, I could maybe coerce someone else to take the photograph and send it to me. Hmm, that's a definite possibility.


Gina: I'm sad to say that this does seem to be the consensus of many visiting Americans. For a while, I half thought about sending each of my American buddies (tons of students from America visit Warwick, so many that we are actually planning a massive roadtrip next year) back with a special supply to aid them with the transition.


Athelstan: one rather imagines that she had enough of that! (And we've had shedloads this Winter, haven't we?) I've already included the obligatory discussion of the weather in my letter, but I'll consider consummating the exposition with the real thing.


cperry: thank you! I pride myself on seldom giving tasteless gifts, regardless of how cheap they might be, so I'm glad that you think I'm succeeding!


Haggis: what's wrong with my spotted dick? She enjoyed it plenty while she was here! Hey, if you come here, I might let you have a taste. [Smile]


KE: a coffee mug? But Britain is to coffee as America is to tea! It would be terribly gauche, and my family are already pained that I associate with members of a seceded British colony! (It's a good idea, actually. [Wink] )

We might put them on the fridge sometimes, but I don't think it's so often used as the Wall of Achievements in Britain. Sticking stuff up is quite common, though, and probably universal; most parents are proud of their kids' achievements. [Smile] My family sometimes framed things (like my high school awards and a few pictures of mine) or pinned them on the wall, but I remember that most of them ended up being cherished and treasured away carefully by my Gran.


Stevarooni: definitely! Hopefully we can establish some correspondence. In fact, she's already sent me something. I'm just trying to restrain myself from running to ten pages, and also keep my copperplate from becoming a gothic scrawl… My handwriting is a little crazy!

[ November 28, 2008, 06:39 PM: Message edited by: Jordan ]

Posts: 2147 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Redskullvw
Member
Member # 188

 - posted      Profile for Redskullvw   Email Redskullvw   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Go to the postal service and get the annual collection of mint issues. Won't cost too much to mail and each stamp will have HRH profile on it.

Send over a can of Heinz spotted dick and a can of their beans- the blue one.

You couldn't go wrong with those too foods. Or get some "crackers" for Boxing Day / Christmas.

My brother hosted some friend from England for Thanksgiving. Have no idea how it went.

Posts: 6333 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jordan
Member
Member # 2159

 - posted      Profile for Jordan   Email Jordan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I've only ever had one Thanksgiving party, with an American family in England. It was absolutely splendid! The first time I ever tried pumpkin/pecan pie, and cranberry sauce.

Such a cool holiday. And what do we get? Guy Fawkes night, a celebration of a (foiled) plot to blow up Parliament. It involves standing outside for hours being deafened and blinded by fireworks, half freezing to death, then going home to pins and needles. If you're extra lucky you might get a baked potato. And for weeks beforehand, you have plenty of help cultivating a good case of PTSD as fireworks are ignited intermittently, without forewarning and in perilously intimate proximity.

Seriously, it's probably why the pilgrims left in the first place—to invent less sucky holidays.

Posts: 2147 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Michelle
Member
Member # 3237

 - posted      Profile for Michelle   Email Michelle       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I had a friend who was a police officer. When he would visited another country, he would return with a stuffed-bear wearing the hat of th appropriate branch of law enforcement, of whatever country he had just visited. I loved his collection. he kept them with his beer can collection. [Big Grin]
I always thought for myself, a Buckingham Palace, guard memoir would be a nice to own. It doesn't have to be a bear, maybe a nice carved figure, or doll?

Posts: 800 | Registered: Nov 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
cperry
Member
Member # 1938

 - posted      Profile for cperry   Email cperry   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Jordan - LOL! Come on over for Thanksgiving any time!
Posts: 2782 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Ornery.org Front Page

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.1