It’s time to make your list and check it twice. No matter how many shopping days until the holidays, your trip offers a unique opportunity to find something really special for your friends and family members. From all over the world, here are our suggestions for classic gifts and unexpected surprises.
If you’re in Ireland…
Classic: Aran sweater
This fisherman’s jumper is the classic gift from Ireland, named for the west coast islands where they originated. Warm and water-repellent, this off-white cable-knit sweater will ward off wind, rain and cold, keeping your loved-one cozy throughout the winter.
Unexpected: Hurley & sliotar
Give sports lovers the chance to try their hand at the Irish national sport, hurling. The ash-wood hurling stick, or hurley, can be found with decorative engravings suitable for display, but we prefer one that’s ready for play. Don’t forget to add a sliotar, or hurling ball, into the box to complete this sporty present.
If you’re in Italy…
Classic: Murano glass
Artisans on the Venetian island of Murano have been crafting beautiful glass objects for more than 1,000 years. Visit a glassworks studio to see how it’s done, then start checking off your holiday gift list. Whether you choose a precious piece of jewelry or a spectacular vase, the ornate patterns and vibrant colors are sure to impress.
Unexpected: Balsamic vinegar
For foodies, a bottle of balsamic vinegar is always worth the splurge. The original balsamico comes from Emilia-Romagna or Moderna, where it has been produced since the Middle Ages following strict production and aging techniques. For traditional balsamic, producers must age their vinegar in special barrels for at least 12 years, making it unique to the commonly found varieties produced all over the world. Look for the words “aceto balsamico tradizionale” on the label to ensure it’s the real thing.
If you’re in France…
No city is more romantic than Paris, and no gift is more romantic than Parisian perfume. Surprise your sweetheart with a scent from the city’s oldest fragrance maker, Guerlain, purchased from their flagship store on the Champs-Élysées. Or, browse the boutique perfumeries for something unknown and unique.
Unexpected: Fleur de sel
Meaning “flower of salt,” fleur de sel is the top layer of salt from the salt pans hand-harvested off the coast of Brittany. The coarse granules are said to be the finest finishing salt in the world—making this the perfect stocking stuffer for the chef in your life.
If you’re in Turkey…
Classic: Turkish Delight
True to its name, this famous Turkish candy will delight anyone with a sweet tooth. Known as lokum in Turkish, the chewy treat is traditionally flavored with citrus or rosewater and dusted with sugar. A satisfying complement to Turkish coffee, you can gift it in clear Mason jars or serve it for dessert at the holidays.
Brush up on your bargaining skills and you might just go home with a gorgeous, hand-woven kilim for your loved one to lay in front of their hearth. These flat-weave tapestries are often used as prayer rugs in Turkey, but their intricate geometric designs make them a beautiful addition to any room.
What gifts do you stock up on when you’re abroad? Tell us in the comments below!