Worst part about a vacation, hands down: bringing back gifts. I don’t mean Christmas or birthday gifts (I stock up on those, too). I’m talking about remembrances for the folks who are grabbing the mail for you every day and feeding the dog.
The first few trips it was easy, because you had the endless stock of souvenir shop items to choose from. Unfortunately, I realized in Costa Rica that I’ve exhausted infinity when it comes to teen-age boys. I found a hardwood bracelet for his sister. Serving bowls for his mom. Coffee grounds – what else would you tote home from the coffee country? – for his dad.
But what to get Kevin? He has wallets. He has pens – and no real use for them. He doesn’t wear caps. A handmade photo album would just be stupid. A shot glass isn’t … uh, politically correct for a 20-year-old college student. And it’s really little for someone who spent an afternoon sweeping our deck so the leaves wouldn’t clog the swimming pool.
Don’t even go there with the bookmark idea. That’s for little kids like my first-grade niece. (But kudos for getting it in the suitcase.) Beach towels? Did that last time. Fresh almonds? Now I’m just getting desperate.
In the end, I did what any red-blooded American traveler does in this dilemma: I bought him a t-shirt.