So, it occurred to me that there are people who might travel from the U.S. to Finland to visit friends, family or to just look around. I thought of a few things that you might want to consider bringing as gifts if you want to make an impression (notice I did not say good because depending on the people, this list might not be conclusive or accurate- bring at your own risk These are just what I have come to know from my experiences.
For the mid 20s to 30s young adults and couples we like to bring things that they can’t get in Finland:
- Alcohol in the form of American wines or even our American beers such as Budlight (for a conversation piece) or stronger varieties and local brews
- Coffee (we usually bring Starbucks but not everyone is a fan- stick with the lighter roasts and be aware if you are visiting people who aren’t too keen on mass marketing products and chains…such as Starbucks)
- T-shirts, sweatshirts, etc. of American local sports teams if they are fans. If they are into American football or you are a college student at a widely known university, grab a T-shirt with your school name and colors. Many younger adults (even older adults) love to wear that stuff because it is just different (My boyfriend’s family has TONS of Mizzou and KC Chiefs stuff and will soon have lots of Minnesota stuff as well
For adults/older people:
- Similar items but a greater emphasis on wine or alcohol. Finns are complete drunks or anything but it is no secret that they like to drink and wine for most is always appreciated
- Coffee…again, same rules apply (coffee country)
- Art books with pictures etc. of architecture or landscapes from the states- something original and different like coffee table books. We have brought my boyfriends parents books on the St. Louis Arch- built by a Finn but also the city I was born so there is that personal connection. We all like to look at great pictures of great places so play with those ideas
For children: One word- CANDY (never fails!)
- Lotions or pretty candles
- Chocolate or sweets made in one of your favorite places that you want to share (something Finns like but also something about you and where you come from)
- My boyfriend’s mother loves Bath and Body Works so I never leave home without at least one bottle of lotion (usually whatever the new scent is!)
- Sweets or foods/recipes to give or make them- though keep in mind you won’t be able to find all ingredients. We ALWAYS bring pancake mix to make fluffy pancakes- they don’t have them. Finns make a version of pancakes (more like griddle cakes) but they aren’t like walking into iHop. Great for a snack or dessert- don’t forget the syrup!