Advice for buying gifts

I need some advice regarding ideas for what to buy the in-laws.

We have a friend who has offered to take gifts to Rabindra’s family and apart from photos and some Aussie souvenirs, I haven’t got much else.

Rabindra is planning to buy his mum a mobile phone but I have no idea what to get her.

For ladies, I was thinking jewellery or homewares (clothes are a bit of a risk because they only really wear saris). Ideas anyone?? And if homewares, what type of cute house stuff should I buy?

Rabindra is quite pedantic about buying gifts for his family and wouldn’t buy anything cheap. He would never buy silver, only real gold, for them and is only interested in buying well-known brands (but in Australia he doesn’t mind what brands he wears). Whereas if I was buying for my family, brands are not important, as long as the quality is good.

They sent me over traditional Nepali jewellery last time. Suffice to say the pressure is on.

I’ll be buying quite expensive gifts for his family when I go there next year so I didn’t want to go overboard with gifts now but I also don’t want to be known as a cheapskate!

I was thinking clothes for his niece (8 years) and nephew (5), because it’s coming into a cold winter but maybe toys would be better? Last time I bought his niece and nephew clothes and I got a bit too excited and sent a fair bit!

And what about for his dad? All i have so far is an Aussie cap. Lame! I have absolutely no clue!

Keep in mind all the gifts have to be quite small in size.

Are there any items which are easy to get in Australia/America that people would love in Nepal?

And feel free to share what gifts you’ve bought for the intercultural in-laws no matter what country they’re in!

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10 Responses to Advice for buying gifts

  1. Tania says:

    My husband bought his father sunglasses for his birthday. Because it’s so dusty in Kathmandu, so maybe that’s a nice idea… to buy for your father in law. For the rest I can’t help you that much. I’m from Belgium so we always bring like tons of chocolates. Clothes and so on, for the children, we buy in Nepal because they can fit it and it’s much cheaper. Euhm, I know one guy who bought a few solar flashlights. You charge them a few hours in the sun and they can light the room when there is no electricity. Much easier than candles. So a very practical gift and the family was very happy abt it. Very funny also coz everyone who came to visit at evening heard what a nice gift their son bought.

    • americanepali says:

      Solar flashlights… I’ll have to add that to my own list! With all the power outages in KTM that would be a great idea.

      It might sound lame, but we have had success bringing lots of small things that the family gave give out to other family members–lipsticks, warm socks, chocolates. His mom usually divides these up into different sections and distributes different bundles to her brothers and sisters and in-laws as a “gift from America.”

      I’ve tried to be creative with kitchen gadgets, like apple slicers and garlic cutters, but unless they come to visit and get use to using at your place, they have their own way at home they prefer.

      Last time we brought some nice colorful trays that his mom could serve tea and snacks from, which she seemed to like, and those are flat and easy to put in your bag. I’m still not great with the “gift” ideas though 😦 will be interesting to hear your other readers thoughts!

  2. Grace says:

    Hello darling!

    I know exactly how you feel!

    When we went to India last, I bought them sooo much stuff but nothing expensive because we really couldn’t afford it.

    His sister asked about the brands and I had to tell her frankly they were Kate Hill – which is beautiful stuff but affordable!

    What I would recommend, hmmm!

    Sunglasses are a great idea – I got Vishav’s parents some (his Dad loves aviators).
    I bought his sister and Mother handbags anddddd even though they are Kate Hill – they carry them around as prized possessions.

    I also bought lots of cheap but cute items like cute kiddish earrings for his sister, and some handbag accessories for his Mum!

    I ended up gifting my N97 to his sister when we were there too, Indian/Nepali people love techie stuff!

    A common gift I see sent for the men are designer tee shirts (sizing is pretty basic for guys) as well as designer jumpers/jackets!

    They will probably be so excited to get anything, and another thing I would recommend is a video recording of you guys!!

    Maybe you could burn it to DVD or put it on youtube – or if those aren’t options put it on the phone so they can see it!!


  3. Grace says:

    PS – it is never a matter of being cheap or not…

    It is fairly customary for desi parents to go overboard when welcoming a new daughter to their family!


    Traditionally a girl goes from one home to another – ie you are going from your parents’ home to Rabindra’s….
    I know this isn’t the case but his parents wanting you guys to be crazy happy and together forever still applies!

    The fact they sent things for you says a lot of how they see you (methinks).

    My poor in laws want to buy me property in India on the heels of the news I am with child – I would settle for some baby booties!


  4. Abby says:

    How about a watch for his dad? I know clocks (not watches) are bad luck as a gift in some cultures, so maybe check with Rabindra. What about some nice Clinique etc. facial cleanser, moisturiser for his mum?

  5. thanks for all the tips.
    im liking the watch idea Abby.
    Grace- rabindra bought his mum a handbag last time so i didnt want to buy another one but there are some good ideas here
    Now i am very wary of “made in china” gifts being liked over there. thanks C!

  6. ally says:

    I love your blog, actually I found it while searching for ideas on what colour sari looks best on a white girl.
    After almost 18 years with my nepali dh, buying presents to send to nepal is something I know a lot about. I couldnt agree more about nothing made in china ect.
    For the kids toys especially educational ones are a good idea, also novelty pencil cases, pens ,rubbers ect. Kids clothes are plentiful and cheap in KTM but still its nice to get a t-shirt from their Mama in Australia but for other clothes sizing is a problem.
    For the men shaving kits with nice quality razors & cream are always appreciated
    or brand name t-shirts, if the men are older a polo shirt is a good idea but nothing white.
    For women makeup is good, its possible to get the major brands in nepal but its very expensive. Recently I sent mineral makeup I bought on esty & it was a big hit, the seller I bought it from is called ORGLAMIX she sells beautiful eye shadows, blush ect, its very reasonably priced isnt heavy (which is a huge consideration with a 20 kg luggage alowence especially if its a friend taking the presents) and best of all its made in the USA there have been lots of requests for more to be sent. Also lovely little high waisted cardigans that can be worn over a sari especially with some embroidery or beading. Sandals with a matching handbag are good as well.
    Last time I sent a solar powered mobile charger my Dh thought it was a ridiculous idea but I snuck it in anyway & after about a week he called & rather sheepishly requested I buy some more to be sent with a friend. Also those great little solar powered torches you can get from Paddy Palin or Kathamndu very good for navigating your way around dark streets during load shedding
    I like to send nice biscuits in a tin especially the cylindrical waffer ones because theyre unusual & light. I would also suggest that you browse sites like Thamelmall or Muncha House, it will give you a good idea of whats available in nepal as well as whats popular.
    Hope this helps cant wait to read more stories.

  7. Pingback: My blog in review | white girl in a sari

  8. ~rangi-changi~ says:

    I am in the same dilemma – G left Nepal 2 years ago and hasn’t seen his family since then – I feel like we should bring something but G says ‘oh they don’t need anything’ or ‘we’ll buy stuff for them in Nepal’. I agree with everyone who suggested torches/flashlights – good quality ones are impossible to find in Nepal in my experience. I found a great Coleman battery-powered camping lamp – you can put it on a table so it is more convenient than a flashlight. I suggested we get one for the family plus a solar battery charger and G agreed it was a good idea. I also like to bring things like Bath & Body Works lotions, hair clips, etc. for G’s sisters.

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