We hope to sail again soon. The cruise industry has started coming back to life. Meanwhile, US cities are starting to return to lockdown. New York City has a 10:00 PM curfew. Philadelphia is closing indoor dining and banning indoor events, including in home entertaining for friends through the end of 2020. You want to give gifts. You might not be able to deliver them in person. In addition, you don’t want to break the bank. What can you do?
- Candy or confectionary from a favorite port. Personally I love the chocolates from Charbonnel et Walker in London. They have a website. You can order online. If you and a friend visited a favorite city on a cruise, you should be able to buy them candy and have it shipped.
- Restaurant gift certificate. It helps if they live in a major metro area. Your friend loved Lisbon. Loves the food, music and atmosphere of Portugal. There’s a good Portuguese restaurant in their town. You buy them a gift certificate. You print off the text pages from their website. If they can’t get to Lisbon, they can at least enjoy the cuisine at home. If indoor dining is prohibited, there’s takeout or delivery.
- Foreign stamps. Different counties have magnificent stamps. They can be sealed in plastic as bookmarks or enjoyed on their own. You find a philately shop online. See what they have in stamps from your friend’s favorite country. You send it along as a gift.
- Cook Books. If you are lucky, your favorite cruise line has published a couple. These should be available online. If not, they have a favorite country (Greece), region (Provence) or city (Lisbon.) You buy them a cookbook and send it as a gift.
- Foreign currency. We are talking paper, not coinage. Your friend has a favorite country. (England). You buy some local currency, probably through your bank. You give it as a gift, with the understanding they can spend it on their next trip.
- Foreign magazines. Yes, everything is available online, but an actual, “hold in your hand” magazine is even better. You’ve been to the airport with your friend. You know what they buy for the plane flight home. Barnes & Nobel likely carries several of those magazines in their stores. You might be able to buy them online. If you are feeling extremely generous, buy them a subscription.
- Assemble a food basket. Do you have an Aldi nearby? How about a Lidl supermarket? These German chains carry packaged foods from all over Europe. This includes France, Germany, Ireland, England and Belgium. Visit a store. Pick up several non-perishable items from their favorite country. Assemble a gift box.
- Photo montage. You have plenty of travel photos on your phone and tablet. You have the ability to assemble an album within the photo app. Put together a collection of pictures from your recent trips together, including plenty of pictures with people. Send the album to your friend as a reminder of the good times you’ve had and hope to have again soon.
- Famous author. If you love Rome, Dan Brown is your ideal thriller writer. If your friend loves Venice, Donna Leon writes great mysteries set in the city. Hemmingway is associated with Key West. Buy your friend a book set in their favorite port city.
- Buy a gift from a landmark department store. Harrods in London. Galleries Lafayette is Paris. Selfridge’s in London. These iconic stores should have websites and the ability to ship purchases. Buy your friend an iconic logoed item.
You can make a lasting impression on your cruise loving friend without spending a fortune.
Cover photo: Queen Victoria Atrium, credit Bryce Sanders