Souvenirs have never been a favorite of mine. I am one of those weird people. I consider my photos my souvenirs. And I love to gift my friends with either a photo or nothing at all. Last year I realized that I have officially gone from being the best gift giver (thanks to my former staff at my Georgia interior design firm complete with a gift shop) to receiving the new title of “The World’s Worst Giftgiver”!
So when I travel, the thought of “gifting” rarely crosses my mind.
Here are 5 reasons I’m terrible at gift-giving and souvenir purchasing:
- I am not thinking about junking my friend’s house with gifts.
- I cannot remember to mail the gifts anyway.
- When I do remember, the United States Postal Service (USPS) in Miami often fails to pick up from our box before packages either disappear or become saturated.
- And all of that is if the gift isn’t left in a cafe, Uber, airport, airplane, or doesn’t make it through airport security. I can’t tell you how many items I have accidentally donated to American Airlines over the years.
Whether it’s shopping for the unknown or being asked to “bring something back”, the souvenir part of traveling is just plain gimmicky to me! I see people spending hours “shopping” for souvenirs vs. having a good time in the moment.
Last year, my mind changed about a very small, old school, cheap souvenir!
Thanks to Chanel’s Coco Cuba collection, I was inspired to buy basic $1-$5 pins and patches to add to my wardrobe to make it totally me!
I use souvenir pins pinned in collages on my coats and people stop me to ask “where I got that jacket or coat”. They don’t realize that it’s a grouping of pins and brooches that I’ve collected along the way.
Yes, it’s a super cool jacket, but the pins make it….and when people ask about it, there’s a story to tell about each pin…
How do I use travel souvenir pins + patches?
Notice I do move my pins around on various garments depending on what I am wearing and where I”m going. The photo above and below was taken at Kelburn Castle in Scotland. To see the Kelburn Castle and its cool graffiti wall art by Brazillian street artists – click here to read my mom’s post about the Kelburn Estate and graffiti project.
Where do I get my souvenir patches + pins?
This collection of pins and patches ranges from several of my travels. I don’t try to stick with a particular region. For the most part, I place them based on colors and outfits that I may be wearing. On the pink suit jacket below, I have placed pins from as far as Paris, France to Scotland’s Holyrood to London England’s Underground and Henry the VIII’s Hampton Court – all the way back to California USA where I picked up the Route 66 pin in Palm Springs and then the Hollywood pin from Hollyweird. The Raiders pin was gifted to me in Las Vegas when the Las Vegas move announcement was made.
My mom bought me the crown last year for my birthday while we were visiting Hampton Court. It represents Anne Boleyn and my love for the Netflix show The Tudors. Warning: Be prepared for a Netflix marathon.
I immediately put my pins and patches to use.
Instead of taking my pins and patches home to sew on or use later, I often use them on outfits right away.
When I bought my Sacre Coeur patch in Montmartè in Paris, I immediately put it on my new leopard skin purse that my mom had gifted me for Christmas. I just added it by pinning the small French flag and Eiffel Tower pin. And no, I am not afraid of “ruining” something. If I can’t make my outfit or items that I purchase mine, then whose items are they anyway?
Hopefully, this inspires you to go digging through your drawers and put those pins to good use. Plus, you’ll have your own story to tell.
Got any other good ideas for travel souvenirs? Pins? Patches?
Please do comment below or just say “hello” from wherever you are in the world!
My black damask coat with the colorful graphics on it is vintage from the brand Desigual and was originally carried in Ambiance Interiors & Gifts, my store that was in the pink house in Suwanee, GA.
The leopard purse is a designer handbag that my mom bought at TJMaxx. It’s a brand called “Arcadia Made in Italy”. I love their handbags! They have great style and excellent value…and most importantly….they are good quality leather. The patented leathers are my favorites.