So, you have confirmation that you will be staying with a host family in a country abroad, as an Au Pair and have booked your flights. What is the next reasonable thing to think of? Gifts for your host family. The question “What presents do I bring for my host family?” comes to mind. It is the question that comes to every Au Pair’s mind because of course, you can’t come empty handed, that would be rude. Or so you think. But it’s a nice idea nonetheless and they’ll be grateful with whatever they are bought. After all, you will be staying with them for a long time and want to make a good first impression. It shows appreciation.
But it isn’t Christmas. You don’t want to come overloaded with gifts. You want to find something small that will ideally fit in your suitcase but also something that won’t be discarded the week after you arrive. What about chocolate for the kids? Possibly, if it doesn’t melt in the suitcase on the flight over. But everyone loves chocolate! It’s a safe gift isn’t it? So you start thinking a little bit harder and closer to home. Host families usually love gifts that are stereotypically traditional and part of your own culture. British tea for example. I started to look on Google to find something (anything!) stereotypically British that would be suitable to bring because the date was getting close. 10 days.
I, for one, was not born with the magnificently innate skill of gift-giving. Some people find it hard, like me, to buy something for someone who is difficult to buy for generally. I usually end up buying something last minute! So I need this time to be special. Nothing too expensive and nothing too cheap or tacky. I am in fact, their first Au Pair. But you see, I’m not very good at thinking outside the box for these sorts of things. I’ve spoken with my fellow Au Pairs and they don’t have a clue either. So who do I turn to next? The host Family? Of course not, it’s a secret.
You have to ask yourself what your host family is like. Have you met them over Skype? Great! Did you talk about their favourite activities? Such as swimming, cycling, football, dancing. You can pick up a few cues about what they like and don’t like from their profile page if you found them through an online organisation. Does the family go on regular outings? What do they typically do during the day? All of these things can come into play when you are thinking about gifts for your host family. So take notice and you’ll eventually figure something out. They’ll love it anyway.