10 Gifts You Really Shouldn’t Get Your Expat Loved Ones

1. Anything with a plug
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I have two travel adapters. Well one, the other is broken and when I want to charge my phone and
laptop at the same time, I have to risk electrocution and twist a fork into the back of it. So, as much
as I appreciate the lava lamp and electrically bejeweled Eiffel Tower model, they’re staying in the
box.

Actually, now that I think of it, I got an Irish extension cord when I was living in Germany. Literally
could not be less help. Wore it as a belt the following Halloween.

2. Glass
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I like glass. Love it. If I could wear glass, I would but it’s cold and I’d look naked. But don’t send
me glass. When I move, I do so with one bag, and the last thing I need is to forget there’s glass in
my bag, sling it on my back and feel like I’ve been prison-style shanked.

3. Clothing
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A cardinal rule of shopping for an expat, never buy them clothing. A scarf is the perfect idea, until
you find out they are going to South East Africa. So do us all a favor and steer clear of the coats,
scarves, gloves, shorts and flip-flops. Unless we’re talking about Jimmy Choo’s – I’ll wear Jimmy
Choo’s in Antarctica and look good doing it.

4. Fanny pack/Bum bag

I’m not Batman. I don’t need a utility belt, or a reason for people not to talk to me. So rather than
have me excitedly opening a box at Christmas, only to silently mouth words I can’t exactly repeat
here, let’s leave this unique fashion accessory to the chain-smoking Grandmothers at the Vegas
slots.

5. A picture of your family in period costume
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Why? I mean what do you do with that? Frame it? I’m not framing it.

6. A book based in your home country
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‘Yes I liked the book… No, I’m not coming home…Yes the characters really popped… Because
I’m happy here…Yes she reminded me of Aunt Mary. I’m still not coming home’.

7. Christmas ornaments
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You’re right, I can’t get any in Jeddah and it’s a great gift. But only if you give it a few weeks early.
If not, then I’m sitting with a nativity scene the size of a small freezer with nothing to do with it.
You’ve pretty much just given me a box. A box I can’t use. You know, because there’s something
in it.

8. A book of German pickup lines
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Yep, that’s what I want for Christmas, a reminder I’m still single. Thanks Mom.

9. A giant glass mirror
It does make my apartment look twice as big, thanks! And then you woke up from what was
clearly a dream, because that is an awful gift.

10. A guide on how to become a positive person
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Ok, reading the list I just wrote, I might need this one.

Our guest writer Sam Malone is an Irishman living in Munich, Germany. As a masters graduate in continental American literature, he is qualified in two things: being a nerd and reading books.

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