In need of a gift idea for the youngsters back home? We’re here to help!
When it comes to traveling, one thing that we always tend to put off until the last day is souvenir shopping. Sometimes it can be hard to know what to buy for our friends and family back home, especially the young ones, but it is always nice to show that you were thinking of them while you were away. When it comes to shopping for children in Peru, you may be unsure what sort of gift is appropriate. For that reason, we’ve brainstormed the six best gifts for the kids and grandkids!
1. Peruvian doll
An important part of Peruvian culture is the traditional dress, so Andean dolls make excellent gifts to take home for the kids. Many of the dolls you will see in stores and markets are holding a traditional Peruvian instrument or agricultural product, such as choclo. So while these dolls can be played with much like any other, they are a great way to teach the kids about the lifestyle and traditional dress of Peruvian men and women.
If you want to teach the kids or grandkids a little about Peruvian history and culture, an excellent gift would be a retablo. Retablos are a type of folk art made from brightly-colored wooden boxes that open to reveal religious, historical or everyday events that are important to the people of Peru. Depending on the theme of the retablo, it may depict Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, a typical corn harvest or an important festival. Since the figures in these boxes are typically fragile, a retablo is best suited for older kids or young adults.
3. Chullo hat
While traveling in Peru, you are sure to be tempted by all the brilliantly colored textiles and alpaca sweaters in the markets and stores. However, children outgrow clothing so fast and you’ll want to buy them something they will get lots of use out of for years to come. Instead of buying alpaca sweaters for the kids, consider buying them chullos and scarves that they can use year after year. A chullo is an Andean-style hat with earflaps and strings that can be tied under the chin. These hats are typically made from brightly-colored alpaca or llama wool and are practical if you are coming from a region with cold winters.
4. Alpaca stuffed animals
A popular gift to take home for the kids is an alpaca stuffed animal. You’re bound to see these in many gift shops throughout the country and it will be hard to resist their adorable faces and fluffy white wool. This gift is perfect for animal lovers and is appropriate for children of all ages. One thing Peru is famous for is its llamas and alpacas, so an alpaca stuffed animal is an excellent way to teach the kids about the camelids of Peru!
When you think of chocolate, you probably think of Belgium, Switzerland or France. But did you know that many of the countries that produce and consume the most chocolate are not the countries that actually grow the cacao? Peru may not be famous for its chocolate, but Peruvian cacao is an important export to countries around the world. While in Peru, be sure to stop by the Choco Museum to learn about where in Peru cacao is grown and how it is harvested and processed to be made into chocolate. Then, be sure to buy a couple chocolate bars to take home for the kids. This is a super-sweet way to teach the kids about where their food comes from and the important ingredients that are used in their favorite candy!
If you don’t have a lot of room in your suitcase for souvenirs, sending a postcard home is always a good idea. Choose a postcard from one of your favorite destinations in Peru and send it off with a little note about your experiences and what you have learned on your trip. It will be a great keepsake and the kids will know you were thinking of them along the way! And besides, who doesn’t enjoy receiving mail?
While you’re sure to encounter all sorts of gifts along the way, it is best to give something that is demonstrative of Peruvian culture. In that way, you’ll be able to bring home something useful and fun for the kids and grandkids while also teaching them about a different part of the world.
At Enigma, we believe travel is important because it opens your mind to new experiences and ways of life. The souvenirs you bring home for the children are sure to inspire their own adventures sometime in the future, so be sure to share a piece of Peruvian culture with them.