As soon as the Host Family has been found, flights are booked, the packing list is almost completed, it is the right time to think about a present for your Host Family. Better don’t wait with thinking about a present until the day you are leaving if you want to bring something special, which you should aim for.
To bring a present for your prospective Host Family members is no must have of course. But without doubt, it is a nice gesture and helps in the transition phase from one Au Pair to the other to show especially the children that you care about them from day one.
How to choose a present for the Host Family?
Au Pairs often think that the present for the Host Family is supposed to be original, useful, transportable, not that cheap and not that expensive and get really nervous about it. But please, do not panic!
Bringing a present is always nice, no matter if you choose personalised gifts or something more “common”.
Usually, choosing a Host Family present is tricky because you don’t know the Host Family very well. But choosing a personalised present for the Host Family sounds more difficult than it is actually. If you have no clue what to bring but have arranged a skype call with your family before leaving the country, simply ask subtle questions about their hobbies, favourite food or carefully observe their house or room decoration. Maybe you can find some inspiration. If you already know more details about your Host Parents or their children, you are lucky and the choice may be easier for you.
No matter if you have no clue about what to bring or just need some inspiration: At the end of this article, we will provide you an overview of Host Family presents which went down very well.
What present can I bring for the children?
What always works very well with children are sweets. Of course! If your country is known for some sweets like chocolate, bisquits, cakes or anything else that pleases a sweet tooth, you can definitely earn some big smiles from the children if you bring them some sweets from your home country. However we would recommend to double check with your Host Parents before if they are ok with that. Not every family eat sweets or would like their children to receive a whole bag of it.
When one of the children loves football, what about bringing a shirt of your country’s national team or a famous sports club? They do like Lego? Then you might order one or two figures who look like them, wearing shirts with their names on. In case that the children prefer magic tricks, simply buy a new magic box. Depending on the age of the children, your Host Family’s present might be a book with fairy tales or a CD with well-known nursery rhymes. Board games are a good choice as well.
A present you and your host children can both play with is always a very good idea to get to know each other and to spend some time with them after your arrival. Presents which are introducing your culture maybe alongside a few words from your native language are probably highly appreciated.
Instead of buying something “run-of-the-mill”, what about trying to find a personalised present for the children? Nowadays, it is quite easy to design certain items according to your personal wish and taste. A lot of online shops work really fast and within a few days, they are able to deliver your personalised Host Family present for the younger ones. You can google for websites which work as online platforms for hand-crafted gifts. Very often, creative people who create personalised gifts at home, use these websites to offer their service.
If you do not want or simply cannot spend so much money on your present, try to be creative yourself: Draw, do handicrafts, knit or sew. It is really not that difficult as it seems at the beginning.
What about the present for the parents?
Ideally should your new Host Parents be interested in getting to know you as well as your cultural background. Hence, illustrated books about your region, some traditional beverages or food like liquor, jam, beer or typical sweets are a perfect gift.
If you are coming from a region with famous traditional dishes, why don’t you take the time to write them down in a book? Maybe you can arrange an evening to prepare some of those recipes for your family. In combination with a mug or plate showing the attractions from your region, you will enjoy a great evening with your Host Family.
Is bringing selfmade presents a good idea?
As already mentioned before, a handwritten cooking book, an arts and crafts piece or selfmade marmelade from fruits out of your garden are unique, special and come from the heart. In case you know how to knit or sew, do not hesitate to bring handmade socks, woolly hats or even handmade scarfs with their favourite colours or their names on these presents.
Can I bring anything without problems at customs?
Depending on the country you are traveling to, be careful with the choice of your Host Family presents: When it comes to food or beverages, please make sure that you do not have to pay custom duty or even worse – a penalty fee when you forget to declare restricted goods. To make sure that you can bring your present, the following websites may be helpful:
Now it is up to you and your creativity. As long as it is transportable, harmless and useful, we are sure that you will find the perfect present for your Host Family. Have a good start and enjoy the Au Pair experience.
Here are our personal top 11 presents for Host Families
Top presents for the children
Sure, sweets are not only for the children but for the whole family. Maybe there are some
chocolate creations, which they do not know yet or are hardly to be purchased in this
country. Bringing them some candy never harmed anybody.
⟶ personalised option: sometimes, you can even personalise sweets online. What
about checking it out?
2) Shirt from a popular sports club:
If the kids are into sports, for instance like football in
general, bring a shirt from your sports team from home.
⟶ personalised option: print the children’s name on the back
3) New lego figure:
Playing lego is a classic: Maybe you’ll find a figure resembling the child?
⟶ personalised option: Print the name on the lego figurine. Order one for you as
well, and you can play both with you and your lego figures. It is a nice keepsake.
4) Fairy-tales book:
They do not stick to the princess cliché anymore. Boys read fairy-tales too.
⟶ personalised option: create and print your own fairy-tale book online.
5) Board games:
You can play together, maybe you know a special game which is popular
in your home country but does not exist in the Host Parents’ country? So, you can
teach them a new game and they get to know your culture while playing.
6) CD with nursery rhymes:
Depending on the age of the children, a CD with typical nursery rhymes from your
home country is lovely. You can translate the meaning of the song and
sing it together. A great cultural exchange as well.
7) Magic kit:
Children love magic tricks and are fascinated easily. What about learning some
tricks which you can teach the Host Children? You can try new tricks together,
according to the age of the children and present them to the whole family.
8) Cuddly toy:
Every child needs a cuddly toy…or two or three…They dry tears and take fears.
⟶ personalised option: Design your own cuddly toy. Knitting, sewing, crocheting-
everything is allowed. The internet provides a whole wide range of free sewing
patterns, including clear instructions for beginners as well as real pros. A nice,
individual present for the children and highly adaptable towards the age of the child.
Top Host parents presents ideas:
9) Illustrated book:
If the Host Parents show interest in your cultural background, bring an illustrated book
about your area/region. So, they can have an imaginary walk through your region
without actually being there. They do not have to be boring: “Hidden object books”
are available for adults and pretty trendy right now.
⟶ personalised option: take pictures of you in front of
buildings/monuments/landscapes which are famous for your region and worth
seeing. You may even add a little note saying some greetings and indicating the
name of this attraction. Later on, add them to a photo album or design it online.
With little patience, you create your personal illustrated book all done by your
10) Regional cookery book:
Preparing the same couple of recipes for picky eaters can quickly get boring
for parents. Especially, when the kids ask for pasta again and again. In order to
bring some diversity into your Host Parents kitchen, buy a cookery book with
traditional dishes from your region. As long as you can agree on one dish everybody
would certainly love to give it a try. You can offer to prepare it for them on an evening. Hence,
the whole family can enjoy a new, different dinner getting to know traditions at the
⟶ personalised option: write down your favourite dishes (even cook them and take
pictures) and create your personal cookery book. Well organised bookstores sell
blank cookery books where you can fill in your recipes or you can design them
online for little money.
11) Selfmade food:
Bringing handmade food from your garden or reagion which is well-known, is a really nice idea to bring a part of your native country to another corner of the world. Just make sure that you are allowed to bring these goods into the country of your Host Family.
Just to make sure: With us ranking our personal top list of Host Family presents does not necessarily mean that you are not allowed to bring your own ideas. It is simply a collection of useful, transportable and nice presents for every purse.
Now it is up to you and your creativity. We are sure that you will find the perfect Host Family!
Have a good start and enjoy the Au Pair experience.