True confession: I hate shopping. I know. I feel like I'm a traitor to my gender but I've never much cared for shopping of any kind. I joke that I'd rather stay home and clean toilets than go grocery shopping. And shopping for clothes? I hate the trying on and the thumbing through racks of stuff that rarely looks good to me. So when it comes to souvenir shopping, well, I did it as a chore for a while.
I do on occasion buy a souvenir though when we travel. For a while I decided that I should collect something special. After all, everyone else had all sorts of collections--dolls, Lladro figurines, bells, spoons, etc. I was feeling the peer pressure. That was when I decided to combine my love of wood with starting a collection of wooden souvenirs from the places we visited.
Along the way I accumulated enough wooden pieces to get a good bonfire going. I did set limits though. The piece had to be from wood native to the country and made by an artisan of the place. I found a boomerang made by an Aborigine in Australia, a canoe carved by a fellow in Papua New Guinea, two wooden shepherd carvings (one for each trip) from Oberammergau, Germany, a knot of wood that looks like a heron from Mexico, a vase of mahogany from an island in the Caribbean (can't remember which one now) and the list goes on with much less impressive pieces.
I knew I was getting into trouble when in a rush to buy a wooden souvenir from one of the Caribbean islands I found later, when I turned it over, it bore the mark "Made in Costa Rica." A few years later we actually visited Costa Rica. I decided I didn't need a souvenir. Already had one.
Today, I have started discarding some of the less meaningful wooden souvenirs. They were purchased because, well, I had to have a souvenir. Didn't everyone? I no longer buy souvenirs just to have something from each place we visit. I'm not home enough to look at them. I don't need the extra work dusting them off. And since they don't really mean much to my kids, I could envision them starting their own bonfire with them.
Pass the marshmallows, please.