When I was living in Britain as a child, we’d have to travel down from Manchester to London every Saturday to attend the Polish school, which was associated with the embassy.
I loathed the Polish school with the same intensity as I loved the British one.
Although I disliked having to sit in class, I loved the time after, spent roaming around London.
It’s a popular holiday destination, and most people bring back some souvenirs from there stay.
London does tacky souvenirs like no one else.
Here is a list of my favorite:
1. The silly hat.
It reminds me of the London episode of Friends, where Joey goes around wearing a Union Jack monstrosity.
The rule of thumb with these sort of purchases is: Will you wear it to work on Monday?
No? Put it back on the shelf.
This point also includes the plastic bowler hat.
British Gentlemen don’t wear them, neither should you.
2. Royal wedding tat.
I understand being excited about a royal union, but do you really want to be drinking your morning coffee from a Fergie and Andrew Forever mug?
Wouldn’t a Charles and Diana cup and saucer put a damper on you day?
Isn’t it just a mockery of the institution, seeing that the divorce rate among the Windsor couples is so high?
You don’t want a gulp of bitter with your morning cup.
3. The bottle opener in the shape of a monument.
I bought one of those in London.
We wanted to drink a few Bacardi Breezers in Hyde Park, and I was old enough to know that a tooth broken while opening a bottle wasn’t going to grow back, and dental surgery isn’t cheap.
Next best thing? Spend 99p. on the tackiest opener possible.
4. The Fridge magnet.
It starts really innocently.
You buy a cute magnet in the shape of Nelson Mandela’s head in South Africa.
Then it all starts snowballing.
People see your growing collection, and when buying a souvenir for you think:
What should I get her?
Maybe a pair of diamond earings?
A Gucci bag?
She does seem awfully fond of fridge magnets.
Lets get her a beer mug that doubles as a bottle opener.
She’ll love it…
Slippery slope, Ladies and Gents, best not to start!
5. Snow globes
I loved these as a child, but even then I knew they were bloody useless.
You can use them as paper weights, but if it’s so drafty at your house, might I suggest spending your money on getting that fixed, instead of gallivanting around the world buying tat.
6. Novelty items
It’s a pen, a feather duster AND looks like a British policeman?
If it can also launches rockets, I’m sold!
Take that James Bond!
7. Anything that says I Heart London, Mind the Gap or shows a map of the London Underground.
Union Jack undies, made from a disturbing blend of something unidentified and cotton, is not what the Brits wear under their Top Shop trousers.
Neither should you, unless you want to catch a nasty infection.
8. Same goes for things with a Harrods logo on it.
You know it doesn’t make you upper-class or rich, right?
We have a Harrods container on the kitchen shelf till this day.
It doesn’t have anything inside, but we hope when people visit, they’ll think we’re somehow related to the British Royal family.
You don’t sew by hand.
Put it back.
10. The dreaded plastic dolls.
These have haunted me throughout my life (and I mean literally, they gave me nightmares).
It wasn’t until we redecorated the kitchen at my parents house last year, that I finally put my foot down and refused to see them resurface.
They are disturbing, with their baby faces,wonky eyes, and lipstick.
Before you accuse me of being judgmental, let me tell you I am the worst offender of them all.
I have probably bought most of these items at one point or another.
Tacky gold Statue of Liberty bell? Check.
Small leather camel? Yup
Ashtrays, cups, fans, masks.
Pictures, figurines, clocks, and things made of seashells.
Nowadays, I stick to edible souvenirs, so in years to come I don’t have to cringe.
When shopping for gifts from London for friends and family, remember to
between good taste and what’s on offer!
More Crappy souvenirs from around the world.