Bring the Holiday Home: Practical Souvenir Ideas for Design Lovers

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The feeling when the vacation is over: you're back at home, and everything is so incredibly familiar that you sometimes find it hard to believe you were ever gone at all. This feeling is the reason I usually try to find a souvenir of some sort when I travel to a new place, something I can lovingly unpack on my return and enjoy for years to come, bringing my memories into sharp focus every time I see it.

But, like many of my fellow design lovers, I try to live with a mindful amount of "stuff" around me. The last thing I need is a useless collection of knickknacks to dust (my second-most-hated chore after ironing). So I've developed a "safe list" of sorts; a handful of ideas for practical and/or beautiful items to hunt down on holiday.

Art. This is one of my favorite things to buy when on holiday, and was likely instilled in me by my parents. I remember browsing small art galleries in towns and cities all across Canada with them, and can recall them returning from more than one overseas holidays with paintings tucked away in their suitcases. An ideal souvenir for design lovers, art will serve as a constant reminder of your time away and beautify your home as well.

Edible things. This one is a given; who doesn't love exploring grocery stores in a foreign land? With new flavors and often-incredible packaging, it's a treat for all the senses. It may not be the souvenir that lasts forever, but when you crack open that bottle of wine or box of biscuits you'll definitely remember your trip. Edible souvenirs make great gifts for loved ones, too (and are a go-to Christmas stocking stuffer for me!).

Pottery and kitchen items. So you maybe don't need a new 8-person set of dinnerware, but serving bowls and platters? You can always use more of those. And that painted bowl from Greece or copper pan from France is a thing of beauty and style, and you can always use more of those, too.

Textiles. Useful ones! I'm talking French linen pillowcases, Scottish wool blankets and adorable (and ever-useful) tea towels. There's room for indulging yourself too: maybe my Moroccan wedding blanket wasn't the most useful thing I own, but I sure do love it.

Jewellery. This one largely depends on your style, and of course where you're travelling to. Since I favor simple style and city breaks, my fingers read like a map of the world through rings: Paris and Copenhagen on one hand, NYC and Barcelona on the other hand. Not only did these items take up zero space in my suitcase (just wear them out of the shop!), but I remember finding these items every morning when I put them on.

Over to you— what's your favorite souvenir to buy? Or do you shop at all on holiday?

(Image credits: Nancy Mitchell / Sofia's Rooftop View Over Paris )