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The Beauty of a Souvenir

When you think of a souvenir, what comes to mind? You might be inclined to think of something old-fashioned, like a postcard, or something a tad corny - for example: a shirt that says "my friend went to (*insert name of destination*) and all I got was this t-shirt."

Growing up, anywhere we traveled my Dad would always take the time to purchase postcards and write them out to family and friends. He would include details about the trip and funny stories to share with the recipient(s) of the postcard. Although the cost of the postcards was usually fairly low, the amount of time, effort, and energy it took to actually write them out and then mail them at the local post office could was immense. I developed an affinity for postcards and used to collect them growing up, saving my favorites throughout the years. As I sometimes sit and review my collection, I realize how special the act of sending someone a postcard or bringing him or her a souvenir can be. I still have post cards from one of my best friends' family vacation to San Diego. When I flip it over and start reading, it takes me back to a time in life where summer meant vacations, visits to the pool, and sharing nachos and hot pretzels at the drive-in movie theater. Seeing her handwriting reminds me of all the fun memories we shared growing up in school together and it serves as a piece of that time that we will never get back, try as we might. I will always treasure the magic hidden in simple, everyday objects we call souvenirs.

A souvenir I received that I'll never forget - my Yiayia brought back (from Greece) a variety of strange objects, from pencil sharpeners to purses, all modeled after Foibos and Athiná (pictured above), the mascots for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

Buying someone a souvenir for another person is many things - it is thoughtful, gracious, and a symbol of affection; more than anything, though, it is an act of love. This act demonstrates that you were thinking of someone while you were off in an exciting destination - affirming the deep connection we have with others in our lives. Even if gifts aren't your love language, bringing someone back a souvenir shows that you were thinking of that person while you were away, which strengthens the connection and makes the other person feel valued, appreciated, and recognised. Bringing souvenirs also make people feel included - it serves as a way for them to share in the journey with the person who was traveling! As souvenirs almost always have a positive connotation, bringing back souvenirs also has a unique way of boosting someone else's mood when that person receives the special gift.

Many souvenirs are uniquely tied to the culture and traditions of the place the person visited, so receiving such a gift can be seen as an opportunity to learn about another culture and broaden your horizons, and giving a gift is a way to spread and share a piece of the local culture. This is one of the reasons I love souvenir shopping in Greece. A souvenir from Greece is more than just an object; it's a tangible connection to the rich history, culture, and natural beauty of the country. Whether it is a little trinket or a more substantial piece of art, a Greek souvenir from carries with it a sense of authenticity and tradition that can transport you back to the picturesque landscapes, ancient ruins, and vibrant lifestyle of Greece. I plan to write more in future posts about Greek souvenirs, so... more to come on that topic!

To me, there will always be something wonderful about seeing an object or idea that reminds you of someone in your life and then being able to share that with them. Even if you purchase a souvenir for yourself, this simple act goes beyond acquiring a physical item; it holds personal significance and emotional value that can enhance your travel experience and leave lasting memories for years to come.

Greece is one of my favorite places to souvenir shop (and to shop in general). The beautiful streets and the creative gifts are just one of many things to love about the country.

Whether you are buying souvenirs for yourself or for loved ones, these gifts serve as a powerful reminder of the beauty and diversity in our world and give us just a glimpse of all the wonders that travel has to offer. What are some of your favorite souvenirs that you've purchased throughout the years? Does anything you've gifted or received hold a special significance to you?


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