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5 Ideas for Going Away Gifts

Saying goodbye can be hard, and sometimes a gift helps to convey exactly what we’re feeling. Here are a few farewell gift ideas!

By A Little Birdie | Posted on August 22, 2017 in Gift Ideas


A selection of doughnuts from a local favorite, Union Square Donuts in Brookline, MA.

Pop it in the post! Treats from a favorite local bakery often hit the spot.
© Little Birdie Me

Hopefully your goodbye is really more of a “til we meet again.” Until that next meeting, a little bon voyage token can serve as a remembrance of wonderful times shared, a demonstration of how much someone is (or will be) missed - or, even more fundamentally, to show just how much they are loved, be they near or far. With that in mind, here are a few of our favorite ideas for goodbye gifting, from the nostalgic, to the practical:

  1. A photobook: this idea is tried and true. Despite the proliferation of images online, there’s nothing quite like sitting down with a photobook or album and browsing through, reminiscing about old times. Imagine visiting your loved one – is it more personal to flip the pages of a photobook together or to sit with your phones, digging around on various apps or websites to review times past? Photobooks invite that kind of shared reminiscence. Furthermore, like a high school yearbook, a photo album offers scope for personalization beyond captioning – be it artwork, inscriptions, drawings, the addition of mementoes. There’s so much potential there for creating a really special, really personal gift! In the past, we have used Apple’s native Photo program to create photobooks, but have also gone old school with printed photos and an album from Exposures. If you choose to go old school too, we recommend sourcing archival quality pages, glue and/or pens (if you write on the back of the photos), so that your album lasts for years to come.

  2. A travel kit: is your friend embarking on a long car drive or a lengthy airplane flight? A little travel kit might be just the ticket (ha!). Suggestions on what to include for car journeys: a car charger for portable devices, some favorite snacks, a water bottle or travel mug, a flashlight, AAA membership, a road map and/or a brand new Spotify “on the road” playlist or two. For airplane travel: compression socks, magazines, luggage tags (if your friend is moving, be sure to use their new address), a brightly colored luggage strap for easy bag identification, and/or noise-canceling earbuds (or ear plugs). In either scenario, if your friend has children, activities for the kiddoes is another helpful thing to consider. We recommend choosing toys/games that don’t involve lots of small or easily lost pieces - or ones that require a lot of space to enjoy fully. Things like Water Wow! reusable “coloring” pads and “100 Things for Little Children to Do on a Trip” activity cards are worth checking out. For slightly older children, Asterix and Obelix, or Tintin comic books are very portable and eminently absorbing. Mad Libs are another travel classic worth mentioning for older children traveling with siblings, cousins, or other willing participants!

  3. A subscription to a local paper or magazine: is your friend or family member moving from New Orleans to New York? From Boston to Seattle? Beijing to Paris? If you think they will miss the city or town they are leaving behind, a subscription to a local paper or magazine is a great way to help them stay in the loop. And, if your loved one plans to move back one day, this gift is even more relevant – a way for them to keep abreast of local activities while they are away. Conversely, giving a subscription to a periodical in their new hometown is a great way to help them feel part of the city’s zeitgeist pronto.

A sidewalk display of flowers in front of a florist’s shop.

Search online for highly-rated vendors near your friend’s new home.
© Little Birdie Me

  1. A gift certificate to a shop, restaurant or local experience: if your friend is making a permanent move, help them quickly get immersed in the local scene. Or, if they are embarking on a major trip, treat them somewhere along their route. While your loved one is busy packing and organizing, do some online research. Search near their new home (or along their travel itinerary) for top-rated restaurants and shops. Is there a local kitchen store? Home décor shop? Hardware store? A highly rated ice cream parlor or café? A well-reviewed florist? Help your friend get settled with a gift certificate to a shop relevant to setting up a new home – or, to a neighborhood hot spot where they might take a break from the unpacking for a bit of a treat. For world travelers too, a special meal out, a cooking class, or a unique experience (hot air balloon! motorcycle sidecar!) in a foreign city is worth exploring.

  2. Goodies by post: this idea is for after a move has taken place. Depending on whether or not your friend knows anyone in their new hometown, this may actually be the time when a “hello” or “I miss you” is most needed – before new friends have been made, while the new job is still unfamiliar. Nipping into the bakery or café she/he used to frequent, parceling up a favorite treat, and popping it in the post may be just the thing! Sometimes bakeries can handle the shipping for you, but if not, there are a lot of online videos and how-tos about shipping food. In general, things that freeze well or that can be packed securely (e.g. cookies) are especially good candidates for sending a little love by way of the post office.

We hope one of the above ideas helped gift-giving spark inspiration. If you have ideas of your own for going away gifts, please do chime in - we always love to hear new ideas and suspect others will be happy to benefit from your experience too!

Tags: care packages, food gifts, gifts for travelers, gifts suitable for anyone, going away gifts, local shops, mailing gifts, moving house, nostalgic gifts, practical gifts, subscriptions, useful gifts

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