Straw Donkeys are Just the Tip of the Iceberg: These are the World’s Cheesiest Souvenirs!
Straw donkeys are bought ironically, right? RIGHT?!
My list of the cheesiest souvenirs from around the world will show that those Spanish donkeys have some serious competition these days. This is before we even get to the ever-present fridge magnets, baubles for Christmas trees and mugs.
Everyone will have their own example of a super-cheesy souvenir – do feel free to let me know!
Super Cheesy Souvenirs: My Top Ten Pieces of Tourist Tat from Around the Globe
#1 – Moose Antlers from Canada
While I can tolerate reindeer antlers for those cringy Christmas parties, moose antlers take cheesiness to a new level for souvenirs. Think flimsy plastic hairband, foam antlers and a price tag which multiples the cost by a hundred and you are close…
I’ll take a delicious jar of maple syrup any day of the week.
#2 – Straw Donkeys from Southern Spain
For decades, this was THE cringy, ironic piece of tourist tat. While I was too young to experience the heyday, it must be ironic. What people did with these massive, ugly pieces of wicker I will never really understand.
A much better reminder of your time in Spain would be a delicious bottle of local red wine.
#3 – Middle-Class Digeridoo-Carrying Backpackers: The Ultimate Cheesy Souvenir Gets Annoying
Ah, that classic rite of passage for middle class Brits. First, Thailand to get that boring haircut made into dreads. Next, Australia where for unknown reasons thousands of backpackers every year choose to encumber themselves with digeridoos, complete with Aboriginal decorations added by someone in a factory in China.
Don’t even get me started on people that choose to play them…
Decorated boomerangs are just as cheesy. Thankfully, they don’t need special arrangements when you fly home.
#4 – Matryoshka Dolls from Russia are Super-Cheesy
Disclaimer time: I have a personal hatred of Matryoshka dolls, developed long before the current political climate. These are wooden dolls which open to reveal smaller dolls inside. My wonderful wife, knowing I hate both them and fridge magnet, bought a fridge-magnet one and put it on our fridge… true love!
I’m not too sure that tourism to Russia will be a thing again any time soon – so we are safe from the evil Matryoshka dolls for now.
#5 – Mexican Sombreros: Guaranteed to have Zero Use in the UK
Sombreros have a real use out in Mexico, where that blazing sun shines all year round. As a souvenir, they pass the cheese test with flying colours. Not only will you have problems bringing them home (nobody on your flight appreciates it, trust me) – they have absolutely zero use when you get home either.
Save your sombrero spending and bring home a bottle of locally made chili sauce – and don’t forget to invite me when you make a Mexican food feist.
#6 – Mind the Gap (between your brain and your wallet): London’s Cheesy Tat
I could have included a big ben snow globe, tin of massively overpriced tea from Harrods or Fortnum and Mason, or even a Paddington bear in this list. On balance, a mind the gap or London underground t-shirt, mug or fridge magnet pips it in the cheesiness stakes.
Just what is so funny / fascinating / memorable about needing to be mindful of a small gap between the train and station platform I will never understand.
Oh, and don’t even me started on that red phone box nonsense…
#7 – Statue of Liberty Foam Crowns from New York City
A direct parallel with the moose antlers from Canada is the foam crowns with the spikey headset for the Statue of Liberty. What item is more likely to land in the bin the moment you get home, ready and waiting to pollute your local landfill.
NY caps and t-shirts are a safer bet, and many people are happy to wear them. My question is, are they really any less cheesy?
#8 – Miniature Eiffel Towers (on Keyrings), Tatty Souvenirs from Paris
Not only are mini–Eiffel Towers cheesy, for me they are the worst possible shape to make into a keyring. The bottom sticks out, ready to jab your leg when you sit down or even tear the inside of your handbag as you rootle round to find things.
Naturally, a Bretton top, string of onions and a white flag would make for a much better combination to bring home from our friendly French neighbours…
#9 – Cheesy Troll Toys Souvenirs from Norway
Everything in Norway is ridiculously expensive. So much so, that by the time you see the thousandth cute mini troll figurine, you’ll be numb to the £50 price tag. While unique, there really is no point to these mass-produced critters. They are not high enough quality to be a decent ornament, and too expensive to be merely a toy.
Save your £50 and spend it on half a pint and a (small) bag of crisps instead.
#10 – Luxor Pyramid Drinks Glasses from Las Vegas
You are in Las Vegas, so of course it makes sense to pay $40 for a drink made of sugar, chemical colouring, and cheap vodka. The hangover will be epic, and your body will take days to recover from the insulin spike.
But (this is a giant, humongous, important ‘but’), you get an iconic plastic glass in the shape of the Luxor pyramid hotel – and the top even lights up!
Let’s be clear on the chances of this piece of tourist tat ever being used again.
At least that hangover will be memorable.
I could add those eyes on stones, my friend went to (destination) and all I got was this t-shirt tops, mugs which barely hold a quarter of a cup of tea and toy kangaroos to this list… but hey, each to their own!
Over to you, what do you think are the world’s cheesiest pieces of tourist tat?
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