Gift ideas

I need your help. I would like you to help me brainstorm some small gift ideas for my cousins and second cousins. Like many of you, I have a largish extended family: my mom is the eldest of eight children (her mother gave birth to eleven children, including three sets of twins!) and my dad is the middle child in a family of five children. Each of my aunts and uncles have no fewer than three children (the average is somewhere around 4 I suspect), so I have a minimum of 33 first cousins, many of whom I should see while I’m there. Oh, and my mom has an aunt who is only five years older than her, and she has seven children, who are all younger than me.

To be honest, I’m not sure how to handle this. I don’t really know what their likes, dislikes and interests are. Part of me was thinking that perhaps it would be safer to bring the money I would have spent on small gifts with me and use it there to get things, but I can see how that would easily get out of control and require me to keep good track of how much I spent on who, in order to avoid squabbles. Maybe that’s the best way to do it though, I don’t know.

So, do you know of some things easily obtained in North America that you think my cousins (who range in age from around three years of age to their 30s and 40s) would appreciate? Or, do you have some tips on how to handle this situation? If so, please speak up!

21 thoughts on “Gift ideas

  1. Globaliazsation ; Virual normadism (internet); MTV,Diseny channel, Cartoon network etx are all the same. , Your little cousines in Naija are will stun you . Just know they are just kids.

    Your problemis with the big ones. Dont buy any dress for even a nacked Nigerian from America he will laugh at you; unless he tell you what to get for him. Dont spend your cash.

    CASH ,CASH, go with it. I most times buy half of my gifts from my sisters shop in Lagos before travelling down to the East.

    Lagos will surprise you. I am a frequent vistor so I know.

    Good morning.

  2. For the adults(21-30),I have some options you can choose from…lovely bead sets(earrings and necklaces etc) am sure you can get them at cheap prices…and your excuse will be:"it would have been difficult to get you clothes or shoes since I haven't seen you in ages and I don't know your sizes"!

    for the young ones especially the boys one size fits all t shirts!

    and the girls,lovely hair decorations…well…i'll think of something more concrete later!

  3. my favorite gift item i take….Victoria secret or bath and body work body splash. They always have sales of discontinued items and you can get a lot for really cheap. i once bought bath and body works for $3 so it was nice and i bought a lot. Now for the guys… t-shirts, dress shirts,chocolate,Canadian souvenirs, ties,cuff lings, with guys it is really tricky. But t-shirts always works.

    Or my favorite….ALAAFIA. thats what i tell them all the time. I strictly buy stuff for my nuclear family .

  4. it depends on how much you have to spend. what's ur budget?

    i"ll get back to u if I know the dollar range.

    you can get lots of stuff at departmental stores for ok prices,

  5. This is a toughie! I recently went to visit with hubs and his humongous family who I'd never met and he hadn't seen in ages. For those with babies, we just got the babies like two outfits (nice gown and sleepwear) and the mothers nice material (not wrapper). Lots of perfume, cologne, pleather band wristwatches, load of wrappers (from N1500-2300ea), new notes for the little ones, and we also cleaned out our wardrobe of the nicer items we no longer wanted (and they were wonderfully received).

    This depends too, on your family's 'class' so to speak, as in whether they are well to do, etc. For these items, we got nice gift bags to give them in too and you might be surprised to find they were like a gift in of themselves. I see women here in Naija carry them around all the time from someone's wedding or such.

    Not sure I helped much, but this is me delurking for a moment lol. Going back to lurkland. Best of luck!

  6. For the girls things like jewellery is always a safe bet.. You could get 9k gold earrings set (for the younger ones…) The adults wouldn't mind those expensive looking bath sets or wristwatches… For the boys things like digital cameras (the cheaper Nikon 8MP) for the older ones and little one could have the characeter watches.. Tee Shirts are always a safe bet also.. Goodluck!

  7. The dollar store is a good option. Don't waste money on victoria secret o. Serious, the pound or dollar is hard o. Go to $5 below, do you guys have that in the Uk for the small ones. I am telling you crayons, posters, dolls, stickers. No waste money on anything more than your income .

  8. Shopping for relatives in Nigeria can be tricky, especially as you have so many! But really it depends on your budget and how much stuff you want to carry. You can't go into debt, neither should you overload yourself, because you can't satisfy everyone. But here are a few ideas: Depending on their ages, for girls you can get some make up items like lipglosses, nail varnish and so on that are not too expensive, deodorant sprays, small purses, hair accesories, funky stationery (if they are in school), earrings and bangles, and maybe tops and wristwatches if your budget can cover them. For guys, you can get t-shirts or sporty tops, wallets, key holders, mobile phone or ipod cases, ties, cufflinks, etc. For general gifts, take chocolates, sweets, cookies and things like that. Also, some toiletories like soap never go amiss. Distribute with a smile and all the best!

  9. I say don't buy any gifts, because ALL the clothes, jewelry, your ipod, phone,cmera, hair accessories, shoes, makeup, whatever you bring to naija they wont allow you to leave with it.

    When my mom went home last year she came back with almost nothing of what she took. Up till today she still complains that one of my cousins stole her $3.99 OldNavy slippers.

  10. Ok you guys? Totally rock! I love the ideas so far, thanks and please do keep them coming.


    Oooh, nice PR work o! I've looked your tees longingly more than once but first I need to get into shape so I can fit into the women's ones!

    I have too many cousins to be able to afford to get them all tees though, unfortunately.


    Thanks for these fantastic ideas. I'm going to get the names and ages from my mother this weekend and go out. I'll share pics of what I get!

    @Femi B

    Do you think they'd look down on the Calgon brand? Mariah sang about it sha…that must mean something. We don't have VS in Canada or Bath and Body Works (we have the Body Shop though, so I can look into that and see). Ooooh, Canadian souvenirs, great idea. Lol alafia! When all else fails I'll try that.


    Oh, that's a tough one. I'm still trying to get the actual number of people I have to buy for from my mom, and I'm also now thinking that perhaps I could split the list of cousins with my sister so that instead of each of us buying a gift for each cousin, we each buy for half the list. My budget is pretty small though, so electronics are out. I'm afraid to put an actual dollar amount to it.


    You and your hubby did well! Thanks for the ideas. I'd like more info on these gift bags—do you just mean the ones you can get at Hallmark or a card store (or even some dollar stores)?


    Thanks for the variety in suggestions. I know a couple of my cousins who'd love a digital camera but I'm afraid to buy it for one and have the others look at me and think their own gifts are worthless in comparison. I like the character watch idea too—thanks!


    Thanks for the advice. I'm afraid to look at my credit card already (and I haven't even started buying gifts!) so your words are definitely being taken to heart. I'm going to go to bargain stores and see if I can get some quality items.


    And speaking of bargain type stores, Walmart is on the list in a big way! I personally love keychains so maybe some cousins will too. Thanks girl!

    @Favoured Girl

    Thanks a bunch for your suggestions too! I love your last line. I tend to hand out gifts (speaking in general) almost apologetically as if to say "I'm sorry I didn't get you something bigger and better", even when I spend a lot of time and money selecting the perfect gift. Instead I'm going to be more of the attitude of "Here is what I chose/bought for you; I hope you like it" and smile my heart out.

    Your suggestions are great (especially the girly stuff) because they won't take up much space in the luggage. I'll make sure to stock up on toiletries too.


    Where have you been mademoiselle?

    Ugh…what you say is SO TRUE. My sister had the exact same situation as your mom (only the slippers weren't from Old Navy, but they were slippers, and I think she found them under the bed of the person who stole them). When I was last in Nigeria, I ended up bringing none of my costume jewelry back with me. It makes me afraid to take some of my favourite pieces with me (it's not that they're particularly expensive, just that I can't get a replacement if I wanted one).

  11. 33 people

    wow that is a lot

    okay i would say divide them up into groups

    the inner circle and the young and the outer circle

    for the inner circle: anything works: find cheap things of quality that you would appreciate, spend like 5-10 max on shirts, shoes, perfume stuff like that. burlington and discound shoe places would work

    for the young circle: by this i mean kids under the age of 10 or so it doesn't really matter to them, they just want to feel special so shopping at dollar stores or buying in bulk would work

    outer circle: i have no clue, you don't want to break the bank but you don't want them to hate you GOOD LUCK

  12. hmm buying gifts! well i'll say get little little items..l'll say go to dollar shops to get the little items. Cant think of any now but some people have suggested above..and since u say u dunno how may people u are getting gifts for yet…then buy loads of chocolates to support..that never fails..i think..

    And pls remember whatever u buy big or small, people will still complain and say just block ur mind.

    all the best o!

  13. ok no clothes or shoes at ALL. spending money on things people can't use sux!

    electronics and even wrist watches are a no-no, cuz its easy to spot lower quality things and u dont want to insult someone – these nigerians are SO sensitive!

    you can do toiletries, the cute little accessory sets and stuff that everybody's siad already.

    practically, you know u cant get stuff for everybody except u split them up btw u and ur sis. even then, do you HAVE to?

    u might want to look into who and who is likely to appreciate what more, people that just want tokens and people who might need something more specific…

    i say, if all else fails, buy loads of chocolate/candy – like the massive Celebrations packs – and give a pack to each family. that always works.

  14. Thats a lot of people! Keep in mind that those that will appreciate ur gift wont care if its cheap or expensive and there are those that will still yab u no matter what u get them. So I agree with others on T-shirts (something that says Canada, I think they prefer America sef) for the guys and bath&body/jewelry stuff for the girls. and maybe the younger ones u can get em some fun school bags with cartoon characters. Don't over do it o!

  15. You are coming to Naija!?


    Good to hear that…..

    I hope you have a great experience… and pray tell all.

    Don't keep us waiting till you leave.

    We have affordable internet access here oh!

    I wish I could help you with the gift ideas thingy but, I'm a guy. I would definitely not buy anything for any league of relations I have.

    HELL NO!

  16. lol @ Sting. Key holders ke? Hehehehehe. They will use it to stone GNG & give her a permanent dent in her forehead. Haha.

    Walmart is the place 2 go babes. Try those cheap watches. They cost between $6 to $12. In fact Walmart has lotsa stuff to choose from…..apart from the key chains. lol

  17. Some gift ideas that could help dear GNG.

    Chocolates at Duty free.

    They usually are not the stuff you see everywhere and are always well appreciated.

    Remember to give me a buzz when u are in town. I will be very glad to host you.

  18. See, I seriously think you should go for …adornments. For the ladies(teens and up) go for jeweries. Depending on your budget. they could be cheap but sensible.

    For guys, you could go anywhere from colognes to shirts and jeans.

    For children, like someone said…crayons, sketch pads, comic books…something colorful and INDIGENOUS to canada.

  19. hehe… don't worry, I give graduated discounts, in other words, the more you buy the greater your discount will be. :D Plus you don't have to get them for all of them I think. Only for the very special ones/the teenagers I suppose. :D

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