The word ‘souvenir’ is a French word meaning memory or remembrance. Souvenirs can also be called mementos, keepsakes or tokens of remembrance and can be any object that someone keeps hold of, for the memories it brings back.
Although most often associated with gift shop products such as miniature replicas of famous world icons, including Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty, a souvenir can be anything that has been acquired by someone during their travels. It may not necessarily have been a purchase and the item itself may be meaningless to anyone else, however it has a strong significance to the owner, as a symbol of a previous experience.
Souvenirs are not always associated with geographical locations either. They can be memorabilia of special events and merchandise of popular sports teams or entertainment such as movies.
Different parts of the world have their own take on souvenirs too. For example, Japan has Meibutsu which are usually food products associated with the different regions of the country and Omiyage sweets which are popular with tourists.
People not only buy London souvenirs as tokens of memory of their own travels, but also to give out as gifts to friends and family and when they return from their holiday.
Some of the most popular souvenirs and collector’s items include key rings, magnets and bookmarks featuring popular destinations which are lightweight and easy to carry. In fact, with the rise of ecommerce and the internet, many tourists are now doing their holiday shopping online, either before or after they travel. This has several advantages, some of which include less luggage to take back, as your holiday souvenirs will be delivered to your door.
Also once your holiday is over, if you did leave anyone out, you still have the chance to buy souvenirs online. Online shopping is also convenient in the event that you may have lost a souvenir from your travels, that was very dear to you, you would be able to find and purchase the same item on the internet in order to replace it.
Most of us have been given a souvenir of some sort, at some point in our lives. What are your favourite souvenirs?