Christmas gifts from Taiwan for my UK relatives

I’m really bad at buying presents. I’m going back to the UK for Christmas and want to buy my aged (they are all in their 80’s or 90’s) relatives something special from Taiwan.

Ideas that I have excluded from my list include:

tea, clothes, and religious artefacts; all for various reasons.

So what can I take them? A limit of $500 NT is best as there are lots of people to buy for, both male and female.

Please help this terrible shopper!


L. :smiley:

I saw an oldtimey glass coke bottle yesterday in Chinese that I thought was way cool.

There was no coke in it though. :frowning:

you can get tea pots in a colorful box, with a picture of the maker, for about $100 a pop at the local auctions. i brought a load of them home years back, and they are all on display still (or they are quickly pulled out and dusted off :smiley: ) … box makes them easier to bring back too.

calligraphy brush stands? some kind of small pottery from inge?

good luck.

some form of art, like a chinese painting, or maybe one of those traditional waxed Chinese umbrellas?

I brought my grandparents back one of those electric fly swappers a few years back (as a joke), and grandpa couldn’t get over it…he still shows it to everybody… :laughing:

Healthy balls. No kidding, they are those colorful balls the chinese rotate in their hands. Great for old people. I bought a pair for my dad this year and he loves them.

Go to the handicraft store across from CKS Memorial Hall. It was always a nice place to shop and now it is even better. If there are women in the group they have nice hand died scarves. The men can get healthy balls or Taiwanese whiskies (taste like rum). Silk fans are nice as are the paper umbrellas. How about those comic books of Chinese classics?

At the handicraft mart they have these cool reindeer made out of wrapped cord. My family all have them and place them under the trees at Christmas. This year I also bought these little hand sewn reindeer (at the front counter on the first floor). My mom just told me they are in the tree and look great. Also, little Chinese ornaments make great tree decorations.

How about small poster prints of Taiwanese art? They won’t be difficult to carry if you get one of those nice plastic tubes with a carrying strap from a stationery shop. The Fine Art Museum near Yuanshan station has a good selection which includes a lot of Western art as well. The National Palace Museum gift shop apparently has reprints for very fair prices, but I did not see any the last time I was there. It could be worth a shot, though.

If you don’t mind having to babysit carry-on baggage, you could get vases or some nice, practical porcelain items. Lots can be found at the jade/handicrafts market on weekends near Chunghsiao Xinsheng station.

If you don’t feel awkward about buying from cheapo shops, there are lots of shops that sell almost everything for 39 or 50nt. There’s a Japanese 50-nt shop at Chungshan Station exit four and they carry plenty of inexpensive goods that look quite nice. Their porcelain section is pretty good, as is their potpourri display (the last time I went, anyway.) You could spend an hour on the second floor and choose, say, three or four items for every person.

Good luck.

[quote=“Muzha Man”]Healthy balls. No kidding, they are those colorful balls the Chinese rotate in their hands. Great for old people. I bought a pair for my dad this year and he loves them.

that is what i was looking to buy for some relatives but I didn’t know what they were called. dammit! oh well, maybe next time

Good ideas folks, how about some food?

They are too old to manage mwaji (sweeted softed pulped rice) and hard things are out of the question too. What do you think about sweeties/candies?

I think I’ll be taking a trip the the arts and crafts centre near CKS. I like those red “knots” don’t know how better to describe them, they are silk and erm…look pretty.

Keep 'em coming.



how about those jelly things, sometimes there is some fruit in the middle and the whole jelly is wrapped in some pretty paper thing. i bet that is super helpful. or some egg rolls.

Yeah, eggrolls are a good bet. Even if they don’t like the taste, they can keep the tins and use them to store stuff. My grandma is a great believer in keeping tins.

There are some soft rice flour jelly-textured things that Hualien specialises in. (I’m not sure if ratbrain meant the same thing.) It might be an acquired taste, though. In the middle there is usually a paste of some sort. I believe that the choices include peanut, green tea, red bean, and chestnut paste. Carrefour has them in bulk, if I’m not mistaken. You could buy a bunch and present them in smart-looking boxes. However, if they might the sort who wince at the word “paste” when talking about food, then maybe it’s not such a good idea.

I like the looks of those tubes of condensed milk that Nestle puts out, but not everyone would appreciate such a gift…

Fake silk kleenex-box covers NT$100 at the southern end of the Jianguo Rd. Jade Market. My 80+ mother can’t get enough of them! Light and easy to carry.

One of my favs and a big hit whenever I take some to the folks back home is Niou Tsa Tang. It’s a milk/sugar based kind of soft, fluffy toffee thing that usually has peanuts or pistachios mixed in. I’m at a loss for what it’s called in English… :blush: …but it’s pretty darn good!

niu tsa probably comes from the French word nougat.

Thank you, kind sir! Now, I will be able to sleep tonight rather than drive myself crazy trying to think of the word! :notworthy:

Give them the mosquito machines. Man I wish I had those when sitting outside in the summer in Chicago.

Yes! The battery-operated mosquito rackets; another item that has gone over big me, as well.

Thanks for all the great ideas people. I really appreciate it.

Mosquitoes aren’t a big problem in London. But the silk tissue box covers is a nice idea. Simple, cheap and easy to transport. Also they look “Chinese-y” which is good.


from my experience taiwan sweets/snacks don’t always go over so well with older folks. could certainly be exceptions though.

Ever try bringing back those tomato plum candies. They don’t go over well with anybody.

I went to the arts and crafts centre today. They have 2006 bamboo scroll calendars for $50NT. Surprisingly they look really good, are easy to transport and satify the “I want something Chinese-y” crowd.

Call me a cheap git, but I recon that’s not a bad pressie. Perhaps add some chocolate and I’ll be Gran’s favourite for a while.

Thanks for all the useful ideas folks.