What would you class as 'typically Aussie'?
August 27, 2009 1:45 AM   Subscribe

Buying Australian gifts for an American friend and her baby...

I've seen similar questions asked but couldn't seem to locate them.

I'm travelling to the US in the next few months to visit a lifelong pal who's recently had a baby (her daughter will be 7 months old when I arrive in November).
Over the 11 years we've known each other the various differences between Australia and America have always amused us (such as there's no such thing as sausage rolls in the States???). So I'm thinking of some awesome gifts I can buy specifically for her baby, without being too 'typical' (stuffed kangaroos and koalas and the like).

The closest things I can think off at the moment are maybe a Bonds baby jumpsuit (yes yes I know Bonds sold out and is now manufactured overseas but it's still an 'Aussie' brand) or maybe some cute bibs with Australian wildlife on it... but I'm looking for something more unique and creative! :) as my brain obviously is not.

A) As an American, what sort of fun Aussie things would you enjoy recieving, for either yourself or your baby?
B) As an Australian, what would you recommend?

Thanks in advance!
FWIW I live in Melbourne, VIC.
posted by sunshine arakhan to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Waltzing Matilda is nice to read out loud to a baby. I got that edition, and a copy of You Can Draw a Kangaroo, as a (Canadian) kid and enjoyed them a fair bit. I don't know that 'typical' is so bad -- a kangaroo will stand out amidst the sea of teddies...

If you have a biggish budget/suitcase, maybe a sheepskin thing, like?
posted by kmennie at 2:41 AM on August 27, 2009

Some wonderful classic Aussie kids books:
• Snugglepot and Cuddlepie
• The Muddle Headed Wombat
• The Magic Pudding

Jurlique baby care products - they make up nice hampers.

Some Vegemite. Because lord knows if they don't get the hang of it in infancy, they probably never will.
posted by lottie at 3:33 AM on August 27, 2009

Maybe some music? I don't know what's cool for the kids these days, but I loved Peter Coombe and Don Spencer. 'Captain Cook, was a British sailor!'. I think he had an album all about Australia actually. Are the Wiggles any good?

Mem Fox's books are also great - I remember Possum Magic, and Koala Lou, and Wildred Gordon MacDonald Partridge.

Some little tiny Ugg boots? Or a Mambo t-shirt designed by Reg Mombassa? Maybe for when she's a little older...

I'm not sure a stuffed koala is a bad idea either. I took one to a 5 year old in France (ok...a bit of an age difference there) and he LOVED it. When I told him the sound they make and imitated how they look he thought I was HILAROUS (and insane).

Maybe you should go and have a look in Australian Geographic or the ABC shop - both have lots of local stuff, and a lesser percentage of kitsch than many tourist shops.
posted by Emilyisnow at 6:06 AM on August 27, 2009

without being too 'typical' (stuffed kangaroos and koalas and the like)

A stuffed kangaroo? Heavens to Betsy, no. A stuffed koala? You can get those anywhere.

But a stuffed quokka! Now that is another story entirely!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:08 AM on August 27, 2009

If you're passing through Sydney before you leave, Yoshi Jones makes gorgeous baby clothes, quilts, bibs and wraps (as well as grown-up clothes). The aesthetics are Japanese-inspired, but as a designer she's unique to Australia.

Books by Mem Fox seem to be a rite of passage for Australian kids. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes is a good choice for reading aloud to a baby.

You said you didn't want stuffed kangaroos or koalas, but what about something a bit less conventional? Like a baby emu, kookaburra, cockatoo, wombat or pelican?
posted by embrangled at 6:18 AM on August 27, 2009

I'll second the kids books. Maybe some written/illustrated by Aboriginals (and is that the PC way to refer to the native peoples of Australia? Here it's simply First Nations.)? Can't really go wrong with the stereotypical things either- a friend gave me a book on Australian animals in first grade and I was obsessed with it for years.

Baby gifts are so much fun. Most of these sound as if they will be fun now, and keepsakes later, which I think is the way to go. Enjoy your visit!

PS: Another idea is a visit to the grocery store with your friend for puff pastry and sausages so you can teach her how to make the rolls ;) Such a good hot lunch before going back to school on snowy days.
posted by variella at 6:22 AM on August 27, 2009

nthing Australian children books! As mentioned, Possum Magic by Mem Fox is a favourite, although an illustrated compendium of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie or something similar, would also be a beautiful keepsake.

A special edition coin from the Australian Mint (not an instant gratification style present though!)
posted by unlaced at 6:49 AM on August 27, 2009

If the stuffed kookaburra embrangled suggests makes noise, so much the better. Personally, I think stuffed echidnas are the cutest. Or a fairy penguin.

Miss Lily's Fabulous Pink Feather Boa was my favorite Aussie children's book, but the other recommendations here are good, too. I also like Magabala Press in general, as they're Aboriginal owned and managed, and make some lovely books.

Baby should be old enough to gnaw on a Teddy Bear biscuit. Tiny Teddies are too similar to Teddy Grahams in the US to really be novel, though.

What about a small piece of Aboriginal art? Sure, the baby's young to appreciate it now, but it would be a lovely gift to have down the line.
posted by EvaDestruction at 7:17 AM on August 27, 2009


New Zealander rels gave me one when I had my first baby. It became my default Australian baby gift for all friends here in the USA. Warm but wicks away sweat.

Seven years later, most of those kids are still sleeping on theirs.
posted by rdc at 11:42 AM on August 27, 2009

I am heading overseas later this year and intend on taking presents for adults and kids alike. I was thinking bottles of Australian wine, vegemite (hey if they don't like it, at least I can have vegemite on toast if the urge strikes me) but I am struggling to think of other presents for the adults. Maybe picture book of Australia?

For the kids, I was thinking stuffed toys (koalas, kangaroos, echidnas, wombats etc), The Magic Pudding, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, Possum Magic, since they remind me of my childhood.
posted by Admira at 4:42 PM on August 27, 2009

Well... I am American and my husband has work associates in Australia. They sent a teeny tiny pair of pink Ugg chukka boots when my daughter was born and they were the BEST gift ever. So I highly recommend Uggs.

And be sure to bring some Violet Crumbles for mom. (They're my favorites and it's hard to find them here in the US!)
posted by FergieBelle at 5:26 PM on August 27, 2009

I've seen Mem Fox books at Usaian bookstores....I would check the Dymocks and Amazon websites to find out what one can't get up in the states.
Nthing an unusual stuffed animal; I brought a stuffed platypus( maybe too typical for what you want) to a friend's baby.
posted by brujita at 11:03 PM on August 27, 2009

Plush hand puppets of Aussie animals.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:10 AM on August 28, 2009

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