American equivalent of a royal wedding tea towel?
April 2, 2011 4:47 PM   Subscribe

What tacky, uniquely American gifts/souvenirs should I bring from the US to the UK?

When I last traveled from the UK to the US, I brought a bunch of cheap royal wedding memorabilia to give out as gifts. Now I'm heading back to the UK, and want to bring some gifts that are the US equivalent of royal wedding memorabilia. Preferably these gifts will be uniquely American, unavailable in the UK, and in some way representative of the more tacky/super-sized/over the top aspects of American culture. Food and drink are probably not possible.

posted by narcotizingdysfunction to Shopping (24 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Previously. Previouslier.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:53 PM on April 2, 2011

You really can't go wrong with Chia Obama.
posted by BlahLaLa at 5:02 PM on April 2, 2011 [5 favorites]

You can still find some crying-eagle-in-front-of-waving-flag gear in the right places.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 5:05 PM on April 2, 2011

I think Pajama Jeans kind of sums it up. Or a Snuggie, which is a bit more easily available.
posted by raztaj at 5:08 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

About 12 years ago I was in Miami and I found a souvenir Empire State Building with "miami" on it. That was pretty awesome. So, something like that, if possible, would kick tacky ass.
posted by gaspode at 5:33 PM on April 2, 2011

I always take back all the tacky supermarket magazines for Brits to be horrified by. Are you sure you can't take edibles? I always used to load up on Twinkies and Ho-Hos and other non-food food items.

What city are you in? Here in San Francisco, there's a ton of tacky crap at the stores in Fisherman's Wharf, like fridge magnets, snowstorms, and T-shirts.
posted by vickyverky at 5:38 PM on April 2, 2011

An Elvis dashboard ornament. Or pretty much any other Elvis kitsch.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:46 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

How about Homer Simpson style Beer hats?
posted by monotreme at 5:48 PM on April 2, 2011

A singing bass fish should horrify anyone. If not that, then a bobblehead will do.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:50 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

NASCAR memorabilia.
posted by Wemmick at 5:52 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Statue of Liberty paraphenalia. Keychains come to mind. It's about as readily identifiable as Big Ben & you can find something to fit any budget.
posted by Ys at 6:01 PM on April 2, 2011

Mind, I'm not direspecting Lady Liberty. But a bobble-head of her with sunglasses to go on the dashboard? Totally there.
posted by Ys at 6:03 PM on April 2, 2011

I always take back all the tacky supermarket magazines for Brits to be horrified by.

It is pretty hard to horrify people who live in the land of the Daily Mail, the Sun, and the Daily Star.
posted by elizardbits at 6:06 PM on April 2, 2011 [7 favorites]

I never knew these existed until a native of North Dakota told of these things, turd birds. It was told as a sterling example of how thrifty midwesterners would make money from tourists using any means necessary.
posted by jadepearl at 6:18 PM on April 2, 2011

If Truck Nuts aren't an only-in-America commodity, the world is in a sorrier state that I ever suspected
posted by Mchelly at 6:31 PM on April 2, 2011 [6 favorites]

How about a Proud to be an American bumper sticker, or an Everything's bigger in Texas, or an I heart New York, or some other such nonsense.
posted by Sal and Richard at 7:27 PM on April 2, 2011

Tacky refrigerator magnets, especially those that try to cram way too much information into a single piece - chunky resin ones or the flat ones.
posted by illenion at 7:42 PM on April 2, 2011

Definitely a bobblehead. How about a Snooki or The Situation talking bobblehead?
posted by SisterHavana at 8:18 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's too bad regulations have changed and you can't bring food. In the mid 1990s I visited some friends in England, and brought several cans of Easy Cheese Cheez. I think one of the cans was bacon flavored. They were horrified and delighted beyond the ability of words to describe.

If you want to go with classic kitsch, anything Elvis will do. Or one of those hula dancers for the dashboard. Archie McPhee's has tons of this stuff.
posted by ErikaB at 10:31 PM on April 2, 2011

Bumper sticker
posted by pompomtom at 2:49 AM on April 3, 2011

Tiki Mugs!
posted by motown missile at 1:04 PM on April 3, 2011

They got Snuggies over here (someone I know got his girlfriend one for Christmas. Cue horrified look on her face.)

I think something that has to do with gun ownership like a bumper sticker or a pin would tick both the US-centric and horrifying boxes nicely.

Also I don't think it qualifies as tacky, but A-1 sauce also seems to raise a lot of eyebrows for me, particularly from the ones who swear allegiance to brown sauce.
posted by like_neon at 4:53 AM on April 4, 2011

Something with a flag: reverence for the flag is much more highly-developed in America than anywhere else. (And I say that as a guy who has a flag on his house. And who has lived in England. *shrug*)

How about anything from the Franklin Mint? Or those Jesus-playing-sports statues and religious medals?

Weak, ricey beer? The Providence airport now sells individual long necks and cans of Narragansett lager in the airport gift shop for two bucks each. (I asked the lady if she had a brown paper bag so I could drink it *cough* discreetly at 9:00AM; she agreed it was pretty deplorable.)
posted by wenestvedt at 10:54 AM on April 4, 2011

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