Care package for friends and new baby in Vietnam
April 18, 2020 12:30 PM   Subscribe

We trade pictures a lot and I mostly send pic of the birds in my yard and I found these baby safe quasi-realistic stuffed birds that have real chirps so I got a bunch of those. Going to get some "Lucky Money" shiny/crispy dollars/$2 bills for the baby. Beyond that I am stumped, not finding too many great suggestions online. I'm hoping you can suggest some items that are hard to find in HCMC, VN.

I read cosmetics are usually Chinese knock-offs so I hit that aisle at the store and was overwhelmed. Not sure where to start or what would be appreciated. I am basically hermit and don't know squat about cosmetics or babies or life in VN so any help is much appreciated.

Was thinking of sending another package to the folks in the office so anything that's currently had to find there, anything with universal appeal would be great. Any popular hard candies there (afraid chocolate would melt)? Would like to keep pkgs under 10 pounds.

Thanks much!
posted by certs to Travel & Transportation around Vietnam (5 answers total)
Before making any decisions it would be wise to check the US Postal service website for which items may be sent to Vietnam. There is an extensive list of prohibited items, money and baby toys included.
posted by serendipityrules at 3:01 PM on April 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the warning. The shipping site I checked was not USPS; the only things on their list of prohibited items that stood out were booze and gambling items. Didn't occur to me that toys would be contraband.
posted by certs at 3:18 PM on April 18, 2020

These nail clippers


one piece outfits like this (that zip from the bottom up)

Are my go to baby gifts, along with wooden animal toys called "anamalz", but it sounds like you have toys covered. Not sure about overseas availability on those.

Also the book, The Sleepy Little Alphabet
posted by dpx.mfx at 4:40 PM on April 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

Multi-vitamins. A guy who married a Thai woman asks anyone who visits them to please bring multi-vitamins. I'm not sure on this -- I've never been, for one, so I haven't seen it, but also it's something that I so take for granted here that it seems strange that SE Asian countries would be lacking in vitamins. Maybe ask?

I don't know if they can get real silver, maybe some silver coins? Silver was at like 12 do 13 dollars an ounce a couple of weeks ago, I know it's bounced since but still not outrageously expensive here, and maybe hard to get silver there. And silver is fun, anyways, big honkin' coins with some heft to them.

And two dollar bills, everybody loves those, I always carry some around, they're great for tips etc and etc.

Maybe a micro SD card with some stories read onto them? Lots of freely available stories online now, I've never looked but maybe there are also young children stories. Or maybe you could read a story and send along the book, also? They'd have your voice keyed into a very important place in their heart, for sure -- who doesn't just love to get read to?

Kingsolver a favorite author for me and then when I found out that she read all of her books on Audible, and I went on a buying binge. I love that I can sit here in my comfortable chair with Kingsolver putting her stories into her own signature, the pauses the length that she saw them when she wrote the book, the intonations of each character as she heard it in her minds eye when writing it, how each character sounds from her chair.

I'm not suggesting you read some 500 page tome, just something nice that you could put your voice onto.
posted by dancestoblue at 6:56 PM on April 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

If you’re giving $2 bills, make sure you don’t accidentally send a total amount that’s unlucky (for instance $4 would be an unlucky amount to send if the family were Chinese).

These soft, crinkly baby books with multi-textured tails sticking out are MASSIVELY appealing to babies, starting at a very young age. The crinkly cellophane inside the fabric pages is like baby catnip! And they’re washable. Great gift. My baby was absolutely obsessed with these books- we had several and saved them for the car (which he hated) and they were the only thing that would stop the Bored Howls!

Note- These books are widely available on Amazon as knockoffs made of plain fabric- do make sure that whatever you buy is “crinkly” - it’s actually the sound that keeps the baby engaged (and the movement of all the tails, and the very bold illustrations). My kid found all other fabric books boring but these crinkly ones were incredible.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 10:24 PM on April 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

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