I don’t know about you, but now that the holidays are over, our calendar is getting filled up with visitors from out-of-town. Since our family lives 3000 miles away in the States, we don’t get the occasional overnight guests…ours stay for a week or so at a time. So, in an attempt to make their stays comfortable and their visits memorable, my husband and I like to make our own “Welcome to Calgary” bags.
We found some great bags at the Dollar Store, and they are perfect for holding all of the goodies we have for our guests. You could also use a basket, backpack, or other container that is appropriate for the visitors. The nice thing about these bags is that they fold nicely to fit inside a suitcase. You want to be sure that your guests have plenty of extra space in their suitcases for the treasures they find in our great city!
Next up, toiletry basics. No matter how many times we warn our friends and family that the air is drier here than on the East Coast, they never remember to bring their Chapstick! So, in goes a stick for each guest who is coming. On the same idea, we also add in a small bottle of skin moisturizer…not too big of a bottle since they won’t use much, but a nice travel size works well. Toss in some tissues and hand sanitizer, and you’ve got the basics covered.
Now on to touristy items. This is where your creativity can come out, and you can really customize things to the visit itself. We always make sure to include maps and travel guides. Even if we think the visit is all planned out, we have found that our guests like to look through travel books and see what else there is to do in the area. In all honesty, we had never been to Heritage Park until a family member saw it in a travel guide and thought it looked like fun! Other musts are some postcards of various locations in the city and stamps. It never fails that guests have every intension of buying postcards and they always seem to forget. We’ve got them covered just in case!
More customized items we’ve included in the past have been inexpensive white cowboy hats for Stampede visitors (you can usually get them for under $20 at Lammle’s Western Wear & Tack), Flames T-shirts for hockey visitors, and magnets and coffee mugs for the in-between event visitors (Starbucks used to have a really nice one that had the city skyline on it). Other fun items would be a pair of Canada mittens from the HBC stores, a felt pennant from the SaddleDome, a cool belt buckle, a Christmas ornament…and have you seen the cool Calgary Tower pepper mills? What a great keepsake!! Again, try to keep the items on the small side since you don’t want to be filling your company’s suitcase.
Most of our visitors have relied on me to take photos during their trip. That’s fine with me, since I love bringing my camera everywhere. In order to send everyone home with copies, we’ve loaded all of the photos we’ve taken onto one of the local photo shop websites and had prints made. For certain, during the trip, you’ll come across a pretty photo book to put them all in. Another great keepsake!
Good luck creating goody bags for your family and friends…just don’t make them too good or they’ll never leave!!
Sharon is a New England girl who never imagined that she’d find herself living in Canada. She has a wonderful husband and together they created a Diva Monster. Follow her on her crazy journeys at Nanas Button Jar!!