Tacky Souvenirs That Are Probably Best Left In The Giftshop

Creative San Francisco canned fog souvenir for sale

2.52min read

Published 24 April 2015


Buried deep in the backs of all our cupboards are dusty relics of holidays. But not of our holidays. There's the dancing hula girl from Uncle Phil's trip to Hawaii, the bulky Texas belt buckle from your sister's road trip, the three-sizes-too-big 'I Heart NY' shirt from cousin Sam's Contiki.

There's no better way to say 'Wish you weren't here' than with a tacky souvenir. No souvenir is better than a lousy one, and these are some of the worst.

Creative San Francisco canned fog souvenir for sale
Don't open it or the 'fog' will escape! Then it will just be silly (Image: Flickr)


Canned fog

The company claims their product is 'the one and only canned fog' in San Francisco. Does that mean there are imitators? Could the real canned fog please stand up? Nothing says cheapskate friend quite like a can of air.

Curtain created from various colored sea shells
This shell curtain will go great in my lounge room... in the 1970s (Image: Getty)


Anything with shells

Shell bear statues, shell dolls, engraved shells, shell necklaces, shell-encrusted pens, shell mobiles, shell bowls, shell earrings, shell photo frames... Shell no.

Several wooden decorated phallus souvenir
Maybe not a gift for the grandparents (Image: Celebrate Life Lah)


Wooden wangs

You can't go far in Bali without spotting a barrel of wangs. These well-endowed carvings are a symbol of good luck. Men even used to wear these charms around their necks to ward off bad spirits. Good luck convincing your mates to do the same.

White Pope soap souvenir attached on a rope
Wash your sins away with pope soap on a rope!


Pope soap on a rope

Bring your favourite pontiff into the shower with pope soap on a rope! Cleanse your body and your soul with this must-have Roman souvenir, made from all-holy ingredients. As they say, cleanliness is next to Godliness.

Several Hawaiian neck ornaments hanging from an arm
Lei-ve it alone (Image: Getty)


Fake flower leis

A fresh flower lei is a beautiful thing. It's natural, fragrant and delicate. A cheap, plastic knock-off is not. Keep the leis at bay. You can leave the foam frangipani hair clips and Hawaiian shirts on the Islands of Aloha while you're at it.

Mini koala keychains displayed on a plant
How much can a koala bear? (Image: Corporateoz)


Clip-on koalas

You can never truly appreciate souvenirs from your own country – they're not exactly designed with you in mind – but clip-on koalas are among the worst of our exotic exports. Their squashed faces, jagged little paws, the fact that they come in packs of 12... it's all just a little bit sad.

Souvenir shop selling typical British souvenirs
I bags Prince Philip! (Image: Mirror UK)


Royal Family face masks

Will and Kate tying the knot in 2011, popping out a little prince in 2013, and now set to bestow the Commonwealth with another pint-sized royal has given discount gift shops in Britain a new lease on life. Royal family face masks and basically anything with Princess Diana on it are epically cringe-worthy.

Fake turd bird with googly eyes souvenir
The turd bird is the word (Image: Flickr)


Turd Birds

Talk about your crap souvenirs (couldn't resist). 'Turd Birds' were delightful oddities found primarily in gas stations across the States and made popular in the 1970s.

Montana Turd Birds, Texas Turd Birds, Kansas Turd Birds... they all have one thing in common: they're made of dried nuggets. They also have various poses and occupations, which are brought to life using pipe cleaners, googly eyes and toothpicks. Oh, the poosibilities...

Bottled Niagara Falls water in multiple colors for sale
And you can't even drink it. What a waste. (Image: Flickr)


Niagara Falls water

Some souvenirs are unashamedly gimmicky and tiny bottles of coloured Niagara Falls water are just that. What is anyone going to do with a small bottle of water and food colouring? For that amount of money you could send a nice postcard. Please send a postcard.

Kangaroo scrotum with a bottle opener attached to it
Skippy has seen better days (Image: Perth Now)


Kangaroo extremities

These tasteful gifts are prolific at night markets around Australia. A kangaroo scrotum bottle opener is the must-have accessory for any home entertainer, while kangaroo paw backscratchers are in equal poor taste. Rest assured, these products are made in accordance with National Parks & Wildlife Services regulations. That still doesn't make it okay.

Golden poop souvenir placed on top of a mini cushion
A souvenir worthy of a spot on the mantle piece (Image: Traveldreamscapes)


The Golden Poo

You've got to admire a country that can laugh at itself. In Japanese, the words for 'poop' and 'luck' are quite similar ('unko' and 'un' respectively). The Golden Poop (Kin no Unko) is not only a delightfully immature pun, it's also big business on the souvenir scene, raking in the Yen from giggly tourists. Good luck!

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