Have you been on a family vacation recently? Perhaps you have one planned in the coming weeks or months. Will you head to the beach? The mountains? Perhaps an amusement park? There’s one thing you’ll likely see no matter where you are. What are we talking about? Souvenirs, of course!

Have you ever visited the ocean or spent time on the beach? If so, you probably wanted to remember that time when you went back home. You may have picked up a small token from a local shop to remember your trip. Or you may have skipped the shop altogether and searched for cool seashells to bring home with you from the ocean. Either way, you likely left the beach with something to remember it by.

Maybe you had friends or family members who didn’t come with you to the beach. You may have wanted to bring them a gift from your trip. Perhaps you bought them a t-shirt with the name of the town where you stayed. Or maybe you picked up a beach towel, a jar of sand, or even a refrigerator magnet. People love getting small gifts from faraway places!

These are all examples of souvenirs. The word “souvenir” comes from the French word for “remembrance” or “memory.” Sometimes these small gifts go by other names, such as mementos or keepsakes.

A souvenir is valued not for the item itself but for the memories connected with it. Souvenirs remind people of the places they’ve been and the wonderful experiences they’ve had.

A souvenir can be a mass-produced trinket from a shop, or it can be something found or collected by a visitor. For example, a souvenir from a mountain hike might be a pine cone collected along the trail.

What are some common souvenirs? Many people like to bring home clothing from a new place they’ve gone to. Others send postcards to friends and family. Key chains, refrigerator magnets, and stickers are other popular choices. Some people also like to bring home coffee mugs, figurines, or miniature license plates. 

Some people collect certain types of souvenirs. For example, a person might collect postcards from all the places they visit. Then, they might display all the postcards at their home in frames or a special book. This helps them look back and re-live all the memories they’ve made in different places.

Have you ever brought home a souvenir from a vacation? Or has a friend or family member ever given you a small gift from a place they traveled to? If so, you know how much souvenirs can mean. What will you bring back from your next adventure?

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1

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