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Buying presents for family living abroad

(67 Posts)
Claretjan Sun 08-Nov-20 19:44:22

My sister and her family live in Australia. I'm finding it increasingly difficult to find suitable presents that don't cost a fortune to post. I just paid nearly £10 to post a t shirt to my nephew there! What do others do about presents for family and friends abroad?

dontmindstayinghome Sun 08-Nov-20 19:54:16

We usually send money in early November then send a small parcel each so that they have a surprise to open on xmas day.

This year the postage has gone up so much it would have cost £114 for four small parcels - out of the question!

We actually sent a large (8kg) parcel by UPS which cost £67. Still extortionately expensive but my son has had such a tough year we couldn't resist sending a few home comforts.

Just hoping now that it gets through customs without any problems!

Calendargirl Sun 08-Nov-20 20:00:21

I’ve always transferred money into DD’s bank account in Oz in good time, when the GC were small, she then bought them gifts which were from Granny and Grandad in England. Now they are older, they either have the cash or she buys them something she knows they would like. She and SIL get themselves something also.

I have no idea what they want, what size to buy, and postage is so expensive.

Ilovecheese Sun 08-Nov-20 20:08:57

We still send parcels, but the grandchildren are still quite young.

SueDonim Sun 08-Nov-20 20:13:24

My son and family live in the US and postage has become so expensive and unreliable. The last time I used the post office they didn’t get their Xmas gifts until February, the package was damaged and the contents stunk of mould.

Sending gifts via Amazon is also difficult in the US as many of them charge separately and often goods are out of stock. By the time you add in gift wrapping, if it’s even available, the cost mounts up.

Last year I used this service and they were excellent! I gathered together all the gifts the family this side of the pond wanted to send, put them in a sturdy box and the 7 kilo parcel cost under £50 to send. I took it to the drop off point, where they were really helpful, on a Thursday, and my son received it the following Tuesday. I’ll be using them again this year.

Aldom Sun 08-Nov-20 20:16:41

When the children were young we sent parcels. For the last three years, now that they are teenagers, I have done an annual Bank transfer to cover birthdays and Christmas for the three children. The fee is £9. This way each young person receives a gift which they actually want, purchased by their parents, or the cash towards an item for which they are saving up. I send cards separately.

Ellianne Sun 08-Nov-20 21:44:15

I've just ordered the Countryfile calendar to send to NZ. They post it direct so I don't need to wrap it or take it to the PO. £3 goes to Children in need.

Soupy Sun 08-Nov-20 22:07:04

Funnily enough I've just been trying to order some chocolate to send within Australia for an Anniversary present but have come unstuck because of using an UK card.
I've done David Jones gift cards for people in Sydney before; seems to be their equivalent to John Lewis.

Coolgran65 Mon 09-Nov-20 04:07:02

Yes expensive. £25 for 2kg to USA. I used to send lightweight token bits by post and have Amazon deliver toys directly without gift wrapping.
Now I send small stuff by post which usually takes two parcels, and money. Two adults and one dgs. Expensive way to send a few lightweight gifts plus chocolate and local confectionery that they don’t get over there but it’s a little piece of home. I just accept that this is how it is.
Also I send random comic books and confectionery to dgs as unexpected treats from granny and granda as I feel it’s worthwhile to keep a personal touch.

Spice101 Mon 09-Nov-20 04:25:59

I'm sending gifts the other way - from Australia to UK, not for family but for a close friend so the cash option is not there. The other thing that needs to be taken into consideration is the charge the recipient has to pay if the gift is over a certain amount. I've been told the value has to include postage so in my case it would usually be at least $18 (approx 9GBP).

Before I was aware that there was a charge sent my friend a valuable gift for her 80th birthday. It cost her a considerable amount to collect the gift.

Last Christmas I found something in UK and had it sent directly to her. Not quite the same as shopping personally but needs must.

Beechnut Mon 09-Nov-20 07:19:35

We stopped sending gifts both ways the year of 9/11. Bought gifts for the children with the money and said they were from A&U as arranged.

JackyB Mon 09-Nov-20 08:48:47

If you order from an Australian company the charges will surely be much less. E. G.

Ebay is the most popular in Australia apparently, but there may also be more local firms. You could Google "Sweet shops in Brisbane" or "Toyshops in Sydney" or whichever is relevant.

chloe1984 Mon 09-Nov-20 08:56:58

We send a huge box of longed for biscuits, chocolate etc to USA include cards etc always send by courier who collect from our home. This time it weighed just on 9 kilos cost £65 collected Monday morning am delivered Tuesday pm brilliant also transfer money to GC accounts they like to receive a parcel from home and get excited to see what Nana has included in the way of sweets!

PamelaJ1 Mon 09-Nov-20 09:29:08

Generally order on line for my family in Australia.
The online shopping isn’t as extensive as here but if I have had aprons sourcing what I want then I contact the supplier and they have always been very helpful.
Anything you can get here you seem to be able to get there.

We stopped sending gifts a few years ago when I was charged over £20 to retrieve a parcel containing a small gift that didn’t cost much more than that.

PamelaJ1 Mon 09-Nov-20 09:29:58

Aprons🥴? ...... no problems!!!

GrandmaKT Mon 09-Nov-20 09:41:02

I'm just packing up my parcel for DS and family in NZ now. I've chosen light items (T shirt, vintage dress, soft toy and clothes for baby and a few other bits), so the parcel weight is 2.5kg. It's still going to cost £40 to post! With them being so far away though, I do like to choose things for them to open so they know we are thinking of them.
Previously I have Googled local (to them) wine merchants and ordered a nice bottle of wine via email.

Islecat Mon 09-Nov-20 09:55:48

I order from any USA based online companies for my son, and pay with a Post Office dollar card. No problems and saves postage from UK.

sunseeker Mon 09-Nov-20 09:58:17

I usually order something from an Australian based company which gift wraps and delivers. My relatives are all adults so I'm not sure if there are companies which specialise in gifts for children

sandwichgeneration Mon 09-Nov-20 10:01:27

Just ordered 2 small gifts from Kew Gardens shop for relative in Europe. £12 postage. hmm

CorneliaStreet Mon 09-Nov-20 10:02:47

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Witzend Mon 09-Nov-20 10:03:03

For several years I used to send teen niece in the US cash inside a paperback or purse or other small present, or wrapped around something small.

Maybe I was lucky, but it never went astray or got nicked.

dolphindaisy Mon 09-Nov-20 10:13:44

My granddaughters live in Australia, normally we would go out to visit round about now and I would buy their presents for their parents to hide. This year I'll go on one of the local department store websites (probably K Mart), order some gifts and have them sent to their house,
If anyone is thinking of sending things by post from the UK please remember that the post is taking at least a month to reach Australia (only a few flights going at the moment)

Alishka Mon 09-Nov-20 10:20:36


I’ve always transferred money into DD’s bank account in Oz in good time, when the GC were small, she then bought them gifts which were from Granny and Grandad in England. Now they are older, they either have the cash or she buys them something she knows they would like. She and SIL get themselves something also.

I have no idea what they want, what size to buy, and postage is so expensive.

My family live in the USofA, and this is what I do too. smile

jaybee66 Mon 09-Nov-20 10:21:27

Any post and parcels going to Australia at the moment takes ages to get there (possibly due to isolating it for 2 or 3 weeks on arrival). I sent 2 birthday card over the last few months and they both took over 8 weeks to get to Darwin!

EmilyHarburn Mon 09-Nov-20 10:23:39

We transfer money into the family account so that presents can be bought or contributed to by us.