What might be considered an appropriate gift in Europe?
As with any gift giving to another country or culture, it is important to do research to avoid giving insult. For example, a gift of wine to relatives or friends in Italy might be considered thoughtless, because that gift is considered a regional specialty. Similarly, an American would not want to bring gifts to Japan that were manufactured in Japan. Instead, attempt to bring something that is a regional specialty to your own area; if you are flying to Europe from the American Southwest, Western apparel (hopefully made in the U.S.) would be appropriate. Try to find something locally grown, made, or manufactured; souvenirs made by local sellers and shops are always acceptable. Try to find things that would not offend the sensibilities of a particular area in Europe; don't bring World War II DVDs to Germany, for example. Many travelers recommend bringing some sort of food item such as pies, cakes, or gift baskets, as long as they will pass customs; remember to check the rules, as some types of fruits and vegetables are not allowed to cross international borders. Books are another good idea; they are not fragile and can be tailored to the tastes of your host. Finally, try to find something that will represent yourself and your region while still complimenting your hosts; for example, if you are flying from Maine, a U.S.-made LL Bean item would be appropriate. To sum up: clothing, books, food (especially chocolate) and anything made in your region are all good gift ideas.