Personalized souvenirs are all over the place here.
Here are my favorites:
- Chops are small stamps with your name in Chinese carved in them. Many people told us Michael has the best reputation for carving them, and that's where we got ours. If you upgrade to the medium size, he puts the name in English AND Chinese, which we liked. (Bring the birth year of anyone you plan to buy a chop for - each one includes a carved Chinese zodiac symbol on the top.) We bought a bunch for Christmas gifts.
- Some places, including the shop just past Michael's, will carve your child's face onto a larger chop. They're very cute, but we couldn't figure out how we'd ever use it so we passed.
- Several shops will paint your child's face inside a small bottle. Great grandma gifts! We bought ours at Michael's, and he let us e-mail him a photo.
- Several places also will carve your child's face in granite. We chose a cool version at Sherry's, that includes not only the face, but also a quote from the parents, a map of China with the child's province marked, the child's birthdate and adoption date, and the parents' signature. We plan to give it to Quinn for his 13th or 16th birthday. (They'll take a photo of your child there in the store.)
- Almost everywhere will do your child's name in calligraphy. Both Jordan's and Sherry's will do you a small one for free. We haven't picked up ours from Jordan yet, but the one from Sherry's is way cute and includes a colorful pig (Quinn was born in the year of the pig). If you want to buy more, you can get a big version of the child's name in calligraphy, and Michael's has a cute selection of bookmarks you can personalize.
- This isn't exactly personalized, but a cute and easy to pack gift is ornaments in the shape of the recipient's zodiac animal. The best ones I saw were in Beijing - I wish we had bought more there, on the little street across from the Wangfujing shopping street (there are a bunch of souvenir shops and camera shops all interspersed, and they're in those souvenir shops). But Michael's here on Shamian Island has some, too.
- At Raymond's suggestion, we're also bringing home some almond cookies. They're in nice boxes at the grocery store, and WAY cheaper than the versions you'll see in the tourist shops.