Have you been on a family vacation recently? Perhaps you have one planned in the coming weeks or months. Whether you head to the beach, the mountains or an amusement park, there’s one thing you’ll likely do regardless of where you are. What are we talking about? Buying souvenirs, of course!

For example, if you’ve ever visited the ocean and spent time on the beach, you probably wanted to remember that time when you return home. So you might have gone to a souvenir shop to buy a small token or two to take home to help you remember the time you spent on the beach.

You may have purchased a seashell or a sand dollar. Perhaps you bought 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.

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

A souvenir is valued not for the item itself but for the memories associated 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 souvenir 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.

Some common types of souvenirs include the following: clothing (especially t-shirts and hats), postcards, key chains, refrigerator magnets, stickers, figurines, mugs, plates, spoons and miniature license plates. Some people collect certain types of souvenirs. For example, someone might collect postcards from all the places they visit. They might display all the postcards at their home in frames or a special book.

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