Souvenirs are the worst reminder of the country you visited! My reasoning is simple, why waste time (and money) on buying cheaply made souvenirs when you can be exploring the city? Do not get me wrong, if you are buying local-made honey, beer, wine, things which you can actually enjoy, then, I understand.
But I am talking about the fridge magnets and little teaspoons which are, well useless (if you are a collector, sorry).
Even if you do not realise, souvenir shopping can take a lot of your limited time. What a waste of time! Traveling is an experience. People tend to forget that when you travel it is about seeing something new, a different world, something which you would not have experienced if you stayed at home. It is something you share with the people you are traveling with and the locals you meet in the place you visit.
Share the experiences with your loved ones at home through storytelling and photos and not with a €1 Eiffel Tower keychain you bought (most probably) illegally.
Of course, you will ask – “but my _________ (name of loved one) loves it when I buy them a souvenir?” If someone means so much to you, do the effort and get them something which is meaningful for them or find a postcard where you can write something meaningful. Words can explain why you thought about them.
When you are on a holiday do not waste time in overcrowded souvenir shops (usually managed by other foreigners to that country), spend time exploring the place and getting lost. Only buy something local or meaningful to the person you care about! And if friends/family complains that you are selfish for not buying them a souvenir, well it is their problem.
Next time you visit a country skip theses shops, look for a local market and I guarantee that you will enjoy your trip more.