Sometimes, love looks like a Cool Whip container filled with leftovers.
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There are few people in this world who inspire the warm fuzzies like our Southern grandmothers. And whether you're visiting from right around the corner or coming from halfway across the country, there's one thing that's always the same: When it's time to leave, they'll send you off with a tight hug, a "come back soon," and a recycled Cool Whip container filled with trifle leftovers from the garden club meeting they hosted yesterday. Here, we've rounded up eight things Southern grandmothers always send you home with.

Grandmother in the garden with vegetables in her hands. Selective focus.
Credit: Milena Khosroshvili

Leftovers, Usually Stored in a Recycled Cool Whip, Sherbet, or Country Crock Container

Whether you've just had Sunday supper with her or you're swinging by on a weeknight for a quick hello, Grammy won't let you leave without leftovers, be they a freezer-friendly container of gumbo, half the pound cake she baked yesterday, or extras of whatever she just found on sale at Piggly Wiggly.

A Little Travel Money

Maybe it's quarters she's scrounged up from the bottom of her handbag ("you might need it for parking!") or a wad of cash wrapped in a tissue and shoved in your pocket (because she thinks directly handing you cold hard cash feels tacky), Bunny won't let you drive away without a little spending money.

Newspaper or Magazine Clippings

She may not be on TikTok or Twitter, but there's nobody more in the know than your Cookie. She reads every national, local, and regional newspaper she can get her hands on and has subscribed to Southern Living since 1966. And if you've expressed even the mildest interest in anything—from birdwatching to the British monarchy, she'll cut out relevant stories and have a stack of clippings on the coffee table for you next time you come by. (Or if you're not in town, she'll mail them. Southern grandmothers love snail mail.)

Samples from the Beauty Counter

Forget Amazon. Southern grandmothers are committed to the in-person shopping experience, and that includes regular outings to the mall. When Mimi goes to the beauty counter to grab another bottle of Elizabeth Arden White Diamonds, a tube of her favorite Chanel lipstick, or her old-faithful Clinique yellow lotion, she'll grab a handful of free samples for you too. How else will you find your own signature shade?

Something from Her Garden

The ultimate green thumb, Gigi always has something sprouting in her backyard plot. And depending on the season, she'll send you home with a grocery bag full of lettuce, blueberries pulled right off the bush, or a vase overflowing with cut roses.

A Recent Thrift Store Find

Tootsie is the queen of the hunt, and she never fails to come back from the thrift store or consignment shop without a few treasures—most of which are for you. "I know you said you like blue and white, so when I saw this vase, I couldn't leave it behind. Isn't it just darling?"

Whatever Book She Just Finished Reading

Sometimes it's hardcore nonfiction, other times it's a Mary Alice Monroe beach read, but if Nan read it and enjoyed it, she wants you to read and enjoy it too. And you'd better call her to chat about that crazy ending when you're through.

A Pep Talk

There's nobody who roots for you like a Southern grandmother. Even if you're feeling negative about your new haircut, down about your dating prospects, or blah about your current job, Honey knows how to make you feel like a million bucks. To her, you're the most beautiful, precious, smart, wonderful human to ever walk this earth, and she'll make sure you know that before you walk out her door.