Ho, ho, ho, Merry frickin Xmas!
December 15, 2008 11:20 AM   Subscribe

I need Xmas gift ideas for someone who has everything! Help!

I have searched previous posts, google, everything, and I have no ideas. He said he got me a really cool, kitschy gift (and he usually gets really great stuff for me), and I have no idea what to get him. Commence panic mode...

He makes a lot more money than I do, so he usually just buys whatever he fancies. I'd like to spend $300 or so max. He is a scientist. He likes bugs, SCUBA diving, running, art, books, and is a cook and food snob.

Examples of other gifts I have given in the past:

Nikon Field Microscope

A really cool bonsai tree

Art from The Bungled Jungle

I need ideas for something really cool, unique, off the wall, etc. I don't know why I can't think of anything, but time is running out, so I need help! Online or in stores, and I will be downtown Chicago tomorrow, so I will have access to stores there.

Thanks in advance!
posted by bolognius maximus to Shopping (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Make a donation to his favorite charity in his name.
posted by netbros at 11:33 AM on December 15, 2008

You could try to pick out some original art on Etsy for him, maybe? It's a good place to find unique things that he wouldn't have been able to already buy for himself.
posted by booknerd at 11:38 AM on December 15, 2008

Don't have time to link, but what about Thomas Keller's new book on sous vide cooking? There's also A Day in the Life of El Bulli, which is a photographic essay sorta thing. Both are coffee table worthy. Alinea by Grant Achatz is another big food book release this season. Alinea and El Bulli are big in the molecular gastronomy field, so it could be a win-win for your friend.

Unless of course he's got them already.
posted by Atom12 at 11:38 AM on December 15, 2008

I would check out these previous AskMefi threads: 1, 2.

They both had great ideas for wonderful ways of "upgrading" your life, and maybe there are some suggestions in there for ways that you can make his life a little more luxurious. Luxury is a fun gift to receive.
posted by scarykarrey at 11:40 AM on December 15, 2008

If you were my friend, I would LOVE some really swanky nice bed sheets. But, that's me . . . I have $5.00 WalMart sheets on my bed right now and they hurt.
posted by Sassyfras at 11:50 AM on December 15, 2008

I would visit the thinkgeek.com website and look around. If he likes giving kitschy stuff, he probably likes getting it too, and they have kitschy stuff with a science and techie bent.

Or Archie McPhee also has kitschy stuff.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:53 AM on December 15, 2008

I'm back. This time with a sous vide temperature controller for $140.
posted by Atom12 at 11:56 AM on December 15, 2008

I don't know if there's time, but I think the artwork made of his DNA would be cool. Or they have one of your lips.

I second thinkgeek....lots of fun stuff there.
posted by texas_blissful at 12:00 PM on December 15, 2008

Owl puke! Of course it's only $6, but man is it awesome for science lovers. SkullsUnlimited has lots of cool skeletons available for purchase, perhaps your friend would enjoy a bag of bones?
posted by idiotfactory at 12:07 PM on December 15, 2008

These are all really great ideas! Thanks, and keep them coming! Sassyfras, your comment made me laugh.
posted by bolognius maximus at 12:27 PM on December 15, 2008

This is way less than $300 but is gorgeous. I got one for my rich-friend-who-has-everything a few years back and he said it was his favorite gift that year.
posted by 8dot3 at 12:58 PM on December 15, 2008

$300 can buy a really nice cooking pot (I love All-Clad stainless or copper core; their wok is awesome and he might not have a really good wok yet). Or you could go to a food store that carries specialty items and get a bunch of treats (think Trader Joe's) or a bunch of unusual ingredients like citrus oils, marzipan, balsamic vinegar, etc.

The gift that always gets the most appreciation from friends in cold climates (I assume your buddy is somewhere near Chicago too) is a mattress warmer. Same idea as an electric blanket, except it's a mattress pad that goes under the sheets instead of over you. It's not kitschy but boy is it nice to climb into a toasty warm bed on a winter night. I still get thanks from people to whom I gave one nearly 10 years ago!
posted by Quietgal at 12:59 PM on December 15, 2008

These unusual Armenian preserves are amaaaaaaazzzing, especially the fresh walnut, which is baby walnuts preserved in syrup--you eat the shell and everything. This review gives suggested cheese pairings.
posted by HotToddy at 1:35 PM on December 15, 2008

If he really spends a lot of time in the water how about a SeaScooter? This one is just over your budget, but there are various models available.

Of course I have to recommend thinkgeek as well!
posted by CoralAmber at 2:22 PM on December 15, 2008

Oh, I just remembered this fun book The Hungry Scientist Handbook: Electric Birthday Cakes, Edible Origami, and Other DIY Projects for Techies, Tinkerers, and Foodies. I've seen it at some bookstores, so you could do an inventory search for whichever one is closest to you.
posted by CoralAmber at 2:27 PM on December 15, 2008

This is $400 but Time and Oprah both said this is a great DNA testing kit. Maybe too weird.
posted by barnone at 4:09 PM on December 15, 2008

Good sized ecosphere. Super cool on a desk. Lots of other places carry them too.
posted by barnone at 4:12 PM on December 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

Two ideas:
- A mechanized bug from Mike Libby's Insect Lab. $300 will get you a bee or a ladybug. I have a dragonfly. Way cool.
- A constellation globe.
posted by cocoagirl at 6:32 PM on December 15, 2008

Adopt a lobster trap or an olive tree. You can see the specifics on my blog entry regarding gifts of consumables.
posted by jeri at 8:59 PM on December 15, 2008

Thanks much, everyone! Time to decide...
posted by bolognius maximus at 6:02 PM on December 16, 2008

ThinkGeek is good.

As he's a runner, a Garmin Forerunner 305/205 is awesome and would be well loved. Available both online and in store
posted by Flashduck at 1:01 AM on December 18, 2008

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