I REALLY don't want to go the gift card route...
June 23, 2009 7:40 PM   Subscribe

Help me pick an awesome housewarming gift for a first-time homebuyer.

My friend is moving from a studio apartment to a two-bedroom bungalow, and I want to find the perfect present for his new place. I'm looking to spend between $50 and $100.

The recipient is a single guy in his late 20's. He enjoys gardening and cooking (especially BBQing) and he has two dogs whom he loves to spoil. Not much of a drinker. He has very sleek taste and despises anything bohemian/"hippie-ish".

Thanks in advance for any ideas. :)
posted by Girl Scout of Death to Grab Bag (20 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I buy this pitcher as my default housewarming gift. You can never have enough pitchers, especially if you host BBQs. It's a less than you wanted to spend, but you could buy two, or add coasters or glasses.
posted by palliser at 7:49 PM on June 23, 2009

Uncommon Goods (link to "petlovers") has a lot of good ideas in various price ranges. Sort of like a gift card, but not: subscription to a favorite magazine in a gardening and/or cooking theme? If you end up going the gift card route after all, some sort of homemade item like a casserole, cookies, cake, etc with the gift card sometimes makes it more palatable (no pun intended).
posted by cyniczny at 7:58 PM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

My favorite gift is a pickle jar full of nuts, bolts, nails, screws, cup hooks, picture framing stuff, s hooks, washers, tiny screw drivers, and other small things he'll be grateful for when he's fixing something around the house or in the middle of a project.

Another alternate is to find a good nursery nearby that sells somewhat unusual cooking herb/plants - like pineapple thyme or peppermint sage or cuban oregano.
posted by julen at 8:27 PM on June 23, 2009 [4 favorites]

This is more functional than fun, but if you're more the practical sort, do you know any of his plans for the house? Unless it's in perfect shape there will be some painting, hiring the carpet guys, etc.

Right before I closed on a house, my brother gave me a "gift bucket" of painting supplies - rollers, edger, brushes, scrapers, etc. It was like a gift card, in that it kept me from spending cash on tools, while not making any decorating decisions for me, but it was much more fun to unwrap. All together, probably about $80.

Unless he has a great one already, I'd suggest a good cordless drill.
posted by aimedwander at 8:35 PM on June 23, 2009

If he likes his meat cooked to perfection get him an instant read Thermapen.
posted by any major dude at 8:43 PM on June 23, 2009

A decent cordless drill. All new homeowners should receive one.
posted by pompomtom at 8:44 PM on June 23, 2009

We got this multi-position Gorilla ladder, and it's been great.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:24 PM on June 23, 2009

Get him a whole AAA beef tenderloin.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:30 PM on June 23, 2009

Cordless drill is good. Also a gift certificate to the local hardware store. Actually, a how-to book like this would do the trick as well. Knowing how to do little things like replace the flapper in the toilet (ahem) is huge.

The best housewarming gift I received was a Mac airport (wireless device) + a wireless connection to my stereo... including setting the whole thing up for me. That's a bit pricey, though.
posted by kestrel251 at 9:32 PM on June 23, 2009

My friends who own houses say that the Home Depot 1-2-3 books are the best books they've ever read. Depending on how much work you think he'd do himself, maybe throw one of those in with whatever else you might get him.
posted by KateHasQuestions at 9:50 PM on June 23, 2009

A subscription to Angie's List.
posted by ottereroticist at 9:57 PM on June 23, 2009

Someone I know once said his standard housewarming gift was a fire extinguisher and a plunger. Perhaps these things are not needed very often, but when needed, they are VERY needed.
posted by ainsley at 10:45 PM on June 23, 2009

A fruit tree. A cute, little, climate-appropriate one. So many people wait years after buying property before they get around to planting fruit trees and by then you've lost ten years of free fruit. Maybe get something chic like a Meyer lemon, a keffir lime or one of those trendy new apples I've been hearing about. Or something that's a new hybrid for the climate in question - I'm the only person anyone I know knows in my particular chunk of northern CA who's growing blueberries this year and everyone wants to talk about them.
posted by crinklebat at 10:59 PM on June 23, 2009

Does he have a lawnmower? They practically give them away everyday on craigslist.
posted by hypersloth at 1:35 AM on June 24, 2009

What you can do is give a practical physical object (like the tools or a fire extinguisher) and then add something extra (like the Angie's list subscription or a typed list of local resources like police non-emergency line, the 'call before you dig' number, etc.). That way, you're giving a little set of things that go together. If you go for the tools option, I'll add that a 6-in-1 screwdriver is awesome and incredibly useful.

If you end up getting a magazine subscription and live in the western half of the U.S., I've heard a lot of people enjoy Sunset magazine.
posted by belau at 6:17 AM on June 24, 2009

A Le Creuset casserole pot will last longer than their house, but is over your budget.

A house plant is usually an appreciated gift, as is a set of nice coffee mugs and a bag of freshly roasted beans.
posted by furtive at 6:58 AM on June 24, 2009

Home Depot/Lowe's gift card. We moved in three years ago. We're still seriously thrilled to get Home Depot or Lowe's cards. Even if you get him something else as his real gift, feel free to also get even just a $25 card. Anything to offset the cost of stuff light lightbulbs and extension cords and potting soil and other minor things that add up.
posted by desuetude at 7:20 AM on June 24, 2009

Just saw the title, okay, keep the "in addition to his real gift" part of my answer and ignore the rest.
posted by desuetude at 7:21 AM on June 24, 2009

A friend gave me a Swiss army knife when I bought my first place, and I've used it regularly ever since. I know that's a lot cheaper than your budget, but they really come in handy for all sorts of things!
posted by vickyverky at 12:03 PM on June 24, 2009

i say you make them a survival pack. a pack of batteries, a fresh roll of toilet paper, spongers, a flashlight to match the batteries, candles, a lighter, match stick, can opener...think survival. when people first move in, there are so many boxes to go through and finding the important items, such as a can opener when you are making dinner, is ridiculously frustrating. my sister made me a survival pack that had the items i mentioned and i honestly thought it was the best present.
posted by penguingrl at 12:57 PM on June 25, 2009

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