My nephew just turned one. What should I buy him that's cool and costs ~$150?
June 26, 2009 9:39 AM   Subscribe

My nephew just turned 1. I only have $150 but I want to get him something cool that he'll appreciate in the future.

My nephew who lives in a different state just turned 1. I want to start being the super cool uncle early and get him a gift that is unique and something that he won't necessarily just throw out once he grows out of it.

I've seen this post, which had some really great ideas. However, they all seem a bit beyond my (small) budget and a lot of the ideas that people shot out I want to save for later years (namely the Port and the museum membership suggestions).

Ideally, I'm looking for a gift that he'll be able to hold on to for a few years. Maybe something he'll want to bring to a show-and-tell or something that will be much more appreciated post high school graduation?

I kind of like the idea of a framed stock, but I can't really think of a cool company to "invest" in. I was also thinking of registering [his name].com -- because I'm geeky like that -- but it's already taken.

So, mefites, can you help me think of a unique gift that can be appreciated in the future and that costs ~$150?
posted by carpyful to Shopping (20 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Is Apple a cool enough company to invest in?
What about some records and a turntable, or a mix-tape and a boom box?
posted by dolface at 9:45 AM on June 26, 2009

Best answer: I know this doesnt really answer your question, but a contribution to a college savings fund = best gift ever - definitely appreciated post high-school graduation.

Alternatively - (and I dont know if its possible) buy a US treasury note that matures in 18 years and frame that?
posted by darsh at 9:47 AM on June 26, 2009

Maybe something cool that can be displayed in his room now, and taken for show-and-tell or learned about when he's older? I'm thinking something like a geode or another neat looking type of rock or fossil of some sort.
posted by LolaGeek at 9:48 AM on June 26, 2009

I should have checked before hitting post. You can indeed buy paper savings bonds - instructions on the Treasury website
posted by darsh at 9:49 AM on June 26, 2009

The stock markets are still on sale. Instead of buying into one company, you could put it into a mutual fund.
posted by Houstonian at 10:03 AM on June 26, 2009

When I was 5 my grandfather gave me a bottle of cognac to be stored and used to celebrate my graduation. That was nice.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:27 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

The son of a close friend of mine just turned one this spring and I was looking to do something similar.

I ended up getting him a framed nature photo of his father's home state. The location is something they could easily go hiking to when he is older and it is a picture that his parents can enjoy elsewhere in the house until the point that they want to hang it in his room.

Plus, I supported my sister who is the photographer. :)
posted by chiefthe at 10:29 AM on June 26, 2009

I still have the teddy bear my uncle gave me for my first birthday. You don't need to spend hundreds of dollars to impress a baby. Give him something well-made, like a handmade wooden car or a special stuffed animal he will love for years. Record your voice reading him stories, make him a book of stories or photos illustrating letters of the alphabet or whatever. He might appreciate a framed stock certificate in 20 years, but why not give him something he'll love now?
posted by judith at 10:30 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

As the father of two, I can tell you that any sort of long term investment in my child's future, be it a savings bond, stock purchase, or any other sort of paper security, is always appreciated and very cool in my book. As my brother likes to say, "Nothing says 'loving' like something that folds."

Of course, the flip side to this is that, as a kid, I couldn't care less about those things.

There are other, tangible things a person could invest in that will be much cooler to him as he gets older, although they won't be worth as much and he may never want to convert them to something he can spend. These include rare coins (such as a set of uncirculated proofs from the year he was born), or some other object of value.

For example, I live in the SF Bay Area, and when I was a kid an uncle once gave me a rivet from the Golden Gate Bridge, though I have no idea how he received it. The rivet was chromed gold at some point prior to giving it to me, and looks sort of like a 4" golden mushroom, only heavier. I'm now in my 40's and I still have that rivet, and it's still pretty damn cool. So perhaps some physical memento of the place of his birth might also work, if his locale is conducive to such a gift.
posted by mosk at 10:38 AM on June 26, 2009

Best answer: A savings bond may not have much use to a one-year old now, but when he's old enough to appreciate the fact that you gave him a gift, it will have more tangible value than it does now (as opposed to something that will have sentimental, but not tangible value as he gets older.)
posted by andrewraff at 10:45 AM on June 26, 2009

Great ideas but also get him something he can appreciate now.
posted by JJ86 at 10:52 AM on June 26, 2009

I think $100 is a lot to spend on a one year old.

For my daughter's second birthday, I asked everyone to bring a picture of an animal instead of a conventional gift. I brought an album to the party, and put everyone's animal pictures - some were cut from magazines, some were photos of pets, some were hand drawn - into the book.

She still looks through that album with fondness four years later, and I promise you, there are almost no other gifts from that long ago that have any meaning for her or for me now.

I bet you can think of something that will have a lot of real resonance for him now and in the future that costs little or nothing.
posted by serazin at 11:00 AM on June 26, 2009

When I wanted to do this, I bought my neice a Steiff birthday bear
posted by rhizome at 11:08 AM on June 26, 2009

What about a compromise? Put $100 in some sort of bond in a frame, but also get a well-made toy for the other $50. Something for now, something for later, and if you intend to continue this trend of gift-giving, maybe you could give the toy some sort of theme so you can continue it in later years (wooden toy car, then in a few years a remote control car, then in a decade or so maybe a real car). My boyfriend has given his niece a pair of boots on her birthday every year since she was born, and she loves them.
posted by Night_owl at 11:16 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A colourful encyclopedia of animals!

We had a few in our family when I was growing up and I kept going back to them (Lizard phase, whale phase, bird phase…) and it led to other interests, like trying to draw and learning English to write the illustrators of one of them (One sent me a handdrawn turtle that i swear looks like a photo).

And as long as you're too young to actually do anything with it, pointing at pretty pictures and igrnoring the info you don't have use for might be entertaining.

That's what I tell myself having given my god-daughter a big-ass atlas with airbrushed pictures.
posted by monocultured at 12:53 PM on June 26, 2009

Maybe call a pet store, animal shelter, or (cheaper) someone on Craigslist, etc looking to get rid of some newly born litter in that state, and ask if they will deliver. With parents permission of course since there would be maintenance involved. A kitty or pup should provide a friend and amusement for many years though.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 12:58 PM on June 26, 2009

How about a book collection to get him started on a lifetime of reading? You could get all the books you enjoyed as a kid and a teenager.... so he will have books until he reaches adulthood ....
posted by bananafish at 3:25 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: buy stock for his college education. when he turns three, buy him lunchables. seriously.
posted by thinkingwoman at 3:26 PM on June 26, 2009

Best answer: Bravo for being the cool uncle! But all of your requirements are contradictory: no kid wants to bring a framed stock certificate to show-and-tell, believe me. And 1-year-olds only appreciate two things: boobs.

Speaking as the semi-cool uncle (and a dad), I say go with something cheap the kiddo will like now, e.g., a stuffed animal (kids will love on these for years and years). And spend the rest on something that lasts -- you can set up a 529 plan for your nephew yourself, and dump money into it whenever you want. With stocks so low-ish, it's a great time to start, and if the kid's parents haven't done it already, you'll be doing them a huge favor. Many parents don't think about saving for college until it's too late.
posted by turducken at 4:16 PM on June 26, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for all the advice, everyone!

I initially was leaning away from savings bonds / college funds just because $100 seems like a drop in the bucket for what's actually needed and there wasn't anything tangible that he'd have. I suppose I can forgo those misgivings and add to his savings.

Along with that, I'm leaning towards buying him some books. I think having some nice colorful books like some of you suggested will be good -- and if he ends up really liking one of them it'll be a potential show and tell gift / good memory.
posted by carpyful at 8:55 PM on June 27, 2009

« Older Shriek/grunt/growl-free metal?   |   Trigonometry/Woodworking filter: Need to get... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.