We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
September 21, 2009 10:09 AM   Subscribe

Help me keep a friend's spirits up during October!

My very best friend in the world has to work every day of next month at her already soul-crushing job. I'll be sending her some mail throughout the month and other little things like that, but I want to think of one special little thing I can do for her for each of the five weekends she'll have to work while the rest of our group is off enjoying all the fall activities there are to be had.

Ideas so far are hand delivering a cupcake one day, showing up to take her to lunch, sending fake flowers (or real), or leaving something for her at her house for her after a long weekend work day. The only caveat is that she works in a heavily secured building, so I won't be able to get access to her desk without her knowing it. Potential inspiration - fall is her very favorite season, and I feel like she'll be missing out on some of the fun, so fall-themed ideas are extra special!

Thanks everyone!
posted by rinosaur to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
How about mailing her handmade "coupons" promising activities you can do later together? As an extra surprise, you can send it to her office to alleviate the security issue. Perhaps a coupon for going out to a movie, dinner out, a walk in the park to admire leaves, etc. That'll give her something fun to look forward to and, as a bonus, she'll get it at work to perk her up a bit.
posted by HeyAllie at 10:21 AM on September 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If she can/does get snail mail at the office, maybe iron fall leaves between two sheets of waxed paper and mail them to her? Everyone loves getting snail mail when it is good stuff.
posted by kellyblah at 10:28 AM on September 21, 2009

Best answer: Get her a pumpkin! (and some candy corn).
posted by pwally at 10:51 AM on September 21, 2009

If I had to work that much, having someone do my laundry or clean my bathroom or cook up some soup would certainly raise my spirits.
posted by Pineapplicious at 11:06 AM on September 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Pack lunches for her, perhaps with fall-oriented ingredients (apples, squash/pumpkin). A pile of you-picked apples at home with a gallon of cider in the fridge would be easy. Can you stockpile movies (DVDs from library or Netflix) for her to watch on evenings when she gets home and just wants to relax?
posted by knile at 11:12 AM on September 21, 2009

Best answer: Book a date for the last day she has to work for the two of you to have a massage or go to a hot tub spot or a spa. Send a calendar with fall pictures on it and a big Sharpie to count off the days until this reward.
posted by xingcat at 11:18 AM on September 21, 2009

Gift certificate for a cleaning service! Someone to do your dishes and laundry and mop the bathroom floor is invaluable.
posted by decathecting at 11:26 AM on September 21, 2009

It might be nice to send a care package filled with treats and things she might want/need at work. Meals and snacks that are fairly healthy and require no refrigeration and little preparation (single-serving cereal boxes, Clif Bars, trail mix or dried fruit, and things like Annie Chun's noodle bowls) would probably be good - when I am busy at work, lunch is often the first thing to go. Tea, if she likes it. Perhaps some lotion and a couple small de-stressy things that she can use at her desk - one of those little rolly foot massagers, an eye pillow, etc.

If there's anywhere near her office where you can sit outside, pack a picnic basket and have lunch outdoors with her. There's really no substitute for getting outside and enjoying the weather. If you do plan on taking her to lunch, I'd recommend scheduling it instead of just showing up - surprises are fun, but they can kind of backfire if it's the middle of a busy day and she just doesn't have time that day.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:32 AM on September 21, 2009

I’ve been working very long hours lately, and here are some things that have helped me:

- My sweet husband has totally picked up the slack around the house, so I don’t have to stress about a messy house or cooking dinner
- He’s taken to making my lunch in the morning, so I can get a few extra minutes of sleep

So if you can do some stuff like that (help relieve any stress outside her job), that’d be cool.

Another thing that has really helped me is making plans for when I’m NOT working. My long hours have mostly been on weeknights, so I find having weekend plans to look forward to helps me get through the week. So, can you plan something for the first weekend that she won’t be working? Maybe a nice get-together where she’ll get to catch up with the friends she’s barely seen for a month. Or a girls’ spa day to help her unwind? Whatever she enjoys...as long as she knows it’s going to happen.

On preview...most of my suggestions have already been stated. So I'll just second them!
posted by yawper at 11:33 AM on September 21, 2009

Nice coffee & wine/beer for the appropriate times are also usually appreciated. (Starbucks gift cards also work.)
posted by knile at 12:08 PM on September 21, 2009

Oh, to have dinner made or the house cleaned for me when I got home would be heavenly.

Maybe take her out for dinner instead of lunch once or twice, or have her favourite take-out sent to her office for her.

If she has time in the evening, maybe take her to a movie, something completely brainless.

Make her a funky lunch, the kind those bento-box moms make for their kids. I still remember the one time my sister-in-law made me lunch, very unexpectedly, the night I had to stay over at my brother's house. It wasn't just the idea of 'I don't have to think about lunch', it was the fact that she put in special stuff that I liked and it was awesome.

If she can receive external e-mails, a few fun e-mails might lift her spirits. I'm not talking your regular joke e-mail forwards, but stuff related to friends you both know, etc. so she doesn't feel out of the loop - feel-good information about a friend's baby, a funny story about a mutual friend, etc., maybe a few in-jokes you both share to lift her spirits. Something personal.

Does she have any pets? Could you walk the dog or play fetch with the cat? Feed the fish? Water the plants?

And definately, definately have a 'Freedom' party when she's finally got a day off!
posted by sandraregina at 12:35 PM on September 21, 2009

Best answer: Plan a nice spa day/day out to enjoy autumnal stuff when she finally has time off to giver her something to look forward to. Don't make it the first day off mind as she'll likely just want to sleep and enjoy the fact she doesn't have to go anywhere - at least that's how it works for me!
posted by koahiatamadl at 12:56 PM on September 21, 2009

Best answer: If she can listen to music at work, make her some mp3 music playlists... maybe she has an ipod and you can give them to her on a little usb drive that she can dump into itunes...? Might be fun to do a new themed playlist every week with all sorts of fun little surprises thrown in to keep her entertained...?
posted by miss lynnster at 7:34 PM on September 21, 2009

« Older What waiting lists should I be on?   |   I want to incorporate...So what's the deal with... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.