Present for one of HM's new subjects?
November 24, 2009 10:09 AM   Subscribe

Appropriate (humorous) gifts for British citizenship ceremony? Help. HiveMind!

My boss is becoming a British citizen soon. I of course don't have to give him/her (just trying to minimise chances he/she'll see this and understand it's about him/her) a present but I'd like to because I quite like him/her. A tongue-in-cheek, just-as-a-token thing, simply because I have reason to believe he/she is doing this not only for practical but also for personal, sentimental reasons.
I thought of the obvious British flag paraphernalia but just wondered if anyone had any bright ideas (e.g. books, objects, etc.)
Any thoughts? All help gratefully received,
(and really sorry for the gender madness there, just did not want to ask this anonymously because, well, the query's nature just didn't seem to warrant it.)
posted by MessageInABottle to Human Relations (34 answers total)
If your boss is / was and American citizen and familiar with American English, there are several humourous translation books about the two Englishes.
posted by WeekendJen at 10:13 AM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Maybe something incredibly British and obscure that only the Britishest Brit who ever Britted would appreciate? As in, "Now that you're British you're in the British club where we British around things like this! "I have no idea what that would be (maybe some kind of food?) but maybe it's a starting point.
posted by amethysts at 10:18 AM on November 24, 2009

Hang a framed picture of the queen on the wall of his/her office
posted by IanMorr at 10:18 AM on November 24, 2009 [4 favorites]

Tea. Marmite. HP sauce. The ingredients for a full English breakfast. An English dictionary, especially if he/she is American. Marmalade. An oak tree. A cookbook of British classics. Some fish and chips. A plastic policeman's hat. Any tourist tat from London. The music of Elgar. Or Vera Lynn. Or the Smiths. A tweed hat. Hunter wellies. National Trust membership for a year. Something from Fortnum and Mason (they do web sales if you're not in London).
posted by dowcrag at 10:23 AM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

Bottle of tikka masala sauce and a free range Tesco's chicken.
posted by sagwalla at 10:32 AM on November 24, 2009

Big hardcover EastEnders/Coronation Street/Hollyoaks companion book?
posted by sueinnyc at 10:34 AM on November 24, 2009

A "The Stig" cardboard cut out for his wall.
posted by SNWidget at 10:39 AM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

Tickets to a cricket game.
posted by zippy at 10:45 AM on November 24, 2009

I heard the author of The Anglo Files: A Field Guide to the British interviewed on the radio a while back and she was pretty funny.
posted by selfmedicating at 10:45 AM on November 24, 2009

Sausage rolls and a can of baked beans,

and a plate to eat them on,

a copy of Hello! or OK magazine,

a packet of chocolate digestives, Dairy Milk or Galaxy,

and a 6 pack of John Smith's,

and their Monday night is sorted.
posted by like_neon at 10:49 AM on November 24, 2009

Another vote for Marmite.
posted by robtoo at 10:59 AM on November 24, 2009

As an American who spent several months in the UK earlier this year (and recall that experience with great fondness), I came away with the impression that pretty much everyone was required to wear a reflective safety vest for at least some part of their job. They seemed to be everywhere. Why an elevator (for example) repairman would need to wear a reflective vest for his indoor work is beyond me, but there you go.

I recommend a reflective safety vest as a gender-neutral, health-and-safety conscious gift to welcome your boss to the UK. To make it more practical, buy one at a bike shop so that it can blend in with the other bike commuters' reflective safety vests.
posted by tss at 11:02 AM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

er, elevator repairman (for example)
posted by tss at 11:02 AM on November 24, 2009

I have derived much amusement and useful information from the book Watching the English. It's worth it for the tips on pub etiquette alone. (There is a queue, but it's invisible!)

Other than that: a shoe care kit or a radio-controlled watch tuned to Greenwich time? It sounds wacky, but one of the first things I noticed when I started working in this country was how much stock the British place in punctuality and a well-polished pair of shoes.
posted by stuck on an island at 11:05 AM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Bird's Trifle Mix and a bottle of Harvey's Bristol Cream.
posted by holgate at 11:26 AM on November 24, 2009

Organize an office performance of "For He Is an Englishman"?
posted by themel at 11:34 AM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]

following on from zippy's cricket match suggestion, how about an incredibly huge, dull and obscure book on the rules of cricket. See here for an example of how obscure it really can be.
posted by derbs at 11:37 AM on November 24, 2009

Put their name down for an allotment and get them a copy of Shed Men.
posted by Abiezer at 12:15 PM on November 24, 2009

Get them a copy of Bill Bryson's "Notes from a Small Island" -- and then while they read the back cover, hit them over the head with a bottle of lager.

Have a celebratory breakfast! Buy a package of Digestive biscuits -- not the good ones with chocolate on them, mind you -- and serve them with room temperature tea and cold, buttered toast. Also, blood pudding. And deep-fried candy bars. And Lyle's Golden Syrup.

If you're handy with the tools, cut down a 2"x4" into a cricket bat-shaped thing. A little sanding, a coat or two of poly sealer, and you'll be all set. (Bonus points for scratching an inked-over message into the surface before sealing it for a neat burned-wood look.)
posted by wenestvedt at 12:46 PM on November 24, 2009

Sex Pistols' "God Save the Queen" in some format or other?
- complemented with Asian Dub Foundation "Real Great Britain"
(maybe burn to CD and mock up a "CD double A side")
posted by runincircles at 12:49 PM on November 24, 2009

Membership in the British Hedgehog Preservation Society ( ).
posted by plep at 12:59 PM on November 24, 2009

How about a "Keep Calm and Carry On" mug?
posted by Parsnip at 12:59 PM on November 24, 2009

A Princess Diana plate. She truly was the people's princess and what better way to be welcomed into the UK than by eating chicken tikka masala off her face.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 1:08 PM on November 24, 2009

What about a copy of George Mikes's How to be an alien... outdated but very chucklesome observations about the English
posted by itsjustanalias at 1:53 PM on November 24, 2009

It's almost about tickets to a pantomine?

I also love this book, Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down; it offers great insight into tea culture. It even includes a section on tea in the workplace.
posted by bibliophibianj at 2:19 PM on November 24, 2009

Can you get a bunch of fridge-magnet letters (or similar), and present them with a selection of additional 'U's, which they will now need.

(I presume one would need to find a shop where you can get the letters individually...)
posted by pompomtom at 2:21 PM on November 24, 2009

Wow. Many of these I had considered/was tinkering with myself but really, truly, Thank You, everyone.

@WeekendJen: I might, but he/she is well beyond that the risk of blowing my "cover", I only was told of his/her ceremony because I noticed a correction in a draft which betraying the "going native" (i.e. someone had written "labor" and it was corrected "labour" - or equivalent). But thank you.
@amethyst: thank you - can't do that joke as I'm not British myself ;-)
@IanMorr: good one, worth a try! Thanks!

@everyone else....thanks. Overwhelming. Just in passing:
@selfmedicating: thanks - it's a funny book, but if you haven't read what StuckOnAnIsland recommends, please do- it's several levels more perceptive and funnier;
@themel: I wish I could, it's _such_ a cool idea; not sure I can;

I can't thank/comment individually - but boys, what a response for my first query here.

FWIW, I had a long and very satisfactory day, with professional and social events going very well- the way you play them in your head when you hope everything's going to be OK. But then I come home and check this post -almost as an afterthought before going to bed- and....
this place wins, hands down - you people made my day.

Well, everyone, thanks again for your time and and your answers and your ideas and your caring about my boss. If I don't do anything else I'll give him/her my present but then also this list (maybe formatted, maybe in British coloUrs...don't know yet) ;-)
posted by MessageInABottle at 3:00 PM on November 24, 2009

This lame photoshop contest is a little funny and on topic, even if it doesn't answer your question specifically.
posted by Rumple at 7:41 PM on November 24, 2009

When I was editing a British mag (as an American) I had Watching the English recommended to me SEVERAL times and it turned out to be the best read of all the related books... ditto the pub etiquette section alone!
posted by at 7:48 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Parsnip: How about a "Keep Calm and Carry On" mug?

Or a "Now Panic and Freak Out" mug.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:08 AM on November 25, 2009

Perhaps a set of naval signaling flags that signal/spell out the famous, "England expects that every man will do his duty.
posted by SNWidget at 9:45 AM on November 25, 2009

My goodness, I am amazed that no one has suggested the most obvious thing of all: a teapot (or set). Perhaps with the Union Jack emblazoned upon it in full glory.
posted by Goofyy at 7:56 AM on November 26, 2009

He's about to become a citizen; he already owns a teapot. It's part of the new citizenship test.
posted by holgate at 5:19 PM on November 26, 2009

A Tardis cookie jar, of course, optionally filled with digestives, to accompany a nice cuppa.
posted by lioness at 5:27 AM on November 27, 2009

« Older Economical Holiday Vacation - With Skiing?   |   Best video rental stores? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.