Thank you gift for flying 3000 miles for my dumb birthday party?
October 18, 2010 8:13 PM   Subscribe

My friends flew 3000 miles to Seattle as a surprise for my 40th birthday party, and I just don't know how to thank them for what it meant to me! Friends: married couple, and the wife's sister (who I've known since she was like 10 and is now 35). They are super-cool and very not-poor and live in Brooklyn and don't need for anything, and I have no clue what I could do/give to express my thanks.

So my friends Christine (best friend in HS, known since 1985), her husband Jonathan (known since about 1991) and her sister Liz (known also since 1985) surprised me by showing up in Seattle from NYC the day before my 40th birthday party. I was blown AWAY and couldn't believe what they had done. They left 2 kids under 5 at home with Grandma, for god's sake!

I was completely shocked and am, even 4 months later, so incredibly grateful. It made my birthday really, really special and I am stunned by their generosity of spirit, time and money.


They are very cool (he is a relatively famous musician, she's a TV producer and Liz is a graphic designer for a publishing co.), they don't need any "things" and are really just awesome and hard to buy for.

I need something to thank them and let them know how much it meant to me that they came. There are no pix of the event worth duplicating, I thought of that. :) I am very open to any and all ideas.

I know this is kind of like "Hey, guess about my friends!!" but I am so at a loss as to a nice gift/gesture that wouldn't just be dumb and boring like flowers or cards or whatever.....

Thank you in advance!
posted by tristeza to Society & Culture (16 answers total)
Seems like they're awesome people with a sense of humor. How about a singing telegram expressing your love for them?
posted by phunniemee at 8:18 PM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

oooh, good one. see? just why i come to askme!!
posted by tristeza at 8:21 PM on October 18, 2010

A gourmet subscription -- Harry and David fruit box of the month, wine of the month, chocolate of the month -- they get a year of thanks, with no things left over
posted by freshwater at 8:21 PM on October 18, 2010

Sometimes a letter or card telling them how you feel is the best thank you gift - especially in this day and age where most of the mail you get is junk or bills; a personal note of thanks and love can be a treasure.
posted by julen at 8:41 PM on October 18, 2010 [4 favorites]

A heartfelt card with a page-or-two handwritten note is totally not dumb or boring at all. Not a cheesy Hallmark card where you've just written "Thanks!" and sign it, but a real letter.

In some ways I bet they'd feel really weird if you gave them anything more in return--they came for you to celebrate your birthday, and getting a present from you for going to your birthday party would seem inappropriate somehow.
posted by that girl at 8:48 PM on October 18, 2010

A heartfelt letter of thanks is perfect for this sort of thing. They can keep it in a drawer and cherish it for a long time without it taking up too much space or countertop, and it actually means something individual instead of something mass-produced and sent as a gift.

However, there are a lot of artisans in Seattle. What did you guys do for your birthday? Did you go somewhere fun or eat something special? Maybe you could get a little illustration made of something shared from the occasion, frame it, and send it to them? I don't know about these guys, but I love drawings and paintings of food, and buildings. Keep it small and simple. Send it along with a letter.
posted by Mizu at 8:59 PM on October 18, 2010

In some ways I bet they'd feel really weird if you gave them anything more in return--they came for you to celebrate your birthday, and getting a present from you for going to your birthday party would seem inappropriate somehow.

I think that's a really good point i hadn't fully considered - thanks!
posted by tristeza at 9:03 PM on October 18, 2010

Go get some nice, thick paper from a good stationers. Write them each an individual letter telling them in detail how much they mean to you, how much you appreciate their friendship, and how much it meant that they would take the time out of their busy lives to come celebrate with you.

Mail each letter individually.

There is nothing as nice as getting a good, long, personal letter that lets you know that somebody you care about loves you just as much.
posted by TooFewShoes at 9:08 PM on October 18, 2010

Can you put whatever you would have spent on a gift towards travelling to see them in the near future? Or find something fun to do in the middle, and plan towards that? I'm thinking of the annual music festival near me that friends from all over come to every year; maybe not your thing, but still a fun thing to look forward to experiencing with loved ones you don't get to see that often.
posted by stellaluna at 9:38 PM on October 18, 2010

While I'm thinking of it, some of the best gifts I've received have been older or first edition books with a heartfelt inscription on the flyleaf. Extra bonus points if the book is something you know they would just LOVE. If you're in Seattle, could you make a trip to Powell's to look for something?
posted by stellaluna at 9:41 PM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Agree, write a letter, and be done with it. By graciously receiving their generosity you've already made them happy and returned the gift.
posted by PercussivePaul at 9:42 PM on October 18, 2010

Did you take any good photos while they were there? Print one out and frame it.
posted by kjs4 at 11:07 PM on October 18, 2010

Nth-ing a nicely-written letter that openly tells them how much it meant to you to have them. It comes across really clearly in your post, so just do that again only on paper and by hand :-)
posted by StephenF at 3:04 AM on October 19, 2010

I came to look at this question because I was convinced that it must have been about my college roommate's parents, who used to live in Seattle, now live in Brooklyn, and bought my ticket from Pakistan so I could attend aforementioned roommate's wedding. But I guess people from Brooklyn+Seattle are just super cool. :)

What I did in that case was bring presents from Pakistan. But I really think that a note, or a letter is the way to go. Make it as sentimental or unsentimental as you feel appropriate.
posted by bardophile at 7:57 AM on October 19, 2010

If you don't have good photos, could you have a local artist do a sketch of the four of you, and use that as a card or small framed memento? That and a heartfelt note will probably be cherished.
posted by cyndigo at 9:29 AM on October 19, 2010

Thanks to all, but I think the letters is the way to go - I really appreciate your input and ideas!
posted by tristeza at 11:25 AM on October 19, 2010

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