Help me round out the Christmas offerings.
December 20, 2010 11:08 AM   Subscribe

LastMinuteGiftFilter: Looking for a subscription or experience gift for my boyfriend, ~$40, NOT a magazine.

I came in under budget when shopping for holiday gifts for my boyfriend. I'd like to find him an additional gift that costs about $40, but I want it to be something that isn't just more "stuff" to stick under the Christmas tree. Ideally, I'd like to purchase a gift subscription to a useful web service, or find a neat/affordable "-of-the-month" club.

The boyfriend in question:
- is 31 years old,
- is a mechanical engineer,
- loves cooking, gardening, video games, and home improvement projects,
- has been my main squeeze for a little over two years,
- is already a member of Amazon Prime, Flickr Pro, and Netflix.

Some ideas I've considered, none of which seems quite right:
- one-month subscription to Rouxbe (I've never met anyone who's actually used Rouxbe... is it any good?)
- one-year or two-year membership at Angie's List (seems useful, but not particularly sexy/exciting)
- Savenor's Bacon Society (we're both trying to get in shape, so bacon-related gifts might not be the best idea)

Suggestions for other things/services along these lines would be much appreciated. :)
posted by arianell to Shopping (14 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
What about a gift certificate to something like Blurb which would let him turn pictures from his Flickr account into a book?

I did this for my dad a while ago and it was a good long term project for him.
posted by sciencegeek at 11:14 AM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

$42.95 buys three months of GameFly if you get the 1 Game out at a time subscription. They rent video games like Netflix does movies.
posted by inturnaround at 11:15 AM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

You could buy a few months to Safari Books online. Lots of technical books, available on computer, iphone, ipad, kindle etc etc pretty much any device.
posted by Brent Parker at 11:18 AM on December 20, 2010

Also evernote is 40ish dollars a year and very useful.
posted by Brent Parker at 11:19 AM on December 20, 2010

How about a "Cheese of the month club"?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:22 AM on December 20, 2010

A GC for a massage?
posted by mazienh at 11:23 AM on December 20, 2010

Pandora One is $36 a year.
posted by phoenixy at 11:28 AM on December 20, 2010

$30 or $35 will get you one annual web membership to America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated—a phenomenal resource for home cooks. It is one media company and ATK is their public television show and CI/Cook's Country are their print magazines; one subscription gets you online access to all of it.

Two qualities elevate ATK above other cooking media: one, they specialize in "master recipes" meaning they will test a recipe dozens and dozens of time and make tweaks to get the very best, replicable process for your home kitchen.

The other is that they do not accept any advertising whatsoever. This means that your eyes aren't subject to ugly ads on their site... but also, refreshingly, that they can be (and have always been) completely unbiased in their reviews and recommendations. (Unlike, say, Paula Deen or anyone on the Food Network, with all their endorsements and sponsorships.) ATK does have a few underwriters for their public television show based on FTC rules, but Cook's Illustrated readers know that there are no ads, and that their product reviews pull no punches (they can be brutal!).

In addition to recipes, ATK/CI offers reviews of equipment and ingredients. I will buy anything at all that is the top recommendation of ATK, because they are objective and practical in their reviews. My microplane zester, my stand mixer, my measuring cups, my gravy separator, my silicon implements... I always check with Chris Kimball and his team first.

These are some no-nonsense, efficient New Englanders and they are my go-to in the kitchen every time. As an engineer, I suspect your SO will appreciate the straightforward efficiency of these guys.
posted by pineapple at 11:30 AM on December 20, 2010 [5 favorites]

Would he appreciate a membership to a local museum or theater?
posted by ocherdraco at 11:32 AM on December 20, 2010

Metafilter membership?
posted by jeffamaphone at 11:37 AM on December 20, 2010

arianell: "mechanical engineer ... home improvement projects"

The digital subscription to Make magazine? However, this appears to be an adjunct to the physical magazine. Since you said no magazines, you may not like this idea.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 11:53 AM on December 20, 2010

Word of caution about America's Test Kitchen / Cook's Illustrated -- they do have great content that is worth paying for, but in my experience they also have a nasty habit of sending you and/or charging you stuff that you didn't ask for.
posted by chickenmagazine at 1:19 PM on December 20, 2010

Boudin has a sourdough of the month club.

I did this for my dad a few years back, and he was thrilled. Of course, if you live in San Francisco, it's pretty useless.
posted by novalis_dt at 2:33 PM on December 20, 2010

PS3 player? Playstation Plus. You can get 1yr for $50.
posted by doorsfan at 2:34 PM on December 20, 2010

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