What to get a friend for his 60th birthday...
May 3, 2011 2:14 AM   Subscribe

Help me pick out a $50 birthday present for a 60 year old friend...

I'm (26 years old) flying down to Melbourne in a few weeks for friends 60th birthday. It's my best mates dad and I've only met him once when I went down with my mate last year.

His father is German and I am Czech and we understand each other very well. He said I was cultured and diplomatic when we went down last year and I talk to him regularly on the phone.

He sent me an $90 calligraphy pen for my birthday...

I don't have the first clue what to get him for his birthday, but I know we're going out and I'll end up spending at least $50 on drinks for him but don't know what to get him for a present.

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance
posted by Bacillus to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
Ask your best mate what his father might like, he knows him a lot better than you do.
posted by joannemullen at 2:24 AM on May 3, 2011

Response by poster: My best mate is also clueless. We both don't have a clue.
posted by Bacillus at 2:25 AM on May 3, 2011

Maybe a selection of German foods that he wouldn't normally be able to find easily? If you have a few weeks, then you have time to mail order them.

Or maybe a nice art book.
posted by MexicanYenta at 3:04 AM on May 3, 2011

I'm near that age, so, although I don't have a specific answer, I might be able to help.

Avoid books, unless you KNOW he's an avid reader and you know what he wants. At our age many of us are attempting to unclutter our lives and books just need a place to live.

Do not assume that he's not tech literate. I use, and know more about, technology than our six kids age 24 to 40, they come to us for advice.. so don't rule out something like a $50 iTunes gift certificate (books, movies AND music!).

Avoid nostalgia... Don't buy me a CD of 60's music, I probably already have it and reminding me that I've got a few miles probably isn't going to make me happy.

If I had $50 to go out and blow right now, I would probably buy some odds and ends for fishing, a few hand tied flies perhaps. I could use a new pair of gloves for riding the Harley. I might opt for a decent bottle of wine or a few 6 packs of some very good beer.

I always appreciate a gift certificate to a good restaurant that I might not go to if I have to pay full price.
posted by tomswift at 3:14 AM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

What do you talk about on the phone?

If he likes nostalgia get him a copy of a German film classic like Metropolis, Faust or Fitzcarraldo, or even a voucher to a place in Melbourne where you can rent classics (like Video Dogs on Johnston St)
Every man (and woman) needs a truly spiffing effing hat.
I've previously suggested CAE historical walking tours. Queen Victoria Market does interesting foodie tours incorporating the history of the place too.
You can give me the $50 and I'll give him a lapdance. If you are buying by the kilo it is probably the best value lapdance in Melbourne.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 4:59 AM on May 3, 2011

Definitely Czech, German or European food items that are difficult to preserve or obtain in Australia but will be allowed through customs. Wine and beer leap to mind. Potentially also sausages, but Australian authorities might be strict about food bourne disease, so do a little research on that first.

Also, trust your own taste if he's complimented you on it in the past.

I'd also challenge your assumption that the gift needs to be of equivalent cash value to the pen he gave you. In my view, the calculus of gift giving is not about equivalent monetary value but rather equivalent thought. Cash value is for some a handy shorthand for thought, but especially if you have less "wealth" than this man, I doubt he needs or expects a gift of similar value.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 7:46 AM on May 3, 2011

If he sent you a nice calligraphy pen, perhaps he likes that sort of thing himself. Maybe you could get him some elegant stationary and envelopes? That seems warm and friendly, and a nod to the nice gift he gave you. I think he'll understand that you don't know him or his tastes, and "mirroring" is usually seen positively by humans.
posted by Clotilde at 8:40 AM on May 3, 2011

Does he do calligraphy too? If so, some fine hand made paper. Or, could you use the pen to do a nice calligraphy piece for him?
posted by Corvid at 11:43 AM on May 3, 2011

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