What else can I send to my friend besides flowers?
May 17, 2011 8:41 PM   Subscribe

What else can I send to my friend besides flowers?

A good friend of mine is in a Ph.D. program and she has a big scary exam coming up. I was thinking of sending her flowers, but then I got into brainstorming what else I could send. I just want her to know I am thinking of her and wish her good luck, so it doesn't need to be romantic like flowers. I have heard of Pajamagram and Edible Arrangements, but now I am just curious about what else is out there. If it matters, she lives in Chicago.

This isn't a really urgent question, but I am just wondering what other options there are that I haven't heard of before. :)

Thanks in advance!
posted by NHlove to Shopping (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What's your price range?

As far as I'm concerned, the correct answer to "what can I get a PhD student?" is always "a gift certificate for a massage."
posted by enlarged to show texture at 8:52 PM on May 17, 2011 [9 favorites]

I know when I was working on my own degree (and was gearing up for scary exams), one of the best gifts I ever got was a good meal. A close friend of mine ordered from a favorite restaurant of mine and had the food delivered when she knew I would be home studying. It was a much welcomed change from the chips and soda I had been living on whilst pulling all-nighters.
posted by AlliKat75 at 8:53 PM on May 17, 2011 [3 favorites]

Snacks from The Popcorn Factory are always a big hit. Ditto Harry & David.

You could also send her the most delicious pie in the world: Grand Traverse Pie Company's Cherry Crumb Pie.
posted by pupstocks at 8:54 PM on May 17, 2011

Nothing wrong with flowers, you know. Or massages, or those Harry and David pears.
It's really thoughtful of you to think of her, and anything you send will probably be much appreciated.
posted by pickypicky at 9:22 PM on May 17, 2011

When I was about to take my qualifying exams, I wouldn't have wanted anything. At that time, I didn't really want to interact with anyone. I was too focused on the test, and wanted absolutely zero distractions. The time before the exam was my time, a time for zen-like simplicity and singularity of focus. A gift would have seemed like an invitation to a conversation (Thanks for thinking of me; oh, exam prep. is going well; how are you?) that I just wasn't ready to have at that moment, but would have felt guilty putting off. As I type this, I realize that this sounds a little crazy. But qualifying exams can do that to you.

It was after the exam that companionship & care were welcomed. I think that, given the focus I put on the exams, I really appreciated those friends who understood how distracted I was -- who weren't offended when I seemed far-away during our conversations or when I forgot to email/call them back -- and were there for me ready to pick our friendship back up once the exams were over. So maybe a good meal or just a good conversation following the exams might be more appreciated?

Nevertheless, if you really want to do something now, in retrospect, I probably could have used: 1) good ear plugs, 2) quick healthy foodstuffs (I ate terribly during that time. I kept a jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread in my desk -- no time for anything else, or so I thought), or 3) something that took care of some other responsibility that I was shirking (the house, the yard, the... well, everything, I suppose). Send it with a note that says that you're thinking of her, and are looking forward to catching up once the exams are over.

One other thing, I suspect a lot of people will say coffee. But at that time, more coffee was probably the last thing I needed. Being a little less wired would almost certainly have been better.
posted by .kobayashi. at 9:23 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

A lot of florists will also include a stuffed animal for an additional fee -- just in case you didn't know that. A silly little teddy bear can be pretty comforting sometimes.
posted by amtho at 9:24 PM on May 17, 2011

If you don't think she would take it the wrong way, an hour or two from a house cleaning service would probably be pretty great.
posted by monkeys with typewriters at 10:03 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

I second the house cleaning, if you think that'll fly. It would have been AMAZING for me during thesis.
posted by nile_red at 11:16 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

I like the idea of a gift that doesn't require her to do something like make an appointment (for a massage, housecleaning, etc). I know they seem cheesy, but Edible Arrangements can be a big hit. They're fun! And, in a day or two, they are gone. Just get some with fruit to help up her healthy food intake.

Other than that, yeah, Harry & David's.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:20 PM on May 17, 2011

What .kobayashi. said. Healthy and easy to prepare snacks (e.g., nuts), help (laundry?), a note saying "no need to call during this busy time-- just wanted you to know I was thinking of you." Maybe some herbal teas or some nice shampoo or shower gel (during exams, I only really felt like a full human being instead of a disembodied brain when I was in the shower).
posted by salvia at 11:51 PM on May 17, 2011

Edible Arrangement!They are yummy and nice to look at.
posted by SuzySmith at 1:47 AM on May 18, 2011

Nthing something food-related - when I'm in exams and too busy/stressed to even make a decent grocery store trip and I've been eating nothing but junk, there is nothing better than getting surprised with some sort of goody basket of delicious and/or healthy food. Edible Arrangements and Harry & David are both great; I am also a big fan of Zabar's - really pricey, but I would murder someone for their rugelach.
posted by naoko at 2:24 AM on May 18, 2011

dang it, I was gonna say Edible Arrangements, but I've been beat to the punch!
posted by easily confused at 2:52 AM on May 18, 2011

Vermont Teddy Vears are highly customizeable and awesome gifts!
posted by labwench at 4:23 AM on May 18, 2011

Zingermans does several nice gift baskets, with specific educational themes. We got one of their gift boxes as a holiday gift a few years ago, and it was foodie heaven.
posted by librarianamy at 4:48 AM on May 18, 2011

Anything indulgent, like delicious food or a massage, that she wouldn't normally get for herself will likely hit the spot. The point is to send something that tells her: "Hi! I'm thinking of you, and crossing my fingers really tightly. Good luck with your studying, but be sure to take a break to pamper yourself with [gift]." Just make sure that you send a nice note along with it, because the point isn't the gift - it's the thought.
posted by genekelly'srollerskates at 6:00 AM on May 18, 2011

The problem with Edible Arrangements is that you need to eat that fresh fruit pretty quickly - you get a big ass arrangement of fruit on sticks, and you have to eat it and store it quickly. Unless she eats a ton of fruit then it may not be worth it.

What about Foodzie? Artisan food items. It can be pricey, so that might not be the best option, but it's a little different. I would skip Harry and David - I think of that as a business gift or a gift that someone who doesn't know you would give.

Garrett Popcorn is way better than Popcorn Factory - but more expensive, and if she lives in Chicago she could just go buy it, so that might be out.

I like the gift certificate to a food place near her, preferably one that delivers. Or make up a little care package and send it yourself - I think that sounds fun and like a neat break. Some snacks, one of those gel thingies you put on tired eyes, some herbal tea, etc
posted by mrs. taters at 6:19 AM on May 18, 2011

You can call up a florist and ask for a fruit or gift basket to be sent. At my store those start at forty dollars and go up. You can even ask them to put together a goodie basket with treats and such in it (chocolate!!!)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:33 AM on May 18, 2011

Austin and Santa Barbara (the two main cities I've lived in) each have a hot cookie delivery service. Like they deliver cookies that are still warm from the oven, this will always be my choice, always. My cursory google search doesn't come up with one in Chicago but maybe a more thorough search would. If not, hey side business idea!
posted by magnetsphere at 6:38 AM on May 18, 2011

A friend of mine sent me Fairytale brownies once. I felt appropriately indulged and celebrated.
posted by Squeak Attack at 6:58 AM on May 18, 2011

Harry and David is better than Edible Arrangements I think, because the fruit is whole and you don't have to eat it immediately.

And I don't think that's like a business kind of gift, as mrs. taters said. I have a friend whose mother sent these to him during finals in college and it was always much-appreciated.
posted by k8lin at 8:27 AM on May 18, 2011

I've received Edible Arrangements and not much liked them, mainly b/c the fruit tasted kind of odd and chemical-ish to me, like it had been sprayed with a preservative maybe? And then, I had to basically rearrange my refrigerator (even had to remove a half-shelf!) to fit it in. I would not welcome another one while pressed for time.
posted by palliser at 7:10 PM on May 18, 2011

That's so ironic that you said Edible Arrangements becuase I was going to click on this to suggest that to you! If you've never seen them in person, they are more beautiful then flowers. Good luck to your friend!
posted by Sammieboo at 9:54 AM on May 20, 2011

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