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January 4, 2012 4:00 PM   Subscribe

What should I get a friend as a thank-you present for hosting me during a difficult time in my life?

Health problems and the implosion of a relationship left me near suicidal in the last few weeks of November. One of my closest friends invited me over to visit for a few days, and that visit helped me clear my head a little. I've already written a heartfelt letter about what the time meant for me, but I'd like some kind of material object to mail with it. She's an aesthete with impeccable taste in everything and her interests include science and photography. Suggestions?
posted by apophenia to Shopping (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What is your budget? And does she do anything involving science and photography - star-gazing, fossil-collecting, taking photos - so you could get her something to support those hobbies, or is she more passively interested (i.e. will read any book on X subject, etc)?
posted by AthenaPolias at 4:03 PM on January 4, 2012

Amazon gift card for an amount you're comfortable with, if you must. I personally would be satisfied with a sincere letter. The written word can mean a lot more than a material object. Or, perhaps a picture of the two of you together. That'd be nice too.
posted by bryanthecook at 4:03 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think the heartfelt letter is perfect. Perhaps some really nice flowers or a live plant?
posted by mochapickle at 4:11 PM on January 4, 2012

I've got a budget of about $100. She's studying physics and chemistry and is very knowledgeable in either field.
posted by apophenia at 4:21 PM on January 4, 2012

Tying together the chemistry angle and the photography angle, I'd recommend this gorgeous, amazing book, though it is way under your budget. That plus your heartfelt note and maybe an inscription in the book ("You are elemental to my universe. Thank you.").
posted by dayintoday at 4:27 PM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

Assuming that your stay at her house wasn't what it might have been had your circumstances been better, maybe a date to do something fun together might be in order. I understand that when I'm not at my best, the situation can be taxing for those around me, especially those that are with me in close quarters.

Do you live in the same area for a mutually-relaxing visit?
posted by klausman at 4:30 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Perhaps you can fill up a box with items that are sentimental and comforting. You can include things like a few cd mixes of tracks that you listened to that you helped get through difficult times, chocolate, the book that dayintoday recommended since it's way under your budget anyways, a photo of you two, etc... as a way of letting this friend know how much they mean to you and how thankful you are for what they have done for you.
posted by sincerely-s at 4:38 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Actually, klausman, the stay went surprisingly well. We had a lot of drama-free fun. A mutually-relaxing visit would be an excellent idea, but we live a plane ride apart (which is why I found her hospitality so touching in the first place).
posted by apophenia at 4:39 PM on January 4, 2012

This is a really great book, with beautiful pictures - it explores the intersection of art and science.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:55 PM on January 4, 2012

The books suggested are really beautiful and seem like great gifts. That said, I've done this for a friend in the past and, though I was given a small gift in gratitude, a heartfelt letter like the one you sent would actually have been the response that really made me feel good about what I'd been able to do. If you feel moved to do more for her, a book + thoughtful inscription (as dayintoday suggested) would be a lovely keepsake.
posted by AthenaPolias at 5:00 PM on January 4, 2012

A beautiful of a photo, framed if possible. If you could make it of something that is meaningful to both of you I think that would be great. If not there are some great images out there of depending on the field of science she is interested in that you could get.
posted by wwax at 5:03 PM on January 4, 2012

While suggestions for books and things are nice, they are subjective and assuming (that sounds snobby to say, but I have to admit I have not been a fan of any gifts of this type, especially since the internet is full of imagery and science literature). She likely has something on her wishlist that she could put $100 towards, so like bryanthecook said above, I'd put it in the form of a gift card at somewhere like Amazon that has everything so that she can make her own decision and end up with not only a sentimental letter of gratitude that she will cherish forever, but a material good that she has wanted to spring for.
posted by june made him a gemini at 6:09 PM on January 4, 2012

I like spa and massage gift certificates for this sort of thing; it should be easy to find one near her that will sell you one or take Spafinder. That, or something delicious and elegant to eat (super upscale chocolates, etc.) I personally loathe gifts of "stuff" (books, decorative items) - it's always a waste, no matter how well intentioned. It's just impossible to really predict what things people are going to want to put in their house. It's so personal.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:31 PM on January 4, 2012

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