Gifts For Awesome Guy
January 30, 2012 4:25 PM   Subscribe

Last minute gift shopping for a guy who's birthday is this Wednesday. He's a man with many interests such as history, judo, planes, boxing, writing, the military and weapons. He aspires to be a pilot in the army someday and to publish a book.

I'm panicking because I don't know what to get this guy for his birthday this Wednesday. He's working on his pilot's license, has a brown belt in judo, and a bachelors' in history. He also love weapons of all kinds and boxing, and he aspires to be a pilot in the military someday. I want to spend $200 on this awesome dude, possibly more if I think it's something he'll really like. Since it's so last minute, I prefer that I could pick it up in person but don't mind shelling out for fast shipping.

One gift he REALLY liked was a leather jacket that was a replica of the one that pilots wore in WWII because he's into planes and military history. Another was a big colorful book about soldiers who won the Medal of Honor.

Since we don't share many interests, I'm having a difficult time coming up with gifts. I googled "gifts for history buffs" and came across the American History Magazine that he'd like, but that's all I got.

If you are interested in any of these things, what would you like to be gifted? Thank you for your time!
posted by Yasuo to Human Relations (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, this guy sounds like my dad, but younger! National Geographic's shop has lots of great stuff for folks with interests like that--we've had great success with their books and the WWII recreation wool sweater. My dad liked it so much he got one for his dad. Now they wear matching sweaters on a regular basis.

If you don't want to shell out for overnight delivery, you can at least get an idea of the neat sorts of photo essay books that are out there and find one in a nearby bookstore.
posted by chatongriffes at 4:36 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

These are all from an online source, but maybe with the right products in mind you can find something local. Many municipal airports have an FBO (fixed base operator) which include some sort of small pilot shop. The scanner or radio especially might be there. Call around, folks are really friendly in aviation and will help you find a good gift. You may even hook up with his flight instructor if you know where he is training. He'd have a better sense of what equipment needs your friend still has.

Here are a few thoughts, but you can browse this site for other ideas:
Scanner Radio
Spotter Playing Cards
posted by meinvt at 4:41 PM on January 30, 2012

How about some nice Ray Ban sunglasses (Aviator series). Most malls have a Sunglass Hut or something similar.
posted by sandyp at 4:48 PM on January 30, 2012

Get him a remote controlled helicopter.

I got one (wifli) for less than $100 that is controlled via iPhone or Android app and it's pretty sweet.

bladerunner series
posted by jeffmilner at 4:57 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

He sounds a lot like my brother.

One year I got him War by Gwynne Dyer and Stalingrad by Antony Beevor . Despite complaining about me giving him books, he later admitted that he'd enjoyed both of them and War had been read by lots of the guys he was stuck on an army base in the middle of nowhere with.

This year I got him a hunting jacket (there are so many different kinds of camo!) but sounds like your guy's not so into hunting.

He get.s a lot of use of his knife. I don't know what he has but he bought this for me for Christmas. I could find out what he has if you want.

If you get him sunglasses, don't get polarized ones or he won't be able to read his instruments.
posted by carolr at 5:16 PM on January 30, 2012

He sounds exactly like my husband (active duty military, pilot, BIG history buff). +1 on the remote controlled helicopter, the one my guy got for christmas is still being played with a lot.

Also I am pretty fond of giving him wine, a bottle of whisky or nice kona coffee or restaurant gift certificates, stuff like that because then it gets used and I can repeat the idea next holiday. ;) Bookstore gift certificates are good also so that he can pick out some books himself.
posted by lyra4 at 5:35 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

A very nice pair of leather gloves... Check your local Harley dealer.
posted by HuronBob at 5:37 PM on January 30, 2012

Tritium compass.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:01 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you don't mind the "Seinfeld" or "Say Anything" jokes, there's the space pen (also comes in a pricier titanium version)

Also, the National Air & Space Museum has a cool Wright Brothers biplane kite and, per the great recommendations above, a remote control Black Hawk helicopter (among the many aeronautical and historical choices), and they offer overnight FedEx shipping.

Finally, it's not terribly romantic, but given his interests, I bet he'd LOVE The Deadliest Men: The World's Deadliest Combatants Throughout the Ages. Ooh, or on the boxing side, the DVDs of "When We Were Kings" or "Facing Ali."

Happy birthday to your fella!
posted by argonauta at 6:15 PM on January 30, 2012

I come from a family of flyers. I came in to suggest a sweet compass, but it looks like oceanjesse beat me to it.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 5:57 AM on January 31, 2012

How about some time at a local gun range? We have an outdoor one nearby that rents high- powered rifles and AK-47s. My boyfriend loved this.

Also, does he carry a gun? If not, you can get him in a concealed weapons class - those usually include range time (but he won't be able to rent the heavy artillery).
posted by jacindahb at 8:38 AM on January 31, 2012

If you are located in the Southwest US, you can take him for a picnic in an airplane graveyard. I bet he'd love that as an airplane/history buff.
posted by jacindahb at 8:45 AM on January 31, 2012

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