Careless Whispers
December 18, 2012 4:09 PM   Subscribe

[GiftFilter] I need a gift for my brother. Difficulty: Estranged siblings who talk 4 times a year at best.

My brother (27) and I are "distant". There was no fallout or big fight, we just "went seperate ways" a few years ago. We meet about 4 times a year (Easter, Christmas, parents' birthdays) and pretend to get along perfectly for the sake of our parents. That is also the reason I need a gift - to keep up appearances.
In the past years, I tried to pick gifts he really likes, but I'm out of ideas. His gifts for me, if he remembers my birthday, are in the "picked this up on the gas station" category, so I frankly don't care about the "liking it" factor anymore. I just need something that looks like I mean well, if in reality, I have no clue. A "non-offensive" gift.

Some pointers:

- I bought him Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition for his birthday 3 weeks ago. He used to love the game. He still hasn't downloaded it, so I guess PC games are no option.
- He used to play tabletop games (Warhammer 40K). Gifts relating to it (models, books) went ignored/untouched.
- I think he goes to industrial clubs, but I don't know what music exactly. So no CDs/music.
- His clothing style is dark/goth (?). Accessories are an option, actual clothes aren't (don't know his size).
- He likes Tolkien in general, Game of Thrones, has already seen The Hobbit and owns all books. Fantasy books are an option.

Most importantly: Under 30$, available on Amazon.
posted by MinusCelsius to Grab Bag (22 answers total)
If it was me, it'd be socks and chocolates. Looks like you're trying, takes no real effort, is a stereotypical "present", he'll use/eat or regift it.
posted by thylacinthine at 4:11 PM on December 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

Amazon gift card for $25.
posted by jacalata at 4:12 PM on December 18, 2012 [9 favorites]

A winter hat (+gloves/scarf?) in broadly the right aesthetic?
Nice coffee/alcohol?
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:13 PM on December 18, 2012

Does he drink alcohol? In which case, would there be some booze or booze accessories he might like? (e.g., a sample pack of craft beers, a set of beer mugs, etc.)
posted by scody at 4:14 PM on December 18, 2012

If you're okay with a fantasy book he might not know and could find himself unexpectedly loving the snot out of, you can't do much better than Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy. The first book stands on its own, and is available at all major bookstores I've been to.
posted by dubadubowbow at 4:16 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Gift card, either to Amazon or just a regular Visa/whatever, in a funny card. If that's not enough effort for your parents, why not just ask him what he wants?
posted by sm1tten at 4:25 PM on December 18, 2012

He drinks and smokes, but it's the refined taste of a guy who lives with his parents at age 27 (quantity over quality, straight from the bottle). Our parents are no fans of neither habit.

Things/books he might actually like are fine. I'm not trying to intentionally give him something he hates.

"Why not ask him" - Because he doesn't reply to my e-mails/calls. Yeah, we're THAT distant. We pretend to not exist outside the 4 occasions we meet.
posted by MinusCelsius at 4:26 PM on December 18, 2012

Hm. Yeah, if a gift card seems too impersonal (although I love gift cards; I get to buy what I want) then a bottle of his favorite booze or a carton of cigs will suffice. You can deliver these with a toothy grin and make some dark joke like, "Celebrate by shortening your life span!"

(I drink and smoke. Send me these things as well, please.)
posted by Skot at 4:31 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is a textbook case for an Amazon gift card.
posted by something something at 4:32 PM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

Amazon gift card attached to some kind of edible holiday treat.
posted by insectosaurus at 4:40 PM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'd go with edibles (fruit basket, chocolate, fancy coffee etc.) or a gift card over more stuff.... he can always share the goodies with your parents. Or what the heck: a donation to charity in his name --- if he can't even be bothered to respond to your emails, the heck with knocking yourself out to please him.
posted by easily confused at 5:02 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

A scarf from a chain store with a gift receipt.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:25 PM on December 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

Does he like to travel with a lot of gadgets? How about a Grid It? (note: not all colors are eligible for free shipping).
posted by invisible ink at 5:44 PM on December 18, 2012

Best would be get him a mall gift card. Then he can get whatever he likes.
posted by ila_rakhi at 6:14 PM on December 18, 2012

Flannel sheets -- not sure they can meet your price range.

Gadget stuff collection -- like the little shelf you can put your phone on while charging it right next to the outlet, cord keepers, Bondi - the flexible cell phone holder. Depending on his phone, a case that also acts as a back up battery (that one is about $35).
posted by vitabellosi at 6:19 PM on December 18, 2012

Magnetic putty is kind of awesome no matter who you are. The color-changing stuff looks cool too. But seriously, magnetic putty. When you put the magnet on the putty, the putty oozes up and engulfs it. It is very very cool.
posted by selfmedicating at 6:29 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's hard to get a gift for someone you're close to in their field of interest. If they're really into it, they've already got the obvious stuff and you don't know about the esoteric stuff. If they're mildly into it, then they like the thing itself but not books about it or food in the shape of it. With someone you're not close to, you're just not going to get it right. So why try so hard when you know it won't be appreciated. I am not a fan of gift cards but this year even my own offspring are getting them in their stockings (albeit to local joints, not Amazon).
posted by headnsouth at 6:37 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

You know what I could always use more of and resent spending money on? Belts. I think I'm probably not the only one.
posted by nelljie at 6:47 PM on December 18, 2012

Fudge. (maybe i'm just piggish. I crave fudge this time of year.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:24 PM on December 18, 2012

Well since his gift go-to is the gas station, might it be apropos to get him a gas (gift) card? That is what I am doing for my brother with whom I have basically the same relationship with. I know gift cards are impersonal but it's just so damn practical (assuming he drives). Gas is something that anyone who drives has to pay for and everyone hates to pay for. You come across a gift card in your wallet one day on an empty tank and it's literally a free ride--pretty sweet.
posted by lovableiago at 7:41 PM on December 18, 2012

I just got the book dubadubowbow linked to; it looks like I put a lot thought into the gift. Aka "happy parents". Thanks, everyone.
posted by MinusCelsius at 10:37 PM on December 18, 2012

I suggest that since he only speaks to you during these occasions, you use them to store up for future gift giving ideas if possible.
posted by sm1tten at 9:28 AM on December 19, 2012

« Older Anon postings free speech?   |   My mean-ass toddler Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.