Gift for couple with everything.
December 20, 2012 1:44 PM   Subscribe

Help me gift the couple who has everything.

My sister and her husband are a stylish fortysomething two-income/no kids couple who shower the rest of us with gifts every year -- crazy inspired things like Jake Shimabukuro-autographed ukuleles, theater tickets for "it" shows moments before everyone in the world wants to see them, fully tailored Star Trek uniforms + VIP convention tickets, that sort of thing. I've put off buying a gift for them this year because nothing can measure up to the titanic coolness of the gifts they give, and I find myself with 8 hours left on my Amazon Prime membership and about $200 to spend between them, though I could go higher for something truly astonishing.

Here's what they like:
--food (eating, not cooking)
--NYC "smart set" pursuits (theater, concerts, galleries)
--over-the-top Halloween decor (their house attracts gawkers statewide)

Past gifts they've enjoyed include an amazing custom mailbox, a tree in an Italian olive grove (they received oil pressed from the fruit of the tree), a pair of realistic life-sized mummy props.

Any ideas?
posted by apparently to Shopping (31 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I went to a Halloween party this year and the people throwing it had a full sized replica skeleton sitting at their piano. All I could think when I saw it was "Why the hell don't I own a full size replica skeleton?"

So, I would get them a full size replica of a human skeleton, if they don't already have one. You could outfit it in a Santa suit or an Italian soccer jersey or something.

A quick Google makes me think they might be out of your price range but I bet you could find a used one somewhere.
posted by bondcliff at 1:53 PM on December 20, 2012 [10 favorites]

Donate enough to the Public theater (maybe $250?) so that they can see the Shakespeare in the Park shows next summer without waiting on line for 10 hours.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:53 PM on December 20, 2012 [12 favorites]

Is it limited to things attainable on Amazon Prime?

Here's some ideas within Prime:
A life sized human skeleton model
Model Human Skull.
1970's and 1980's retro candy boxes

Outside Amazon Prime:
A Field Notes subscription
posted by sawdustbear at 1:57 PM on December 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

OMG please get them a skeleton. That would be by far the coolest gift I could possibly imagine receiving.
posted by two lights above the sea at 2:00 PM on December 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

NYRB Book of the Month Club

Maybe a framed New Yorker cover from the date (nearest to) their wedding anniversary?
posted by mattbucher at 2:02 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Another thing is a museum membership (not on Amazon, but no shipping required)

We get my parents one every year. Most memberships have reciprocal agreements, so when you travel, free entry, and tickets to the cool shows, etc.

A family membership is $200 to the Met and you get previews to special collections, discounts at the gift shop (it's SO freaking cool!), access to the members dining room.

Personally I love an opportunity to feel hoity-toity, and this would do it for me.

The Guggenheim is $125 and has some neat perks.

I'm sure there's a museum they're sympatico with, and a subscription is the perfect size.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:04 PM on December 20, 2012

Lomo camera! Fun!
posted by DarlingBri at 2:09 PM on December 20, 2012

Sock of the month club! Who doesn't want to receive awesome new socks every month?
posted by barnone at 2:13 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd make dinner reservations for them at the hottest of hot new restaurants, along with an arrangement with the restaurant that lets you cover the first x amount of $ toward their meal and provide a homemade gift certificate to memorialize same.

Alternately, one of the best gifts I've ever gotten was a year's worth of flower delivery, one arrangement a month.
posted by bearwife at 2:17 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

The solution for giving gifts to someone who has all the things they want is to give experiences. From your list I'd say reservation at local restaurants of particular excellence, though not one in their regular rotation. Or maybe an overnight at a spa a day's trip away.

You don't say where they are so I can't give any more particulars than that.
posted by Ookseer at 2:35 PM on December 20, 2012

Send them to see Sleep No More.
posted by haplesschild at 2:38 PM on December 20, 2012

Oh, one more thing - the Lego Architecture series has been my go-to gift for friends that are artsy culture types who love nostalgia. They have a bunch of NY landmarks! AND it's an experience gift because...hey, they have to build it.
posted by sawdustbear at 2:49 PM on December 20, 2012 [4 favorites]

Get them a level of membership to BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music)

BAM has a lot of the coolest highbrow theater/music/dance events in NY-- when Pina Bausch comes to NY, they perform at BAM. When Patrick Stewart performs Macbeth, he performs it at BAM. Membership gets you various levels of early access to high-demand tickets, invites to parties, etc.

(Yes, it's in Brooklyn and I'm imagining them as Manhattanites, but it's in an easily-accessible part of Brooklyn)
posted by pocketfullofrye at 2:55 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

For local skeletal stuff, something from the Evolution Store, perhaps. They have animal skeletons, too!

A museum membership sounds great -- consider also a membership to the Park Ave Armory (they've had some excellent programming in the last year with Tom Sachs, a Murder of Crows, etc.), the New Museum, the MTA Museum, or St Ann's Warehouse (especially because Roadkill looks like it's going to be a very hot ticket next year).

I'm also a BAM member, I live in Manhattan, and I love it. It is very easy to get there. Got to see Einstein on the Beach (!!) and Tanztheater Wuppertal (Pina Bausch) this past season. This would be a great gift.

We also own basically the entire Lego Architecture series, which is also a great idea, as long as it fits with their home decor style and they have somewhere to display the finished pieces.

I also love Sleep No More but you'd have to make a judgment call on how much they would like a wordless, immersive, promenade (standing/walking/no sitting) dance-based performance loosely based upon Macbeth and Hitchcock film noir movies. I love it, but the show is not for everyone.

If they haven't gone yet, you could arrange for VIP access (skip the line, complimentary coat check) and a reserved table and bottle of champagne to be waiting for them at the Manderley (make sure they get there well before the last entry time as the staff really tries to usher you into the show at 8ish pm).

Side note: if they've seen Sleep No More and enjoyed it, I highly recommend Then She Fell. Immersive but not exploratory/self-directed, but much more intimate than Sleep No More. It is currently sold out, unfortunately.

You could also blow the entire sum on a gift card to Murray's Cheese or some tasting classes there. Or an entire Spanish ham from Despana, preferably with the stand, and a hand-slicing class.

Have they done a a helicopter tour of Manhattan yet? Or a tour with the Levys?
posted by kathryn at 3:21 PM on December 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

In order to get two reserved seats to Shakespeare in the Park, the donation is $400, by the way.
posted by kathryn at 3:32 PM on December 20, 2012

Hah! They sent us to see Sleep No More in its first incarnation in Boston! I wanted to get them Then She Fell tix, but as Kathryn said, sold out and the extended run tickets are not yet available.

And they have, no kidding, FOUR complete skeletons. I wasn't joking when I said these are people who have everything.
posted by apparently at 3:36 PM on December 20, 2012 [13 favorites]

Talk to them tonight. Casually ask what they are doing between now and Christmas. If they are going out to a restaurant, without telling them, call the restaurant and pick up the tab. The restaurant will just charge your card and tell them their money is no good here.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 3:52 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

If they did dig Sleep No More, you might consider something from the gift shop. They have new limited edition prints in your price range.
posted by haplesschild at 3:59 PM on December 20, 2012

Not Another Bill subscription. Cool, independently produced quirky things delivered each month. I'm pretty sure they offer international subscriptions.
posted by mippy at 4:01 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Forgive me for suggesting something not through Amazon, but Powell's does a subscription thingie called Indiespensable that's pretty awesome. 40 bucks per shipment, including shipping, and goes out every six weeks. You get a book and some other things as well. So you could get them five shipments worth.
posted by sciencegeek at 4:01 PM on December 20, 2012 [5 favorites]

kathryn, that Evolution Store link has some really cool stuff! Chicken skeleton with chick.
posted by JujuB at 5:17 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Exotic Fruit of the month club (for 6 months is at your price point).
posted by Margalo Epps at 5:21 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's not prime-able, but his/hers leather masks would be pretty cool. (They're pre-made so you may be able to call and ask for faster shipping.)
posted by tinymegalo at 5:34 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

You could pay for Global Entry if they travel internationally a lot. May not be super gift-able since they have to go sign up themselves. The people I work with who travel a lot say it is totally worth it, though, and it's good for five years.

Sidebar with glance around my studio apartment: Where do you keep four full skeletons?? I mean...I've got plenty in my closet, but at least those don't take up physical space.

If these people have enough space for four skeletons, they must have room for a 6' Sarcophagus . A bit above your price range, but... it's on sale!
posted by keasby at 6:26 PM on December 20, 2012

Nthing Powell's Indiespensable subscription.
posted by Capri at 8:11 PM on December 20, 2012

Love with Food subscription boxes! They've already done their Dec subscription box, but you can start with January and do a whole year for less than your $200. Your money goes toward feeding hungry kids, too (Nov and Dec, they donated to hurricane Sandy relief in NJ and NY).

Plus, they have great gourmet foods in their boxes. Every reviewer I know raves about them.
posted by misha at 9:04 PM on December 20, 2012 [5 favorites]

Who cares about the daily ritual? Get them the awesome Whiskey Advent Calendar -- they can spread it out as long as they want!!

man, I want this thing so bad. but that's out of my self-gratification budget range.
posted by acm at 7:50 AM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Speaking of fruit clubs, Harry & David are a good 6 month option too.
posted by bearwife at 12:04 PM on December 21, 2012

If they don't already have one, would they enjoy a really nice decanter? My go-to.
posted by juliplease at 10:56 PM on December 21, 2012

Cheese or charcuterie of the month subscription! If I had 200$ to spend on all the special people in my life, I'd be gifting either of those to all of them.
posted by takoukla at 11:48 AM on December 22, 2012

Thanks for these amazing suggestions! I ended up going with a year of Love with Food and a membership to the Paley Center for Media. I knew I was never going to be able to surprise them with anything theater-related -- they're just too tuned in to that scene -- but Paley has some really cool film programs (like the opportunity to see all the Oscar-nominated shorts and documentary short subjects in one go) they'll hopefully love.

Anyway, these were great and I'll be mining this list for birthdays and Christmases for years to come.
posted by apparently at 5:01 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

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