Birthday gifts for a new office drone?
May 22, 2013 9:22 AM   Subscribe

Ack, I need birthday gift ideas for my sister. She's turning 27, working in her first office job, is across the country from me. She loves...uh, organizing and cleaning things? And working out, I think? And...she has a dog and a new house? help

I love my sister! But we don't really have a lot of hobbies or interests in common, so it's hard to know what to get her.

She just got a new job, and while she loves the job I know it's tough for her to be cooped up inside all day (she's coming from years of coaching college rowing). I was thinking of maybe getting her an assortment of desk toys and other stuff. What are the coolest, most useful/interesting/not cheesy or dumb desk toys you know of?

Alternately: She's been doing all this hardcore nesting lately, moving into a house and getting a dog and trying to cook more and setting up a life with her boyfriend. It seems like something she's very focused on lately. What would you have liked at that whole embarking-on-adulthood stage of life? Sort of like what you would give a new college graduate, except she's a few years beyond that.

Requirements: Something I can order and have shipped to her, or possibly something that can be picked up in the DC area, where she is. Budget is $100ish.

This seems terribly vague :( But I know her budget is tight lately and she's a little down overall about things and I want to give her something that makes her feel like she is rocking at life. Thanks, hive mind!!
posted by peachfuzz to Grab Bag (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'd get her a $100 gift card for Target. This way she can pick out cool stuff for her new home.

Desk toys= crap that catches dust.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:27 AM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

I use some nice resistance bands at work to prevent insanity. I'd like to use a portable stepper too but until I get my long-promised corner office that might be too much of a distraction for others. Anything like that is better than desk toys.
posted by headnsouth at 9:29 AM on May 22, 2013

Because " she's a little down" I immediately think spy day or massage!
posted by travelwithcats at 9:29 AM on May 22, 2013

You basically just described me.

How about at gift card? They have SO much stuff for the home and it's all unique and less expensive than the chain stores. I would be so happy to get that :)

Also, I'm in the DC area if you need any help with locations around here. You can inbox me!
posted by whitetigereyes at 9:29 AM on May 22, 2013

Gift certificate to PetSmart. Photo frames for pic of her dog and boyfriend to go on her desk. Gift certificates to cool shops of home goods like Fishes Eddy or similar. Magazine subscriptions to home mags like Sunset etc (for inspiration and ideas). Gift certificates for Lowes or Home Depot. At that age I would have appreciated gift certificates more than my family getting stuff they guessed I might want.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 9:31 AM on May 22, 2013

Maybe some really nice containers for bringing lunch or coffee (or whatever she drinks) to work? I just started working an office job last year and that's what I would have wanted (slash still want!).
posted by MadamM at 9:31 AM on May 22, 2013

If she's one of those people who dotes on her dog you can get her one of those pet box subscriptions.
posted by calistasm at 9:32 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Target has a cute new line of fancy office/paper goods that would be perfect. At my local Tar-jee, they're located near the cards.
posted by jrichards at 9:40 AM on May 22, 2013

Hey! I'm 27 and only within the last year working a real life desk job AND having my own place AND getting a dog. Are you secretly my brother? Probably not.

Here are some major "finally getting settled" purchases I've plunked down for in the last year:

FURNITURE of all types. But things like a real TV and a not-acquired-for-free-from-craigslist couch.

Kitchen appliances: I got a bread maker and a crock pot, and both of those are pretty cool. Especially since they're both things I can start at the beginning of the day, set on a timer, and then come home at the end of the day and have dinner all ready for me to eat.

DOG STUFF. I buy my dog things all the time. He's the biggest expenditure I have outside of life-supporting things like food and rent. I like to go to PetSmart and let him sniff random butts and buy him all the toys. ALL THE TOYS. And treats. Because he's so cute.

Cultural-unique-to-my-city stuff, like a yearly membership to a museum I love, or season tickets to the opera. To better myself.

Maybe that will help you come up with some things to draw from.

I think something like a gift certificate for puppy kindergarten/training classes would be nice, because it's something she and her dog can bond over while getting out of the house and meeting new folks.

Either that or a unique-to-her-city thing, like maybe if she's really into sports, tickets to see her favorite pro team, or a gym membership, or theater tickets or something along those lines.
posted by phunniemee at 9:42 AM on May 22, 2013

I'd get her a $100 gift card for Target. This way she can pick out cool stuff for her new home.

I'd get her a $100 gift card for somewhere nicer than Target. I'm a little older than your sister, but I just finally got my own apartment with no roommates, and it's actually cute, and it's MINE/ALL MINE.

I have Target and Ikea covered. It doesn't feel too hard to spend $4.99 on a kitchen knife or $30 on new sheets.

What I do miss (because I just moved in and need to pretty much Buy All The Things) is the ability to go somewhere a little nicer and buy something just because it's beautiful and I like it, not because if I require this object to accomplish an important household task.


West Elm
Crate & Barrel
CB2 (not sure there is one in the DC area yet)
Williams Sonoma
Pottery Barn
posted by Sara C. at 9:46 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Because " she's a little down" I immediately think spy day or massage!

A spy day sounds intriguing, tell me more!

Gift Cert for Origins, a nice little pocket camera. seems full of all kinds of cool stuff! Too bad you can't get her a gift cert to that but you can point her in their direction.
posted by tilde at 9:51 AM on May 22, 2013

Me: 27, living in DC, new office drone, newlywed, and nesty/domestic type hobbies.

You could suggest they take a cooking class at the Living Social HQ downtown. Here's a sushi rolling and sake tasting class for example.
posted by fontophilic at 10:15 AM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

A spy day sounds intriguing, tell me more!

The Spy Museum IS in DC and is kind of an awesome lift your spirits thing (even though I'm sure that first comment was a typo for spa day). So you could do a spy day. It is really really fun. And I didn't think I would get into it.

However, I second cooking classes. I recently asked a question on DC Cooking classes and was recommended to try Hill's Kitchen.

I got my friends a gift certificate there and they. were. thrilled. THRILLED. Smiles a mile wide.
posted by sweetkid at 10:21 AM on May 22, 2013

I'd consider a subscription to Real Simple.
posted by kat518 at 10:22 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

When I was your sister, I wanted:
nice drill (thath could drill through my brick walls)
decent vaccuum cleaner
nice ass sheets
big pan, medium pot, great knife
hand weights
a bike
adult flatwear that doesn't bend when eating ice cream out of the gallon
electric kettle
expensive shampoo / conditioner thath I would never buy for myself
perfume! all kinds!
a car with an aux jack or at least a cd player (one can dream...)
a blastin window unit air conditioner (if necessary)
posted by WeekendJen at 10:25 AM on May 22, 2013

For nesting: Something from Chantal. Or, if she bakes, a marble pastry board or a pizza stone. Having quality tools got me cooking more and I never really much liked cooking.

For the office: Maybe a book or item (like those resistance bands) that supports exercising in her cubicle or encourages her to take walks. That might help with the "cooped up and going nuts" part.
posted by Michele in California at 10:37 AM on May 22, 2013

A tool box with a selection of the sort of tools you would find handy round the home.
posted by BenPens at 11:25 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

$100 gift card to Container Store. As an organizational freak, it is my mecca.
posted by banannafish at 11:36 AM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Check out the Solutions catalog ... lots of stuff for organizing/cleaning/nesting, both indoors and outdoors.
posted by phoenix_rising at 11:38 AM on May 22, 2013

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