Gift for 21 year old guy.
December 27, 2013 9:52 PM   Subscribe

So I have a nephew who is 21 years old that I don't know AT ALL. His mom just married my brother, so he's only been family for a few months. I'm going to see them for Christmas tomorrow and I just realized I don't have a gift. Ideas are needed!

I really don't want to get a gift card--I'd like to get him something with more thought (he said on December 27th), but I don't know him AT ALL and I don't want to pretend like I know what's cool to 21 year-olds.

So, community, any ideas?

Should I just go the Amazon gift card route?

Am I wrong to think that would come off as unthoughtful? Do 21 year-olds care about thoughtfulness or will he appreciate the free money?

Is it unreasonable to, in desperation, ask a large group of strangers to generalize about somebody they've never met?
posted by odragul to Home & Garden (18 answers total)
 
In my experience, people that age are quite happy to get cash/check or a gift card. We just gave my 20 year old niece and similar age god daughter a check for Christmas along with a small stocking/token gift. They were both quite happy with that.
posted by gudrun at 9:57 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can you ask your brother and/or his wife what might work as a good last-minute gift? Failing that, an Amazon gift card is probably fine. It's not as if he doesn't know that the two of you aren't close, so something fairly generic is forgivable. I always like Amazon cards; I'm sure he'll be able to put it to good use.
posted by Scientist at 9:59 PM on December 27, 2013


When I was 21, which wasn't a crazy long time ago, I would have loved an Amazon gift card. (Books! Food! TV shows! Gyoza makers! Doesn't require driving anywhere! It's the best!) I would maybe check in with your brother to be sure there isn't something you're missing, but you could also add a card that says "Welcome to the Odragul family!" and which makes it clear that you're looking forward to getting to know him better in the future.
posted by jetlagaddict at 10:01 PM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


cash
posted by Mr. Papagiorgio at 10:07 PM on December 27, 2013


When I was 21, (actually 18) when I just turned legal, I would have appreciated a six pack of assorted quality beers.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:07 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some 21-year-olds spent the last year in Afghanistan and just got home to see their wives and young children for the first time and some 21-year-olds are hanging out with their high school friends still working at some local cafe, living with their parents, and taking the occasional junior college class, so even the general maturity level varies wildly.

A gift card is a more than adequate present from someone you've never met before, and almost anyone can use it.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:11 PM on December 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think I'd go gift card, but include a really nice note about how you're so happy he's a part of your family and you hope to get to know him better, or something.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:12 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Um, ask his mom?

Or, get a BevMo gift card, and write a note saying, "you seem like a good dude, but honestly, I don't know you all that well. But I do know you're 21, so have fun with this!"
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 10:21 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is it unreasonable to, in desperation, ask a large group of strangers to generalize about somebody they've never met?

Yup. To echo tylerkaraszewski, a lot of 21 year old boys are into sports... but on the other hand, I couldn't have cared less about that when I was 21. A lot of 21 year old boys are into geek stuff, but then a lot aren't. A lot of 21 year olds of either sex are into booze's new legality, but then others are teetotalers, and others (like me) were pretty much only into beer and basically just don't like hard liquor.

It just seems so simple and easy to ask your new sister in law, who presumably really does know her son from Adam's off ox. So why not phone them and do that? And then, if it's possible in the time you have, get him a gift card that's relevant to his stated interests (or just amazon) because odds are not even his mother has a good idea of what stuff he already has.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:30 PM on December 27, 2013


I-tunes gift card? Portable breathalyzer? (Yes, that was a joke). But then again, Amazon has EVERYTHING!
posted by Lylo at 10:37 PM on December 27, 2013


21 y/o male? If you can find it, it's hard to go wrong with Ron Burgundy's Great Odin's Raven Scotchy Scotch Scotch for a gift this December.
posted by eelgrassman at 11:01 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Consider the possibility that if you don't know each other, he might not be expecting a gift from you, and might be embarrassed by one if he hasn't got you anything either. In those circumstances, we usually get a box of chocolates or something else consumable, and keep it in our bag until it becomes clear whether the other person has something for us. If so, then voila, chocolates. If not, yay, we get to eat chocolates later!

(But I recommend you don't get alcohol unless you check with his mother first that he does actually drink. Plenty of 21 year olds don't.)
posted by lollusc at 11:21 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


A lot of 21 year olds of either sex are into booze's new legality, but then others are teetotalers, and others (like me) were pretty much only into beer and basically just don't like hard liquor.

Personally, I would stay away from gifting alcohol in this case. Nine times out of ten it would probably be a good gift, but since you don't know him well you don't know if it's appropriate -- and when booze is not appropriate, it's wildly inappropriate. For all you know, he's in AA or one of his parents is.

If you're thinking about a giftcard -- Amazon is good, a Visa giftcard is even more versatile, and if he lives on his own, something for his local grocery store might be nice.

If you want to stay away from a giftcard -- does he have a car? Nobody turns down a set of cool hubcaps. You can get a set of four from Amazon for *easily* under $100. The only catch is that you need to know his car's wheel size.

A set of earphones are also pretty all-purpose. The ones that everyone seems to be wearing now where I am are those ridiculously big ones, not the ear-buds.
posted by rue72 at 11:27 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Leatherman mulititool.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:52 AM on December 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Some cash and a note that says something along the lines of, "I'm looking forward to having you as part of the family and getting to know you better. Until then, and until I know you well enough to pick out a better gift, you'll have to settle for cash as a gift. Hope it's the right shade of green!"
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:26 AM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Get him one of these knives.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:18 AM on December 28, 2013


Something that was a traditional stocking stuffer in you family, and a note to say "welcome to the family, we always give each other a [giant toblerone/warm socks/flashlight and batteries/tin of spam] so now you're in on the tradition"... Or some such.

Or something small and home made--jam or tin of homemade cookies, especially if they are a family recipe, which could also serve as a welcome. When I was young one thing I missed most was homemade food.

I agree with lollusc... You might want to keep it low key. In this situation I would not be expecting a gift, but would appreciate a small gesture.
posted by chapps at 7:33 AM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


My young people always liked gift cards. Subway, Itunes, Coldstone Creamery (if you have it where you live), Amazon....heck, Walmart. My adult children got walmart gift cards from both grandmothers and were fine with them.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:59 PM on December 28, 2013


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