In search of a thoughtful gift
January 31, 2014 8:40 PM   Subscribe

[Gift Filter] I have been scratching my head for weeks in search of a thoughtful birthday gift for my husband. He is about to turn 29 on Tuesday and I still have not come up with anything.

More about him: He is athletic and loves playing & watching sports. He likes to travel and loves trying new restaurants and cuisines. He dresses well, likes reading the New Yorker, and is not interested in home goods/furnishings.

I have already bought him a portable phone charger as a practical gift since he will be traveling more often in the new year. I would really like to find a gift that is more fun to receive. I have thought about experiential gifts such as cooking classes or event tickets but I could not find anything appealing in Philly. I was also considering some alternative-fitness courses but could only think of rock climbing.

My budget is approximately $100. In previous years I have gotten him gifts such as a nice shaving kit, a fountain pen, cashmere sweaters, ticket to a basketball game, and an iPod. I have also looked through this previous question for inspiration. I am posting anonymously to cover my tracks!
posted by anonymous to Shopping (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
For guys who play sports and are appearance-conscious, I think Patagucci is a pretty reliable gift.
posted by cairdeas at 8:46 PM on January 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Do any particular Philly-area restaurants have some kind of mid-winter celebration meal planned? Depending on price, you could buy seats at several of those. Alternately, some kind of Philly guide. You could also try to buy your husband some kind of food subscription, if there is something he particularly goes for a la Zingerman's Cheese Club. (This is outside the price range, but it is the example I have.)

If he likes the New Yorker for the non-fiction, he might like a subscription to The New York Review of Books or Harper's. If he likes it for the fiction, you might get him a subscription to McSweeney's Quarterly Concern or some other literary review suggested by other MeFites. Indeed, you could probably mix & match a bit and still stay within your budget.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:16 PM on January 31, 2014

Does he like interesting meats? Interesting takes on vegetables? Crazy lunar celebrations? (I haven't been, but I suspect much of Chinatown will have options.) Cocktails and more cocktails? Intro Circus/Aerialist classes?
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:27 PM on January 31, 2014

Tria has classes, could be fun if he likes wine/beer/cheese.
posted by mlle valentine at 9:42 PM on January 31, 2014

(oops, class I linked to is sold out, but I am on their mailing list, so I am pretty sure they will have more!)
posted by mlle valentine at 9:44 PM on January 31, 2014

What about a flight lesson? It's one of the better gifts I've gotten my husband, in his opinion.
posted by Ruki at 9:52 PM on January 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

It's over your budget (for a meal for both of you), but when I was in Philly, I always wanted to try Shola Olunloyo's meals, solely based on the gastronomy experiments he posted on his blog.

Another food/drink idea might be to take a trip to Va La Winery, do a tasting and get yourselves a bottle or two of their wines. It seems to have gotten respect from local foodies and critics alike.
posted by comradechu at 11:30 PM on January 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

How about a portable speaker? The Wirecutter likes the Ultimate Ears Mini-boom.
posted by backwards guitar at 4:48 AM on February 1, 2014

Take him out to dinner! I like Modo Mio on Girard.
posted by WeekendJen at 4:52 AM on February 1, 2014

I got my boyfriend a gift certificate for a Nascar racing session through Rusty Wallace Racing and he loved it.
posted by gt2 at 7:25 AM on February 1, 2014

I am more or less your husband. I'd totally love to get rock climbing lessons. It's one of those things I think about doing but never do.

Also a boxing lesson (or MMA) would be a pretty stellar and I suspect readily available gift.

A massage is a great gift - most of us who are athletic need one at least a few times a year.

If he has a player he particularly loves, you might be able to get an autographed jersey on Ebay for around your budget. Buy only from reputable and highly-rated sellers.

If he shaves, a starter wet shave kit is pretty fun. Alternatively, a gift certificate to get one done is pretty great, particularly before an important meeting.

Finally, there's a ton of kitchen gear you can get in your price range that will allow him to do different things, depending on what you already have. A mandoline, pasta maker, kitchen knife sharpening kit, cast iron skillet, or better coffee kit.
posted by rutabega at 7:36 AM on February 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

I am of your man's ilk. Have you considered a sartorial gift?

My sweetie bought me a gift card with J. Hilburn, which is a clothier service that comes with a personal stylist and a database they put your custom measurements into and then can order you bespoke tailoring for about $110 - $150 for a shirt, in the $200s for trousers, the $600s for sportscoats, etc.

Fair warning: I've gone down the rabbit hole, but it's sort a slow, at your own pace process. Having received a really nice mandarin collar shirt made of the White / Light Blue / Grey Fancy Twill Check material in the summer of 2013 I ordered a pair of solid grey twill wool trousers, and just yesterday, ordered another pair of trousers, this time black charcoal nailhead.

The customization options for the shirts are nothing short of staggering. You can go online and order them yourself or you can make an in-home (or I assume in-office) appointment with a stylist who will help you expand your wardrobe tastefully a piece at a time, and they really are quite lovely. Christine, mine, who is amused and lovely about how I can geek out about sartorial stuff fondly encourages me to explore but will also stop me and tell me I'm going to far when I get too flamboyant for my own good or simply don't have the wardrobe to support it.

I recommend the stylist, who makes commission from sales, but at least mine is not at all pushy and willing to play the long game.
posted by kalessin at 8:56 AM on February 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

Take him to Buddakan or any other restaurant on this list
posted by cynicalidealist at 1:35 PM on February 1, 2014

« Older Want cake right now please.   |   You are not my electrician. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.