Gift Suggestions
November 2, 2005 11:00 AM   Subscribe

GiftFilter: Help me pick out a gift for my wife for her birthday. She doesn't want jewelry, perfume, stock-options etc. The birthday is coming up in two and a half weeks and if it is something I can get in NYC (or in London - will be there in two weeks) even better. Something unique and thoughtful. All suggestions welcome. Price range $50 - $250.
posted by turbanhead to Grab Bag (12 answers total)
Think back, did she ever mention to you she wanted something, that she didn't yet herself buy? If not, how about a nice, relaxing spa treatment?
posted by Blue Buddha at 11:03 AM on November 2, 2005

What's she like? Or, perhaps more importantly, what kind of things does she like?
posted by LittleMissCranky at 11:20 AM on November 2, 2005

From your list, it sounds as though she doesn't want "stuff" - so think "services."
- An all-day package at a spa (massage, facial,pedicure, manicure, etc).
- Personal Trainer for x amount of time
- Lessons/classes (art, skiing, cooking, etc) or lessons together (dance lessons, diving lessons)
- If she cooks, some really fabulous condiments (a few kinds of special olive oil, truffle oil, saffron, etc - packaged in a great basket/box/storage pieces so they keep)
- A custom-made or handmade piece of art or clothing (if you are positive about her taste - think handspun/woven scarf/shawl, or a print/sculpture from an artist she likes) - and now we've ventured into the realm of "stuff" but it's different stuff.
Have fun with it.
posted by dbmcd at 11:30 AM on November 2, 2005

I second dbmcd's suggestion...just make sure that she won't take a personal trainer or cooking lesson gift too personally...
posted by elquien at 11:35 AM on November 2, 2005

Second (or third) the spa treatment and/or massage. Being pampered is an excellent gift.

I actually like checking out Overstock's World Stock items as they'll have some interesting things. Another good place to consider is the Breast Cancer Site Store, some of the proceeds go to support Breast Cancer research and that's always a good thing. They also have some really nice items.

Last suggestion. I'm not sure where you live but we have places in California called Petrogylph that will let you decorate a fired pottery item, plate, bowl, pitcher, whatever, to however you want it. They make really nice custom gifts too.
posted by fenriq at 11:35 AM on November 2, 2005

I thought of a couple of other things, and wanted to clarify a couple of things:
Clarifications: Elquien's comment is well-taken, I should have been more specific; "cooking lessons" meant something like French, Chinese, or her current favorite cuisine - in other words, something special; and personal trainer was meant for someone who works out regularly, or plans to start soon, a Personal Trainer can be great to get you 'unstuck' in a routine, or to get you started on a new one.
New ideas:
- Sailing lessons (watch out though, I got my husband sailing lessons and the following year 'had' (ha) to get him a boat!), foreign language lessons
- a subscription to a concert (symphony/opera/chamber music) or film series (you'd go with her of course)
-tickets to a great show she'd enjoy, along with dinner reservations
-a weekend in nearby (big assumption) wine country, with tours and a special dinner and some bottles to take home a remember the weekend with.
Where I'm going here is 'experiences' rather than 'stuff' - and some of these can change/enrich her life on a very deep level (my husband was deeply touched by the sailing lessons).
posted by dbmcd at 12:09 PM on November 2, 2005

Not to be snarky, but "unique and thoughtful" to me suggests not Asking Metafilter for ideas. You should come up with something yourself.

Echoing the first comment, think of something your wife pointed out or hinted at sometime in the past six months, and make it happen. One of the best random gifts I gave my wife was a pile of things she had mentioned needing (a vase, a new cordless phone, etc.) but hadn't gotten around to getting herself. Go to it.
posted by werty at 1:50 PM on November 2, 2005

Not to be snarky, but "unique and thoughtful" to me suggests not Asking Metafilter for ideas. You should come up with something yourself.

Nope, definitely snarky.

Seconding dbmcd's suggestions, though. My cardinal rule of gift-giving is to get something that the recipient will enjoy but would never buy herself, and there are a lot more experiences in that category than things.
posted by mendel at 2:09 PM on November 2, 2005

Flying lessons.
posted by blag at 3:10 PM on November 2, 2005

Get an Alessi catalogue. Pick out one or two items from it, and buy them. Then every year, you have an excuse to add to the collection. My parents have EVERYTHING, but they are always happy to receive something new and unique from this really cool Italian design firm!
posted by WaterSprite at 6:48 PM on November 2, 2005

This won't necessarily help you now, but I'll mention it anyway in case it might be helpful for future reference: get in the habit of actively collecting gift ideas throughout the year in anticipation of birthdays/holidays. I'm generally considered a good gift-giver (though my own sister manages to stump me most of the time!), and it's because I've developed the habit of making mental notes whenever friends/family express suitably "giftable" ideas -- anything from "I've always wanted to take a Thai cooking class" to "gee, I'd love to get that Talking Heads box set, but I can't spend the money right now." As soon as I get a chance, I either literally jot down the idea in a notebook, or (if it's something like a book, CD, or DVD) add it to a my Amazon "gift ideas" list.

For example, a friend mentioned once in passing that when he lived in Paris he used to covet shirts from the A.P.C. shop in his neighborhood -- so I went home, found the website and bookmarked it. When Xmas rolled around about 6 months later, he was very surprised and happy to receive an A.P.C. shirt, but if I hadn't bookmarked the site back in June, I'm sure I wouldn't have remembered it.

posted by scody at 8:27 PM on November 2, 2005

a new iron only jokeing if you are going to london then go to harrods even the bag's look good
posted by baker dave at 10:25 AM on November 3, 2005

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