Gift ideas for an urbane 80 year old man?
August 11, 2014 5:38 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a gift for an 80 year old man, well-traveled, cultured, published poet. Any ideas?
posted by yarly to Shopping (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well, it'd be helpful to know state of health, degree of relationship, how much you're looking to spend, etc. But assuming he's still in a condition to write, I've got to think a really nice leatherbound notebook (with soft smooth pages), and/or a beautiful pen, would be welcome. You can never have too many of those.
posted by Bardolph at 5:57 PM on August 11, 2014

The first thing that jumped to my mind was something "writerly," like a very high-quality monogrammed fountain pen, similarly high-quality ink, and some rich, quality writing paper? Presented in a lovely folio of some sort?

Do you think he would prefer an experience, such as as enjoying your company for a meal at a very fine restaurant, or some sort of outing, or would he prefer a unique curiosity of some sort for a collection? Has he mentioned wanting to do or see something recently that you could arrange for him to attend?
posted by cardinality at 5:57 PM on August 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

There's not much to go on here but if it's appropriate / applicable, perhaps a nice bottle of his spirit of choice? (Scotch, bourbon, rye, gin, vodka, etc) or some other gourmet, consumable gift. I'm only turning 40 this week and I already kind of wish people would stop giving me tchotchkes because I don't really have anywhere to put them, and what am I going to do with them for the rest of my life? I'm getting better at divesting myself of some gifts, but I still feel bad when I do it.

On the other hand, I am always thrilled to get a nice bottle of whisky/whiskey or some other gourmet/fancy consumable, and I think of the person who gave it to me every time I have some. And even after it's gone, when something reminds me of it, I'm also fondly reminded of the person who gave it to me.
posted by usonian at 6:28 PM on August 11, 2014 [5 favorites]

I wouldn't buy them a pen or a notebook or anything writerly, because if they're a published poet, they probably have their own set of tools that they're set with or that works for them. I sketch and draw often, and I've had people give me pens that I cherished but never used, because I'm particularly picky about the pens and paper I use.

What about an interesting consumable gift that relates to you, or that you try together? A really interesting Japanese plum wine, an Ethiopian mead wine, Mexican Pulque, etc?

Of course, this works best for someone who likes trying new things.
posted by suedehead at 6:46 PM on August 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

What makes you unique? Do you have a special family recipe or do you come from somewhere interesting or do you have a niche hobby? Share that special thing about you with this person. The thing about well-traveled, cultured, poetic people is that they are curious. Since he's probably less able to be actively curious about things now, bring what you've got directly to him.
posted by Mizu at 6:54 PM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is the oldest continuously run poetry bookstore in the US, and it is beloved by any poet I have ever met. Perhaps a gift certificate or something of the like?
posted by EtTuHealy at 8:16 PM on August 11, 2014

Either socks or a gift for his pet(s).

Here are some prime socks; here are socks for a man with catholic tastes.

If he has a cat: a felted wool pet bed/pod from one of the many Etsy vendors selling them
If he has a dog: gourmet dog biscuits (they come in interesting shapes and colors now) or possibly a dog bed if it's a small dog.
posted by amtho at 8:42 PM on August 11, 2014

> if it's appropriate / applicable, perhaps a nice bottle of his spirit of choice?

I heartily second this (if, of course, he drinks). I would much, much, much rather have a good bottle of scotch than socks, a pen, or any other suggestion anyone has come up with. I would strongly urge you find out what he actually likes/wants rather than offer some random gift he'll have to pretend to like.
posted by languagehat at 9:08 AM on August 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I ended up getting him a bottle of Manzanilla and tickets to a Flamenco performance.
posted by yarly at 7:19 PM on August 22, 2014

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