I would like to be invited back next year...
December 9, 2014 11:09 AM   Subscribe

I'll be spending my second Christmas with my boyfriend's lovely family, and want to get them a gift they'll enjoy. Unfortunately, I don't know them that well, and feel pretty stuck. Deets inside.

Last year, I got them a cozy throw blanket, and I think it went over well.

They live in the Adirondacks, love nature and the outdoors, and have a huge, beautiful garden with tons of bird feeders (but they aren't super active, so outdoor sport stuff isn't right). They're both recently retired, and have done a lot of traveling in the last couple of years (when I see them for Christmas, they'll have just returned from Iceland). I don't think I know their aesthetic well enough to get tchotchkes or decorative things, and booze isn't a good choice. I'm crafty (have considered knitting felted slippers or making a pretty terrarium), but I don't think I have enough time for the former, and I'm not sure the latter feels substantial enough. A quirky "experience" gift might be nice, but I don't want it to be a huge pain for them to use it.

I would prefer to get something they'll both enjoy, rather than two individual gifts, and want to spend around $50 (but flexible).

They're so generous to me, I want to find the perfect thing!
posted by i_am_a_fiesta to Shopping (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'd get them a gift certificate for a local eatery. It's a nice experience that they can enjoy after the holidays.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:14 AM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Some kind of fancy food item that they can't easily get where they are. Or, some magazine subscriptions that reflect their interests? Tuck a note about the subscription into a current issue.
posted by quince at 11:21 AM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


A couple years back I got my boyfriend's family a fancy iced tea brewing thingy with a selection of loose-leaf teas in pretty tins. I generally find that nice tea or coffee, in a pretty package, combined with brewing/drinking doodads (a French press, a nice teapot, mugs or teacups), makes a nice gift for people I don't know too well if I know they enjoy either tea or coffee. Lupicia is my favorite of the fancy tea places and I think they're only in California and Hawaii, but any of those places (like David's Tea or Teavana) would have stuff like this.
posted by sunset in snow country at 11:28 AM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


What about a really nice bird identification book if they don't already have one and some bird seed? Or since they garden a pair of good quality pruning sheers.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 11:30 AM on December 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


Seconding the bird identification book.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:33 AM on December 9, 2014


How about a plant of some sort? Some friends have an indoor lemon tree that smells wonderful when it blooms (even if they rarely get lemons). Something from here is what I was picturing, I think. You could also look in to peaches or plums or pears or apples that could eventually go outside.
posted by maryr at 11:34 AM on December 9, 2014


PS: The Adirondacks will be hardiness zone 4 or 5 depending on how close to the Champlain Valley vs actually in the mountatins they are.
posted by maryr at 11:40 AM on December 9, 2014


A slight twist on a bird book: a bird behavior book. The Stokes Guide to Bird Behavior. There are three volumes which describe common birds (including those likely to hang out at bird feeders in their area) and their behaviors/calls etc.
posted by sciencegeek at 11:58 AM on December 9, 2014 [5 favorites]


If they are really into gardening, how about a nice collection of heirloom seeds? I think these art-y seed packets from Hudson Valley Seed Library would be lovely, and if you scroll around on their site they have a few options for making up gift basket-type things at various price points.
posted by rainbowbrite at 12:03 PM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


They live in the Adirondacks, love nature and the outdoors, and have a huge, beautiful garden with tons of bird feeders (but they aren't super active,

Perhaps they would enjoy a motion-activated camera to learn what local wildlife traffic looks like when they're not around. I've seen them on trails in the mountains just before hunting season, posted on trees -- they come camouflaged to blend in.

This random example is on sale for $70 (listed as $120) with free ground shipping; users mostly seem happy with it.

My stepdad says they're also good for figuring out who's eating all the almonds out of the almond bowl. (Spoiler: mice.)
posted by feral_goldfish at 12:17 PM on December 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


If you feel like they'd enjoy a bird theme gift, a bird whistle could be a nice choice to go with a bird guide or by itself, too.
posted by shortyJBot at 12:23 PM on December 9, 2014


You can't go wrong with a package from Zingerman's.
posted by LittleMy at 12:42 PM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm crafty (have considered knitting felted slippers or making a pretty terrarium), but I don't think I have enough time for the former, and I'm not sure the latter feels substantial enough.

A terrarium seems substantial to me, and also kind of perfect.

If you're worried you'll come off as a cheapskate, bring a hostess gift to be presented when you first show up. My mom is in the same demographic, and responds like a charm to guests proffering boxes of assorted fancy specialty chocolates from their respective locales (e.g. Gearhart's, Black Dinah). If you're still in Philadelphia, looks like you're in luck.
posted by feral_goldfish at 12:53 PM on December 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


I got this Birdwatcher's book for my stepmother for Christmas last year and was very happy to see it still on the coffee table
posted by lyssabee at 1:04 PM on December 9, 2014


Do you know enough about their feeder setup? I recently was gifted a peanut feeder (there are many options) which is basically squirrel-impervious and really brought the woodpeckers to the yard in a way I hadn't been expecting. Maybe a subscription to Birds and Blooms which talks about the overlap with gardening and birding? Or Living Bird Magazine if they're more conservation minded and/or if Cornell means something to them.
posted by jessamyn at 2:06 PM on December 9, 2014


I've always thought a gorgeous coffee table book is a great gift -- it's the kind of thing you wouldn't buy yourself, but are nice to have.
posted by caoimhe at 3:41 PM on December 9, 2014


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