Yeah, yeah...what to buy for the guy who has eveything?!?
December 9, 2005 5:44 AM   Subscribe

Anyone have any suggestions for Christmas gifts for a really, really hard to buy for guy?

He's my step-dad of about 4-5 years, and he and my Mom live 5 hours away. Things that make figuring out a gift for him tough are:

1) He's quite the introvert, so isn't too share-y to begin with.
2) He's a high-power corporate lawyer. If he needs/wants something, he pretty much can buy it. Plus, he's about 63, so he's had lots of time to accomplish this!

Interests he has are:
1) Running - he recently finished the Boston Marathon again!
2) NFL football - he was a season ticket holder for the Bills for years (I know...poor guy)
3) He has recently taken up golf.
4) He is a reader...he loves biographies, often of politicos. He played a large role in provincial politics earlier in his career.

So...any great, offbeat ideas along these lines? I would LOVE to surprise him with a biography of someone he would find fascinating, that he hasn't read already, or just something. I really don't wanna buy him a golf shirt, you know?
posted by Richat to Shopping (17 answers total)
How about lessons with a golf pro? Or a session at one of those golf clinics where they videotape your swing and help you analyze it?
posted by kdern at 5:57 AM on December 9, 2005

As at least part of your gift, you could get him a golf ball monogrammer. Being a bit of an amateur golfer myself, I saw one and said "oooh, me wanty!" :)
posted by antifuse at 6:40 AM on December 9, 2005

How about an audiobook of a good biography that he could listen to while he runs? If he doesn't have an MP3 player, you could get him one, if that's in your budget. Then you could load it with some books he might find interesting. Or if he has a CD player, you could buy audiobook CDs for him.

If you can sew or knit or anything like that, some warm stuff to wear while he's watching the Bills might be nice, and is something he can't go out and buy himself.
posted by iconomy at 6:42 AM on December 9, 2005

Talleyrand by Duff Cooper, is a really excellent "political" biography.

Also, the sport of golf involves a lot of stuff (shoes, clothes, balls, and on and on...). If your stepfather has just taken it up, he may find something like this trunk organiser quite handy. My father-in-law plays a lot of golf and swears by his.
posted by Chrischris at 6:51 AM on December 9, 2005

Two things jumped out at me, runner and reader. Does he ever have to run at a gym (like, in the winter, or over lunch)?

I recommended wire bookmarks in the tiny gifts thread because they are super-useful for holding the book open while reading on machines at the gym. They don't damage the spine or pages, and are useful for any kind of reading time when you don't have two hands for the book. Best $2 ever spent.

Even if that isn't the gift for him, consider something along that line of "gadget he'd like but wouldn't have heard of..."
posted by whatzit at 7:00 AM on December 9, 2005

What about one of those GPS watches that tracks your run and lets you print it out onto a map afterwards? Would be interesting to track a golf game, too.
posted by blag at 7:29 AM on December 9, 2005

A few years back I gave my SO one of those liquid thermometers with the balls inside that rise and fall with the temperature. He put it on his coffee table where it sat for a good long time until he knocked it over.

I found a similar item this year in the Jackson Perkins catalog, but it hangs on the wall (inside or out). Less chance of him breaking it!

It's an interesting conversation piece, somewhat unique and fun to watch.
posted by SoftSummerBreeze at 7:34 AM on December 9, 2005

I just reviewed "Next Man Up: A Year Behind the Lines in Today's NFL." The writer spends a year with the Baltimore Ravens, but even though they're not a team I care about, the minutiae of daily life in the NFL fascinated me. The book is newly out this fall.
posted by GaelFC at 8:02 AM on December 9, 2005

I've got a similar person to get a gift for... and I was thinking about something completely unrelated to his day-to-day activities - the complete DVD of New Yorkers.
posted by ph00dz at 8:09 AM on December 9, 2005

How about an ipod Nano programmed with music he likes - for when he runs?
posted by kdern at 8:29 AM on December 9, 2005

It sounds like you aren't super close to your step-Dad. Add that to you mentioning that it's hard to get him something material that he couldn't easily buy himself, I second the idea of buying him an experience rather than a tangible object. This would be a) priceless and b) allow you to bond.

e.g: golf lesson, round of golf together. OR you could go the other way and buy him a ticket for something *you're* interested in that you think he would like, and then go together.
posted by pollystark at 8:30 AM on December 9, 2005

I'm probably in the same category: "really, really hard to buy for guy" -- if I want something, I get it immediately, so there's rarely any obvious gift possibilties.

But so what?

Get me anything, I love the serendipity of the unexpected. Once my GF, feeling overwhelmed due to a birthday deadline, got me a spur at an antique store. Just an old hunk of metal a cowboy used to attach to his boot. I'm not into cowboys or horses or anything like that, but I love my spur.

And if he doesn't like your present, so what -- you got him something, he unwrapped a surprise, and your obligation for a gift has been satisfied. Since he reads, you could always get him some brand-new hardback -- if he doesn't find it interesting, he'll go exchange it.

And he probably doesn't want you stressing about little ol' him, anyway.
posted by Rash at 9:41 AM on December 9, 2005

The best bio I've read this year, if he's into this sort of thing, and it's not "new" by any means, is Christine: A Search for Christine Granville . It's only readily available thru, but I loved it enough that I ordered one for Christmas for a friend already. It's about a WWII spy for the British SOE -- supposedly the woman upon whom Ian Fleming based Vesper Lynde in Casino Royale. I found it utterly riviting, and it's just a well-written bio.
posted by Medieval Maven at 10:31 AM on December 9, 2005

Wow! Thanks to everyone for your input. I was away from the computer for a few hours and you guys came up with a mittful of great ideas.

Polly, you are right, it would be great to spend some time with him, as he is a kind of closed book. I think the world of him, respect the hell out of him, but don't know him that well. The problem with that is that he and me ol' Ma live 5 or so hours from here, so spending time together is tough.

Rash thanks for the input from the hard-to-buy-for people. I do know that he certainly appreciates any effort, but, yeah, I would love to knock his socks off!
posted by Richat at 10:54 AM on December 9, 2005

Browse through Cool Tools. "Tools" is very broadly defined. Just choose something listed in the catalog section over on the left hand side of your screen and start browsing. Great Stuff.
posted by BoscosMom at 10:59 AM on December 9, 2005

Has he read any of Robert A. Caro's books about Lyndon Johnson? They're fantastic.
posted by evinrude at 12:48 AM on December 10, 2005

« Older Passing on the ephemeral.   |   domain Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.