Gift ideas for my best friend at med school
May 20, 2016 4:37 PM   Subscribe

I'm in med school right now, and my best friend in my class is about to have a birthday (during our last week of classes before our last summer break ever). I'm looking for some help brainstorming potential gift ideas. Information about his interests inside.

He's turning 23. He likes listening to pop music (both current and from the 60s/70s) but doesn't like going to concerts. He likes musicals. (We're both pretty Hamilton-obsessed, but he's avoiding Hamilton related things right now until we go see it next January.) He really enjoys history, particularly American history, and in particular is a big fan of George Washington and John Adams. He likes to sing (we're co-presidents of our school's a cappella group), and play piano (he has access to a keyboard, but doesn't own one). He enjoys fishing in the Atlantic. He's a runner. He collects snowglobes and hats (think Viking helmets and tricornes, not ball caps). He barely drinks alcohol (just not into it). I have previously given him a cookbook because he wants to learn how to cook, but he hasn't yet had the opportunity to really use it. Over the past year he's read all of A Song of Ice and Fire, and Harry Potter, and he's just embarked on The Lord of the Rings.

I'm hoping to spend somewhere between $30-$50. I'm looking for a physical present (or presents) rather than experiences, because we have lots of fun experiences already planned for the summer. Ideal gifts would be things that could be used again and again to enhance his enjoyment of things he already likes.

Thank you for helping me come up with ideas!
posted by ocherdraco to Shopping (8 answers total)
Opera glasses so he can enjoy lots of performances, games, and more from the nosebleed seats.
posted by Mizu at 5:53 PM on May 20, 2016

Has he seen the HBO John Adams miniseries, or read the David McCullough book that it's based on?
posted by wintersweet at 5:53 PM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

I know some runners who enjoy a headlamp. Do you think he would like this kind of deal? Or maybe a gift certificate to a local running store or sporting goods store (where there may also be fishing gear for sale)?
Nice earbuds?
There's a fair amount of fun novelty gifts on etsy. Do a search for Hamilton, George Washington or Abe Lincoln and see if any good ideas come up.
Do you have a goofy photo of him you could use to create a gift? Get it printed on a mug or photoshop him at the signing of the constitution or something. Make twenty buttons of it and have your singing group all wear one.
Otherwise, I would really consider a luxury package of maybe some great local coffee, chocolates, maybe some runner protein bars, any kind of snacks you know he likes. I think when you don't know what to get someone, consumable goods are always a good bet. Cost Plus World Market is a good place to shop for stuff like that. They have novelty toys that are surprisingly nice too.
posted by areaperson at 6:05 PM on May 20, 2016

It's not an expensive gift, but the new Santana album is a total throwback to the 60s, recorded with the lineup who performed at Woodstock. I've been listening to it obsessively since it was released. Might be a nice part of a larger gift.
posted by hippybear at 6:35 PM on May 20, 2016

The latest volumes of Outlander are partly set during the revolutionary war....though he'll need to have read both the earlier ones and the Lord John books for proper context.
posted by brujita at 9:08 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

For history buff, if he likes games -- there's a card game called Chrononauts (in which you're a time traveler racing to change the timeline of real world events), and they have an Early American Chrononauts version, which covers 1770-1916. Silly fun, and packs small if he like to take games on trips.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:29 AM on May 21, 2016

Thanks for all these suggestions! I'll let you know what I end up doing.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:02 AM on May 21, 2016

I ended up getting the Ron Chernow biography of Washington, some inexpensive Bluetooth earbuds to use while running, and the chrononauts game LobsterMitten suggested. I marked as best the answers that directly led to me choosing the gifts I did, but all of your answers were very helpful!
posted by ocherdraco at 9:56 AM on May 21, 2016

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