Ideas for 2 special Gifts
September 29, 2016 9:59 AM   Subscribe

I need a little inspiration, hoping you can help. My 2 nieces-in-law (?) have birthdays within 2 days of each other. After a particularly tough year in which they lost their Mum and there has been a lot of family drama, we've all become quite close. These girls mean a LOT to me and I consider them both good friends, but I need some help in deciding what "special" gift I can get for both of them for their birthdays in October.

One is a professional respiratory therapist, she is turning 25. She lives with her BF and likes Native Art but already has a lot of that herself.
One is a Fine Arts Student, she is turning 22. She just moved out of the family home and is living with roommates for the first time in her life. I have visited her place and it is very "studenty" so I don't want to get her anything for the house, because I think it would be a waste.

I'm 34 and even though I'm not THAT old - I'm clearly not down with the kids any more!

For the Fine Arts Student I thought about getting her some supplies. But I am NOT arty in the least and I don't want to spend a small fortune on arts supplies that won't get used.

Of course there is always the idea of getting gift cards, which I'm fine with, but I'd like something more unique and memorable if possible!

Budget is $50-$100 per person.

Any ideas at all for some excellent mid 20's women who are awesome and I want to give them a gift to reflect their awesomeness and tell them how much they mean to me.
posted by JenThePro to Shopping (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'd take them out to a $100/plate dinner and tell them how much they mean to you over the meal.
posted by sparklemotion at 10:05 AM on September 29, 2016 [11 favorites]

A doing thing! Something you can all do together ideally. It can be far in the future because looking forward to something is super fun. And memories of awesome experiences last a long time.

- Tickets to a music event
- Tickets to an awesome gallery with lunch on you
- Tickets to a weird museum with lunch on you
- A trip to a Cool Local Historic Thing
- Dinner at a really nice place
- A spa day for the three of you
- A sporting event
posted by greenish at 10:06 AM on September 29, 2016 [13 favorites]

I would get them each a gorgeous special scarf, a special pair of earrings, a beautiful bracelet, or something else durable that could remind them of your affection for them when they wear it. And invite them over for dinner on an evening between their two birthdays.
posted by mareli at 10:10 AM on September 29, 2016 [5 favorites]

Two different pieces of jewelry, something custom for each niece but that coordinate (which symbolically would be the "you" part). Maybe there is a semi-precious stone that comes from somewhere important to you? Or a shape/idea/motif that resonates? You could do nice chains with two pendants - one that's the same on both and two different ones for each niece, or maybe one girl always wears earrings and the other likes bracelets?

Jewelry is portable, durable (if it's well-made) and can be wonderful talismans of sentiment. Check your local cities for artisans who will do custom or customized work, and of course there's etsy. If you're not working with stones your price range is low, but doable. And there are lots of lower cost materials to choose from like wood and resin and bamboo that can be modern and gorgeous, if you look for them.
posted by Mizu at 10:22 AM on September 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

I don't know about the gift, but I would include in the card a letter saying everything you feel about them and how much they mean to you. Handwritten letters like that are worth so much.
posted by xingcat at 10:22 AM on September 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

The birthstones for October are Opal or Tourmaline, so if you are thinking jewelry, that might be a nice way to go!
If it wouldn't be weird, you could also incorporate their mom's birthstone in the pieces as well, maybe as 2 stones in a necklace or 2 stacking rings.
I like this tourmaline ring or this one or if they are more edgy, this one.

If you are in the same place as them, a show or spa day would be really nice.
posted by rmless at 10:32 AM on September 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

A cooking class you can all take together.
posted by Dragonness at 10:38 AM on September 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

Anything Opal. Because this is the best gemstone in the universe :)) There are so many excellent Opal rings, you can't go wrong. I love the idea of incorporating their mom's birthstone, too.
posted by jbenben at 10:52 AM on September 29, 2016

Agreeing to do something in person if you can. A fancy dinner or experience that they don't get from other family would be awesome. (With my aunt, it was getting to go to a restaurant downtown, when I never went downtown otherwise.)

What about a champagne brunch followed by pedicures?
posted by hydra77 at 11:03 AM on September 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Sorry - I should have clarified really!

We already do lots of things together, comedy shows, murder mystery evenings, concerts etc. So I was really hoping more for a PHYSICAL gift since we do that kind of stuff together already.

We also have dinner together at least once a month, and we're doing a dinner for their birthdays already.

Although I LOVE the Opal idea, neither girl wears much jewelry.
posted by JenThePro at 11:22 AM on September 29, 2016

Maybe a beautifully framed photo of you together, or of each of them as a little kid?
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:38 AM on September 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Gorgeous stone but opals are fairly soft -- you'd want to be choosy about the setting and consider pendants instead of rings if you went that direction. (On preview: oops, never mind! But I'll leave it there in case they turn into jewellery people in later life and you end up present-hunting again...)

Do they write much...? At that age I would've been very happy about a very nice grown-up's pen. Both occupations seem to be ones that would see a luxurious pen put to good use? I'd expect the first would here and there scribble out instructions/notes for patients, and most people who haunt art supply shops can appreciate a higher-end pen and handwriting. If they have small hands like me the Cross Classic Century is very pleasant to use. (Side note: you can often get more pen bang for the buck, new in box, on eBay.)
posted by kmennie at 11:40 AM on September 29, 2016

Something antique from each of their professions? Antique paint set and wooden stethoscope?

A silver handheld mirror? A nice blanket? A fancy boar bristle brush? A nice cosmetic bag made of silk fabric? A fancy bathrobe? A nice pan or pot or cake cover or the like? A nice knife for the kitchen? Antique steamer trunk? A terrarium? A nice lamp? Fancy stationery with their monograms and a nice pen? Teapots and tea cups?
posted by umwhat at 11:46 AM on September 29, 2016

Maybe a couple of really cozy blankets or quilts, customized with some embroidery or applique that is meaningful? Portable, durable depending on materials, useful, kind of a physical representation of care and protection from you?
posted by Mizu at 11:51 AM on September 29, 2016

are there any museums relating to their interests where they live, where you could get them a membership?
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:05 PM on September 29, 2016

I'm currently 28, so only a bit older than your relatives, and I'm trying to think of what gifts I've really enjoyed.

A beautiful pottery vase? I got one as a gift at age 20 and still love it 8 years later after multiple moves. I like this one from Heath Ceramics.

Cozy blankets are a good idea, one of my favourite things. I also like the idea of nice kitchen knives. What about beautiful glassware like champagne coupes? I really like these magnetic spice jars now that I have them, although they're more expensive than I would have chosen for myself.

Seconding a framed picture. What if you got a photographer to take family photos of the three of you?

Artwork is a tough thing to gift but I have three paintings and prints I've been given that are very special to me. They're all by local artists from where I'm from and I live far away now. If you want something like a scarf, I think Novica has some beautiful ones.

My younger sister doesn't wear much jewelry either but really seemed to like the silver disc with an initial necklace I gave her. I have a dainty little opal necklace that might be good for someone who doesn't wear much jewelry. I also like the idea of going jewelry shopping with them so they could pick out something they really like.

I love cookbooks more than most people but I think something like The Food Lab cookbook would be great gift they might find useful for a long time.
posted by carolr at 12:28 PM on September 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Maybe they're too old for this, but -- silver charm bracelets? It's jewelry, but not jewelry-jewelry. It's more of a memento thing than a fashion thing. Get the basic bracelet, add a couple of charms for them, you, and their mum. It's easy to pick up more charms for any future occasion, like birthdays, graduation, trips, etc., so it's a gift for now and a gift for the future. Remembrance, but looking forward too.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:30 PM on September 29, 2016

Okay, this is kind of out of left field, but how about a nice evening bag? Just something simple, small, and appropriate for one of your fun nights out. It's the kind of thing I would've made a lot of use of in my 20s, but spending money on it would've seemed absurd to me. Seems a little less fraught than jewelry somehow. Depending on their style, any of these might work.
posted by Diagonalize at 12:46 PM on September 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

One nice gift I got around that age that I thought was a little weird at the time but ended up loving was a beautiful fancy umbrella. It was my special umbrella and I always kept track of it unlike the other random crappy ones.
Mine was like this
I also think this and this are cool and I love this one
posted by rmless at 12:56 PM on September 29, 2016 [4 favorites]

Even though you say they don't wear much jewelry - I'm just a little older, and also don't wear much jewelry, but I have several keepsake items that mean a lot to me and i wear occasionally for special occasions. One is a necklace from my boyfriend, one is a ring my aunt gave me that was originally my grandmothers. My mom has also found a few items for me in my alternate birthstone (June - moonstone) that are really lovely and special. I think jewelry, especially if you find a way to make it special (engraved / locker with a picture of their mother / significant item) is a very symbolic gift, and it feels like what you're looking for is something symbolic of your relationship. To me, that's something special that will remind them they have you in their corner and they can always have with them, even if you aren't around.
posted by DoubleLune at 1:08 PM on September 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

Seconding the kitchen knives idea. I gave that as a first new apartment gift to someone, and they really liked it.

I think having a student-y apartment doesn't necessarily mean that gifts for the home aren't well received-- the contrast can actually make them seem nicer. I really loved this set of wine glasses I got as a housewarming present from a more established relative... They seemed "too fancy" for my lifestyle but I've ended up using and liking them.
posted by sometamegazelle at 2:48 PM on October 1, 2016

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