Please help me choose a Christmas gift for myself.
December 29, 2016 10:51 AM   Subscribe

My very kind aunt has offered to bring me a gift when she comes to visit, but she's asked me to choose and I'm stumped. Snowflakes inside.

So my aunt (who lives in the US) will be visiting me soon and has said she wants to bring me something. Great! Except... I recently moved back from the US myself, and can't think of a damn thing I want that fits her criteria of $50 or less and available in a brick-and-mortar store in the St. Louis area. I have tried telling her that she doesn't need to get me anything, but to no avail. So Mefites, please help me pick something based on the following criteria:

- food-type things to be avoided (she's paranoid about customs, plus I'm diabetic and so this cuts out a LOT of stuff)
- no makeup or jewellery, either (I have an abundance of both)
- no gift cards (I guess she wants to get me a physical thing?)

About me:

- late 20s, pretty geeky, leftie liberal type who pretty much already has most things she needs.
- I'm very femme, I love pretty things, but as mentioned, I already have lots of makeup and jewellery. Clothes are also a non-starter, as I'm pretty hard to size and live in a very different climate than MO. Electronics are also out, since the US uses a different voltage than India.
posted by Tamanna to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Candlesticks or holders?
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 10:56 AM on December 29, 2016

How about some nice note cards/a journal/other stationery? Firecracker Press is a local printer.
posted by brentajones at 11:03 AM on December 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

How do you feel about kitchen gadgets? Spiralizers are all the rage right now, and since you mostly use them with veggies, probably makes it easier for you to try new diabetic-friendly recipes.
posted by DoubleLune at 11:08 AM on December 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Is there something you miss from your time in the US? Or something you didn't bring with you that you wish you had? Or a book or magazine you'd love to have with you? Like if you had a favorite guilty pleasure type of magazine she could (easily!) get you copies of those which is no big deal to her but might be fun for you.

Otherwise my big goto is always: crap for the bathroom/bathtub! This is one of those great times to find some excellent little thingdoo that would be too spendy for you but would feel like "a good present" to someone else. Like for me there are some kinds of hair glop that cost a damned fortune but I love them. They make good gifts. Same with great soap, bath bombs, moisturizer or something for finger/toenails. Stuff for hair. Amazing towels. Best slippers.

In my family the question was always "What would be a treat for you?" so you can reconceptualize it from "You have $50, buy something!" to "If I pulled a little thing out of my bag and said I brought it from the US for you, what would make your eyes light up?"
posted by jessamyn at 11:15 AM on December 29, 2016 [4 favorites]

Any chance a donation to an organization that you both support would work? You could frame it as something like making a difference even when you aren't living in the US.
posted by mcduff at 11:23 AM on December 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Extending one of Jessamyn's suggestions, there's a store on main street in St. Charles (Provenance Soapworks) that makes fantastic soaps... How about a sample pack with some soaps and bath bombs?
posted by Jacob G at 11:27 AM on December 29, 2016

some kind of totebag, grocery/market bag, or makeup/toiletry bag? I find these need refreshing every few years.
posted by vunder at 11:40 AM on December 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

couple other ideas:
a nice beach towel or bath sheet
a good quality sealable travel mug for water or coffee or tea
a hipster backpack like the Herschel Supply, Fjallraven, Sandqvist (these are probably more than $50 though)
posted by vunder at 2:56 PM on December 29, 2016

a particular book? You can browse what's new on Amazon and she can find it in a brick & mortar store?
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:30 PM on December 29, 2016

How about some pretty fabric that you can give to a seamstress in India to make clothes for you. Or yarn or hobby stuff, if you knit or crochet. Or Magazines that you can't get there.
posted by gt2 at 9:58 PM on December 29, 2016

Probably something around your hobbies or interests? Some options (many of them with Amazon links only, since I am not sure what stores exist in that area):

1. If you work on laptops a lot, a lapdesk (with cushion) is not something you can easily find in India
2. Echo Dot from Amazon
3. Tile Mate - a bluetooth device that you can attach to keys etc and find from your phone (Amazon link again, sorry!)
4.Couple of Sandisk Extreme SD cards (if you are into photo/video)
5. Cable organizers, Cable sleeves, Grid-It bags
6. Moleskin Notebooks (they are pretty expensive in India!)
7. Waterproof and Sandproof foldable traveling blanket (Link)
8. Headlamps (if you go on any treks or roadtrips, this can be very useful leaving your hands free) - Link
posted by theobserver at 10:07 PM on December 29, 2016

Probably the most useful gift I've ever received is a small but excellent flashlight from a camping store. I also like the beach towels suggestion. Otherwise maybe a nice house plant?
posted by emd3737 at 11:52 PM on December 29, 2016

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