What do I want?
November 21, 2017 1:34 PM   Subscribe

My parents have asked me for a Christmas list this year, and they do a format of something you need, something you want, something to wear, and something to read. I have no trouble filling out small, reasonable gifts for need, wear, and read, but I absolutely cannot figure out something I 'want'. My mom really likes this format, so I'd like to stick with it, but I can't figure anything out this year. Small details after the jump, but without all too much detail to try and get a lot of ideas.

I'd feel comfortable asking for something around 20 to 40 dollars. Usually I put a board game in this spot, but I'm guaranteed to be moving in a few months and don't want to move any more games than I already have. I'm also going to be taking the bus back to my apartment in NYC from my parents' house where we'll be celebrating Christmas, so I need something that can fit in my suitcase (I'd considered a piece of cooking equipment, but that stuff tends to be heavy). Here are a few categories I've been considering...

Something that would make living in the city easier - but I'm having trouble coming up with any specifics. Is there anything you all can think of that would make living in the city more pleasurable, enjoyable, or fun?

Something that would give me a structured way to be creative / exercise my logical thinking? Something (maybe non-digital) that would be an enjoyable puzzle or creativity sparking activity? This would maybe be a book or a board game, but I think I'd be fine bending my druthers a little bit.

Some sort of small hobbyist item that I could work on as a project? I'd looked at Cana-kits, but they're all a bit outside of my preferred budget. That is a really appealing idea, however, if I could get something a bit cheaper than that would be really cool.
posted by codacorolla to Shopping (26 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Membership (or maybe half membership) to a museum.
posted by phunniemee at 1:36 PM on November 21, 2017 [17 favorites]

What about tickets to a (not-too-expensive, I guess) exhibit or show you'd like to see?
posted by mskyle at 1:36 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Subscription to Games magazine?
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:39 PM on November 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

Maybe something consumable like a bottle of a nice beverage or fancy chocolates.
posted by exogenous at 1:39 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I asked my folks to sign me up for a film class at a local JC as a Christmas gift one year. That was pretty great. A bit pricier than your stated range, but not by a whole lot.

Similarly, if your schedule permits an early morning studio art class, I find it's a great way to start your day.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 1:46 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Something (maybe non-digital) that would be an enjoyable puzzle or creativity sparking activity?

Maybe This Book is a Planetarium?
posted by Mchelly at 1:57 PM on November 21, 2017

Or maybe an inexpensive treatment like a manicure or 20 minute massage? I am told that it is worth spending money on experiences rather than things. Is there a restaurant you'd like to go to where you can get a meal for less than $40? Any of those things might make the city more fun for that moment.
posted by Bella Donna at 2:13 PM on November 21, 2017 [6 favorites]

There are a couple of Raspberry Pi based kits in your price range at Adafruit (and a broader selection of electronics projects here). If you've already got all the peripherals, a bare RPi 3 is $35.
posted by natabat at 2:29 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

How about asking for the money, or a gift card to a restaurant meal where you'll be moving? I like Bella Donna's idea of a manicure or massage, too.
posted by itsflyable at 2:29 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Things that might make the city more fun or easier:

A better than average pair of headphones/ear buds for listening to podcasts/music on transit
Subscription to Spotify for a few months or another streaming service for music, podcasts, etc that you like
A ticket to a small obscure yet interesting theatre production for somewhere in the dark days of Jan-March

Structured ways to be creative:

A book that has exercises for developing creativity
Subscription to a magazine that makes you feel inspired to be creative (like mine is Creative Nonfiction)
A journal with prompts in it for creative writing

Kit ideas:
Needle felting (make fun and tiny beautiful things)
Weaving (my personal favorite - you can get a small hand loom for $20-40 easily)
This make your own gin kit is slightly more than your price but seems super cool.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 2:39 PM on November 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Something to eat? Fancy dates, dried fruit, specialty chocolates, pecans four ways, truffle pate, etc.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 2:48 PM on November 21, 2017

I guess it's technically 'cheating' to say "I want to wait to receive this present until after I've moved."
posted by puddledork at 3:05 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Perhaps you want to fund a goat for somebody in need of one.
posted by flabdablet at 3:29 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Money towards that theremin you've been eyeing.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 3:29 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Things that might make the city easier:
an Uber gift card
posted by velveeta underground at 3:43 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Do you have a tangram set? I love mine and in fact I brought it with me for holiday house sitting this week. I’d be happy to meet you for coffee so you could try mine out. Mine is plastic, about 1x3x5 if I’m guessing correctly. It comes with a pack of cards toncolve, and you can get additional puzzles. Mine has two sets of blocks so you can ‘race’ with a friend, or solve bigger double puzzles.

I like mine. A lot. It definitely works some thinking muscles.
posted by bilabial at 3:45 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Waterproof bluetooth speaker so you can listen to music & podcasts in the shower?
Cozy electric heated blanket for the sofa?
Cash to buy a nice big house plant?
Cute set of dish towels?
A Turkish towel for the bath? (never tried them but apparently they're lovely)
A really nice new shower curtain?
These magnetic building tile toys are REALLY fun to play with.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:51 PM on November 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Movie gift card/pass?
posted by rpfields at 3:59 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

My friend loves the Russian & Turkish Baths in the city - a day pass is $45. Could be a nice way to spend a wintery day.
posted by umwhat at 4:01 PM on November 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

What about some nice spices from Penzey's? Those are light and easy to take back in a suitcase, but would fulfill your cooking equipment category.

Maybe a gift certificate to the Uncommons or your preferred nearby board game pub so that you can try out some new games with friends?
posted by tautological at 6:03 PM on November 21, 2017

How about a Make magazine subscription?

Or maybe you could suggest some sort of activity you could all do together while you're visiting.
posted by gennessee at 4:01 AM on November 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

What about a fancy "indestructible" umbrella? It will still probably only last about 6 months in NYC, of course, lol wind, but if you can find a nice compact and marketed as windproof model, that could be useful and still fit your portability requirements.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:27 AM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Puzzle options:
- Subscription to a puzzle magazine? There are some old-school classics as well as a whole bunch of new indie up-and-comers.
- You could also go for some puzzle e-books -- they're very portable. Here's a set I've been eyeing with interest (I've been getting obsessively into Star Battle Puzzles lately).

There are options for cooking equipment that would fit easily into a suitcase. Any interest in the following?
- A Microplane zester/grater
- A high-quality meat thermometer
- A great kitchen scale
- A thumb-trimmer mandoline slicer
- A pair of awesome kitchen shears
- A fashionable apron, or an even more fashionable apron
- Some classy dish towels

And some general-purpose goodies:
- The best-ever travel mug (keeps drinks hot or cold for 24+ hours, keeps its seal upside down in your laptop bag)
- Portable power bank for your electronics
- A beautiful handmade woodblock print from Mefi's own
- How about a clip-on lens kit and a phone tripod for cell phone photography? It might give you a good excuse to explore your new city.
- Don't forget to check out the Mefi Mall for interesting things made by your fellow Mefites!
posted by ourobouros at 8:34 AM on November 22, 2017

How about a home meal delivery at your new location? Or, even better, a box of Mom's cookies (or whatever you love from childhood) sent within a few days of your arrival?
posted by acm at 9:35 AM on November 22, 2017

Your side of a Parent 'n' Me experience, one per parent -- something fun, where you can both giggle and enjoy the time together.
It could be karaoke, or a foot massage, or exploring a museum. It could be a walk down memory lane -- seeing the old neighborhood, the local restaurant your family enjoyed (is it still there?), the last place where you needed a ride because you were too young to drive yourself.
How has time changed your recollections and, now that you are adults, what can you share with each other?
Where did your parent take you when you were young, and you haven't been back in ages? Where did he or she go for a night out, but just hasn't taken the time for it lately, and never invited you when you were living in the same city?
Take plenty of pictures.
posted by TrishaU at 2:58 PM on November 22, 2017

After receiving one for Christmas last year, my answer to everything is "heated mattress pad." It's out of your price range (although it's a LOT cheaper at Costco if they have memberships), so maybe it could be combo want/need.
posted by radioamy at 10:01 AM on November 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

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