another gift question
February 7, 2018 10:19 PM   Subscribe

One of my closest friends' birthday party is this weekend. Help me figure out what to get her.

I've always been kind of crap at picking gifts for people so I hope the hive mind can help.

This gift-giving occasion feels extra meaningful because this friend - and her husband - did me a huge kindness a few weeks ago by taking me and my cat in for several days while I was dealing with fleeing my awful landlord who was harassing and threatening me. I have been trying to figure out how to thank both of them (beyond just verbally) ever since, and her party being this weekend gives me the opportunity to at least start that by getting - or doing - something nice for her.

She is a foodie who loves cooking (as opposed to me, a foodie who can't cook at all), a fellow cat lover, a knitter (I sadly don't have time to make her anything, plus all of my knitting stuff is still in a moving box and I haven't found it), a writer, a photographer, and she's just started learning how to play the guitar. She's super funny and we have the kind of relationship where we trade silly Bitmojis but also encourage each other with our writing and other career goals and talk about pretty heavy stuff. I'm lucky that she is my friend and I'd like to demonstrate that!

Her birthday is actually sometime next week, I should clarify, but her husband is throwing her a party this weekend which I just found out about today so I find myself in a bit of a rush to come up with something.

I live about an hour north of NYC and have to be in Manhattan on Friday for most of the day for a work thing so I'm kind of thinking that whatever I get her should be something I can get in the city.

Any ideas/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
posted by thereemix to Shopping (9 answers total)
If there is a Penzey's or another spice shop near where you'll be, you can get her a mix of spices. You could also do fancy salts, vinegars, or oils. As a person who loves to cook, those things would interest me. Or, when you were staying with her, did you hear her complain about something in the kitchen at all? Something you could buy a nice version of?
posted by hydra77 at 11:23 PM on February 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

Depending on your budget, for a knitter you could give a set of interchangable needles (expensive but wonderful), a swift (you never knew you needed it till you have one), or some nice accessories such as stitch markers, knitting pins etc.
I did also once receive some amazing pure breed yarn, but make sure you give enough to knit something substantial or it's just frustrating!
posted by Heloise9 at 11:33 PM on February 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Does she have an Instant Pot?

Look. As a current foodie and a former professional chef, still in food type biz, I LOVE my Instant Pot. I've also dealt with the company twice, and can not praise their customer service more. It rocks.
posted by jbenben at 1:44 AM on February 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Maybe a recently released cookbook, or a guitar-related gift from these suggestions?
posted by neushoorn at 1:55 AM on February 8, 2018

I also came in to suggest Penzey’s. They have several gift boxes to choose from, or you could just get her a gift card.
posted by _Mona_ at 2:01 AM on February 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

How about a gift certificate for a yarn store in the city, enclosed in a greeting card with a note of appreciation for her friendship and recent help? Offer to make it a day together to shop for yarn, get brunch/lunch/coffee? The meaning for me would be less in the value of the gift, than in your expression of appreciation.
posted by PosterGirlwithNoPoster at 2:23 AM on February 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

People love their cats. They love watching their cats be happy. It's truly a gift.

I'd recommend something awesome for the cat. Depending on budget: a catnip banana, a lovely bed _that a cat will like_ (get a _big_, dog-sized bed that the cat can sprawl in, and/or ask what kind of beds this cat likes or ask for a recommendation from a cat person working at the store), or -- and this is the best gift I ever got, maybe -- a big old climbing tower, if they have room.

The creative stuff -- yarn, spices, etc. -- is often stuff that the creator will prefer and enjoy picking herself. Indeed, it's such an integral part of crafting hobbies that many people have huge stashes of stuff they need to use "someday", and then they feel guilty about not doing so. Even a gift card kind of forces her to buy more yarn, when so many people have a bunch of yarn sitting around that's not right for the particular project they want to do. Spices, even, lose flavor after too long. So, if you want to focus on creative hobbies, maybe some nice non-plastic storage (I put yarn balls in a giant apothecary jar, which was nice -- I got it at the Container Store).
posted by amtho at 2:54 AM on February 8, 2018

Swifts are wonderful but if they are too expensive you might look for a nostepinne used for winding center pull balls from a skein or a yarn bowl. I use mine all the time but I think you want a ceramic one for the weight.
posted by Botanizer at 6:57 AM on February 8, 2018

not sure where in manhattan you'll be, but people often appreciate specialties from the city. if she likes sweets, perhaps something from levain or li-lac; if she likes bread/baked goods, perhaps something from she wolf (which is superb). for a sampler, you could swing by the meadow and pick up a little assortment of treats. (it might be nice to combine a little edible treat for her with a larger gift for the cat!)
posted by halation at 12:30 PM on February 8, 2018

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