what to get for a new dad who already has too much new dad stuff?
December 21, 2018 9:21 AM   Subscribe

Last minute gift shopping question - with the added quandary of the giftee's birthday falling in the same week as Xmas. HALP!

I've been derelict in my sisterly duties: my brother's birthday is December 24, and then of course the next day is Xmas, and I have not been able to figure out what to get him. I always buy him two separate gifts because combined bday/Xmas gifts are always a bummer. I'm totally stumped. Maybe you all can help?

As I mentioned in the question title, brother is a new dad - his lovely daughter was born this past spring. However, I don't want to get him any "dad" gear - because he already has a ton of baby-centric stuff, and because he still is a human being outside of being a dad and I want to respect that (this is something both he and his wife are trying to balance).

He's in his mid-30's, works in tech, plays drums, likes to cook and bake and kayak and bike. Kayaking and biking and most excersize has gone by the wayside since the baby came along and I know he's feeling self conscious about his dad gut at the moment. I used to buy him clothes every year for Xmas before he got married but I don't know his sizes anymore and also clothes shopping is sort of intimate and his wife and I have only very recently become friendly (after nearly three years of her trying to ice me out) and I don't want to accidentally do something that she may perceive as me being smothering. I used to buy him sweaters and ties for work and she felt that was inappropriate (?? I don't know why and keeping the peace is way more important to me at this point than trying to understand her reasoning). Though maybe something innocuous like a comfy hoodie might fly? Or cozy slippers? He has tons of outerwear.

I have nice Xmas presents for his wife and daughter but I truly am stuck when it comes to him. Ideas welcome, and they need to be obtainable in a brick and mortar store since I'm running out of time. I live near two shopping malls and I am within driving distance of NYC.

posted by thereemix to Shopping (16 answers total)
If you can get to B&H Photo in NYC and have $151, you can get him the well-regarded Alesis Drum SamplePad 4. A little risky as he may already have a similar device but, if he's like me, the more gadgets the better.
posted by bz at 9:32 AM on December 21, 2018

brother is a new dad - his lovely daughter was born this past spring.

The gift you are looking for is alcohol.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:45 AM on December 21, 2018 [11 favorites]

So this is “dad” gear, but my husband loved the kids’ bike seat I got him when our baby was young. When we had a second we upgraded to a bike trailer.

If you don’t want to go that route, Zingerman’s bacon of the month club was also a hit. If he’s more health-conscious, Frog Hollow Farm’s weekly fruit subscription. If he drinks alcohol, his beverage of choice. Or Driftaway if he’s into coffee. You don’t often have time to think only about yourself, or the bandwidth to decide what to get. So subscription services really do hit the spot.
posted by snickerdoodle at 9:49 AM on December 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

What about something for the kitchen since he likes to cook and presumably his family does need to eat?

For example. I got my brother a sourdough starter kit and that could be paired with a proofing basket. You might even be able to make the starter?

I mean, I recognize that making bread might not jibe with his worry about weight gain but homemade bread is nice.
posted by vunder at 9:50 AM on December 21, 2018

Another gift idea (if he doesn't already have it) is a cast iron pan and a cast iron pan cookbook (if he doesn't already have it). The cast iron pan has become my go-to pan in my house, and I also really like the small one I have too. I noticed recently there is a new Staub cast iron cookbook. You can get a nice Staub cast iron or just get a Lodge cast iron at Target or many other places. They are a good price and made in the US.

Another idea is to get him the new Ottolenghi Simple cookbook and some good quality spices that go with it (so, like Sumac, Za'atar, Ras Al Hanout). This is nice if you can get them from an actual spice shop, but otherwise maybe supporting Penzey's spices (who have been vocal about supporting anti-fascist causes) is nice?
posted by vunder at 10:04 AM on December 21, 2018

Consumables are nice. If he drinks, nice alcohol (particularly an upgrade of something he drinks often) is hard to go wrong with. So if he tends to drink, whatever, Smith Whiskey, get him Smith Whiskey Single Barrel/Special Reserve/Unicorn Tears/Whatever.

Likewise, upgrades of other stuff he already likes and uses can be good. Wears long underwear? Buy merino long underwear. Wears flannel shirts? Buy wool or wool blend flannel shirts. Has a shitty thermos he uses every day? Get him a Zojirushi. It requires a little knowledge of what he usually wears, but if you think a comfy hoodie may fit the bill, get a really nice durable hoodie (like one from one of those new hipster companies that specializes in the same).
posted by craven_morhead at 10:16 AM on December 21, 2018

Perhaps an indoor bicycling stand would be well-received? Or a pull-up bar for a doorframe? I know it's always dicey, getting someone exercise-related stuff, but those both make aspects of his preferred outdoor activities much more convenient.
posted by teremala at 10:22 AM on December 21, 2018

This might be something that you don't do in your family, but have you asked him? I know some people like to give gifts that they (the givers) have thought of, to show that you have thought about it and know the recipient. On the other hand, psychologists find that people are on average happier when they get what they ask for. If you want to merge the two, you could say "I was thinking of getting you X, Y, or Z. Would you like any of those, is there something else you would like, or should I surprise you?"
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 10:27 AM on December 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

As a thirty-something man with a toddler, I think that your idea of slippers is right on. I'd also suggest a nice robe. Makes sitting around with a baby much more palatable in the dark winter months.

LL Bean has good selections of both.

But, as mentioned, you can never go wrong with booze.
posted by fso at 11:26 AM on December 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

This suggestion may be over your available budget. My brother, also a tech-y dad who likes cooking, has spent the last year perfecting his sous vide method and recipes. He likes that he can get it underway quickly and then not worry about it. There's a lot of supplementary materials (bags, cookbooks, containers) that could also be included. My brother has a Joule, but there are other brands and they are available at places like Kohl's, Bed Bath and Beyond and Williams Sonoma. Good Luck!
posted by thatquietgirl at 11:56 AM on December 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

Agree with suggestions above for slippers. I would buy a nicer pair than what a person would get for themselves.

Also, for all the cooks in my life, I have gifted a cast iron grill pan and/or an pressure pot in the past couple years. Winners every time:)
posted by jraz at 12:01 PM on December 21, 2018

If he's a drummer he probably is always in need of sticks or a new cymbal/drum/etc. Do you know if he has a particular shop he normally goes to to buy these things? A gift certificate to there (or a generic Visa one) wrapped up with a toy drum (for the kid) might work?
posted by bowmaniac at 12:06 PM on December 21, 2018

I was just going to ask if he grills. Can't go wrong with nice grilling equipment. Or an upgrade to existing kitchen equipment, especially a nice set of knives if they don't have them.
posted by dancing_angel at 12:06 PM on December 21, 2018

Another vote in favor of a sous vide cooker. We use ours all the time, it’s super convenient and very fun to play with. The Anova is $129 on Amazon, last I checked.
posted by faineg at 4:36 PM on December 21, 2018

Things my husband enjoyed in new dadhood included a great pair of noise-cancelling headphones when he was sleep training our baby, nice slippers, and he unexpectedly LOVES matching w our kids and so matching Daddy-Baby beanies, t-shirts, hoodies etc go over really well and are pretty innocuous
posted by sestaaak at 8:06 PM on December 21, 2018

Late to the party, but I love all things Notes To Self. Here's a selection of dad-related products (including socks, pillowcases, and more).
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 7:33 AM on December 23, 2018

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