Simple, sweet, bereavement gift?
May 9, 2019 5:02 PM   Subscribe

My friend's partner sadly just died after a long illness. I would like to send him a small gift that's sweet and maybe a little non-traditonal / irreverent in tone, but thoughtful and affectionate. A few requirements and details inside:

He's 45 ish, playful, honest, gentle and a bit quirky. I don't know him very closely but we've been warm, affectionate acquaintances for over a decade.

I'd like to send him a small, brightening gift, in the $10-20 range, that could be mailed directly to his home with no extra hassle (so nothing oversized). We're both in Canada.

When a female friend with a similar temperament recently lost someone, I sent her a variety pack of face masks, an adult colouring book of irreverent/honest expressions like "this is bullshit", and a pack of markers for colouring. I'd like something similar in tone, but more male-focussed- he's not a toxic-masculinity type guy by any means, but I think he'd enjoy something less feminine.

Yesterday I asked him for his address and he texted it back with SEND ME SOMETHING NICE! So I feel it's appropriate to be a little bit funny- that will make him feel more cared-for than something more formal, if that makes sense?
Thanks for any advice.
posted by nouvelle-personne to Shopping (12 answers total)
A nice candle that smells like something either you and he shared or he and his partner shared. For example, if they loved going to the beach, there are plenty of candles scented “beach” or “ocean” and you could write a lovely (and funny) note about your memories.
posted by sallybrown at 5:11 PM on May 9

i think the coloring book is appropriate, and also something like this. i bought this for someone and they loved it, and it kept them occupied during a stressful time.
posted by koroshiya at 5:13 PM on May 9 [8 favorites]

Do you know what he likes to read? A good hefty book can be a welcome distraction from grief. Especially a lighthearted one that doesn't focus on a relationship or romance. Maybe a selection of Discworld of Bill Bryson?

My friend gave me her copies of Wicked and Son of a Witch when I was going through a hard time a while back. It was the best gift.
posted by ananci at 5:24 PM on May 9 [1 favorite]

I’d check out Lots of possibilities, depending on specific interests.
I like the Minecraft lava lamp and the Dr. Who TARDIS coffee press.
posted by FencingGal at 6:00 PM on May 9

Cellar Door candles is a company I really like. Non-petroleum wax, lead-free wicks, sophisticated scents, quality packaging, etc. A candle from them would qualify as "send me something nice." (I have no relationship to them except as a customer.)
posted by salvia at 8:10 PM on May 9

Gift certificate for a nearby movie theater with enough for a couple movies or one movie and snacks? Sometimes a movie is the most comforting way to get your mind off distressing things. You could include a coupon for "1 friend to accompany you to the movies. Redeemable anytime, but only if desired."
I love seeing movies alone, but just in case it would trouble your friend, hopefully that's a good way to let them know you are there for them.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 8:56 PM on May 9 [3 favorites]

Colouring books and markers, plus a chocolate bar.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:28 AM on May 10

a waterproof bluetooth speaker, the kind you can hang in the shower. you can get an alright one for 20 bones off amazon.
posted by speakeasy at 3:19 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]

A particularly squishy and plush stuffed animal
posted by ChuraChura at 3:40 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]

I agree with pleasant and distracting book (although my picks would never include Wicked.) James Herriott's books maybe? Funny books -- maybe David Sedaris Holidays on Ice if he's somehow never read it? -- or, possibly, Naked, which is also funny but bittersweet, it's about the author's own bereavement. Gerald Durrell's Corfu trilogy, especially My Family & Other Animals, is hilarious, gentle, and escapist.

Or does your friend ever bake? A bag of really high quality chocolate feves and a baking recipe book is an elegant gift, and if he's not up to it he can just eat the feves.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:03 AM on May 10

When my father passed away, a friend sent me a small wind chime that couldn't have cost more than $20. I hadn't heard of this but I found it surprisingly sweet. Googling suggests that "memorial wind chimes" are a Thing but I wasn't able to find the meaning/history behind it. Maybe someone else knows or can find it, or maybe it's just due to the calm and comfort of the sound of the chimes. Not irreverent so maybe not really what you're looking for, but I found it comforting without being cloying or overly-serious.
posted by 2 cats in the yard at 11:19 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]

So many lovely answers, thank you all! I think the model roller coaster suggested by koroshiya will be exactly perfect for this person!
posted by nouvelle-personne at 5:28 AM on May 11

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