gift recommendations needed: physical therapist edition
December 14, 2019 8:48 PM   Subscribe

In our family Christmas grab bag, I have drawn the name of a cousin's fiancee, whom I have only met briefly once. Help me figure out something even a little clever or thoughtful to give this nearly perfect stranger!

I follow her on social media, but pretty much all I know about her is that she:
- is in her mid 20s
- loves my cousin, and
- is studying to become a physical therapist

Beyond that, she seems to enjoy many of the same things my cousin enjoys, such as beer and music, but I don't necessarily want to give her something that's, you know, potentially more "for him."

It occurred to me that maybe something relevant to her profession, or being a med student in general, etc., might be good, but I don't know enough about those things to generate any particularly good ideas.

They seem pleasantly weird, as a couple, so off-the-wall suggestions are welcome too!

Thanks in advance, o wise mefite gifters.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese to Human Relations (12 answers total)
This is in no way relevant to anything she does, but when I need to buy a present for someone I know very little about, I’ve always been successful with a bottle of fancy maple syrup. Like, not just real maple syrup, but a fancy version that usually comes in a little bottle.
posted by Weeping_angel at 9:47 PM on December 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

I don't have a specific suggestion, but in similar circumstances, I've looked at who the giftee herself follows on social media -- sometimes that gives you more specific clues to what they're interested in. (Like I, for example, follow a lot of Instagram accounts for ceramicists with similar style; you could get me a vase from an indie ceramics places and I'd be thrilled. Etc.)
posted by Countess Sandwich at 9:48 PM on December 14, 2019 [5 favorites]

Do you have any contact with your cousin? This would absolutely be ask-the-soon-to-be-spouse territory for me.

If not, I always try and do something consumable or an experience- like, a slightly fancier restaurant they might enjoy a gift certificate to or an introductory set of lessons on a new-to-them skill that might be up their alley (rock climbing! skiing! painting! whatever).
posted by charmedimsure at 10:17 PM on December 14, 2019 [6 favorites]

Does she wear jewelry? Can you get a sense of her style from photos and find some earrings or a bracelet? At local Holiday markets these days you can find lovely handmade jewelry, knitted hats, etc.
posted by waving at 11:32 PM on December 14, 2019

I feel like it's a mistake to try to learn about the person in order to get them something related to their area of expertise or their personal style or the hobbies they're already invested in. You'll likely be just off the mark a bit, and the person will be polite about it and that will be that.

The best-received gifts I've given to people I don't know well have always been interesting/unique things from *my* life, not theirs. A gift pack of foods from my town, a mix-a-six-pack of local microbrews with some local cheese and crackers, fingerless gloves or flip-top mittens made by a local Etsy person, that sort of thing. There's no awkwardness with that stuff, because even if they don't like it they can share it, and it gives you something to talk about besides their work so that you can get to know each other a bit.
posted by headnsouth at 6:16 AM on December 15, 2019 [8 favorites]

I sometimes get nice picture frames for people I don’t know. Most people can use picture frames (though if you have a childhood picture of your cousin to put in the frame, that might be even better).
posted by FencingGal at 6:28 AM on December 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

Figure out where she shops and buy something non personal (like a scarf rather than leggings) from there for whatever amount and include a gift receipt. If she likes the gift, great! If not, she can easily exchange for something she does want
posted by raccoon409 at 8:25 AM on December 15, 2019

Elaborating slightly on headnsouth's suggestion of something from your experience, perhaps something with a "welcome to the family" aspect. We gave a new daughter-in-law a Christmas stocking (for hanging by the chimney with care) when she and our son spent Christmas with us.
posted by SemiSalt at 9:06 AM on December 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

I work with a bunch of students (pharmacy students, but some physical therapy students as well) who are that age. They all seem to enjoy designer stuff, like Tory Burch or Kate Spade accessories. It doesn't have to be over the top - Kate Spade has a line of fun water bottles or wine glasses for example that you can get on Amazon for $30-$50. Working in a medical field is super low-glamour, and having student loans sucks, and professional school is a long haul. I think the designer stuff provides a real sense of having arrived. Like, if you have a designer bracelet or accessory you can look down at it and feel like you are a real grown up at last. A little glamour goes a long way when you are toiling away in the hospital!
posted by selfmedicating at 9:40 AM on December 15, 2019

A nice tumbler for coffee. I love the 20-ounce Yeti. Add in a bag of Starbucks or Pete’s coffee.

Fandango gift cards plus restaurant gift card for a dinner and a movie.

Cell phone carry thingie. Cool thing to have to prevent losing your phone when no pockets and not carrying a purse.
posted by loveandhappiness at 11:53 AM on December 15, 2019

Greys Anatomy scrubs were designed as actor wardrobe for the TV show and then became a clothing line.

They come in appealing colours, the cuts are designed to subtly enhance the figure (clever details on the women's styles, like elastic waists only at the back where they add a bit of flattering volume to the butt, paired with a flat drawstring front which reduces puffing and wrinkling at the hip; waist tabs to pull in a little hourglass silhouette, etc). The fabric is washable and very soft, and they are extremely comfortable, and kind of fancy. They're so good that most other medical TV shows use them for their actor wardrobe, too. I gave a pair to a nurse as a gift and they were very well received.

Giving a full outfit like scrubs can of course be risky if the person is very picky or is a difficult size to fit, but if they are well represented on a standard clothing size chart and have clear colour preferences, these could be a real winner.

A gift card to Lululemon would probably also be appreciated. Physios wear workout gear a lot, and Lulu's leggings and fitted jackets are fantastic.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 12:02 PM on December 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Caution on the scrubs thing that many hospitals require staff to wear color coded scrubs based on role. If she's a student, she might have multiple hospitals she's rotating through.

Ask your cousin what she is interested in outside of work, and get her something along those lines. A few months of a subscription service like Audible or Blue Apron might be nice. (An easy healthy meal kit would have been a godsend when I was a student!)
posted by basalganglia at 7:25 PM on December 15, 2019

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