Gift ideas please!
December 2, 2020 12:16 AM   Subscribe

I have two people I would like to buy gifts for. One is my mom, who helped take care of me and my baby for 3 months. I would like to get her something that will kind of commemorate her time with him. I was thinking of something where I could print a photo album of pictures I took of them, or perhaps a customizable piece of jewelry? I'm just not sure where to get these done. Any other ideas welcome! The one "bond" I guess they share is that they have the same birthday.

The other person is her boyfriend, who has been helping pick up the slack at their home while my mom was occupied. He is retired and kind of just putts around the house. I would like to get him something kind of fun and quirky. He lives kind of a boring life and doesn't really have many interests besides watching TV. I've checked with my mom about what he might like and she says he's simple and doesn't want anything at the moment. She's already bought him a new wallet and watch that he still hasn't used, preferring to use his old ones. The best I could come up for him is a dart board for his room but that may be sort of juvenile as he's approaching 70 years old...
posted by Forty-eight to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Does she wear necklaces? I recently received a lovely necklace with my children’s’ birthstones and their initials engraved in a little pendant. Maybe something like that since she would share the same birthstone as your baby it would hold additional significance. I think you can get something like this on Etsy in a range of styles and price points.

For the boyfriend, does he drink tea or coffee while he watches tv? How about a nice solid mug, perhaps personalised as well? Useful and connected to you every time he uses it.
posted by like_neon at 2:16 AM on December 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

Etsy is great for customized jewelry, and for my money CVS is hands down the most convenient and affordable place to order photo-books, photo mugs, photo calendars, and so on.
posted by MiraK at 4:39 AM on December 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

For Mom: I'd do the photo album. Snapfish does photo books and usually has some kind of huge discount for new customers. I think the kiosks at Walmart and Costco can make those too.

For boyfriend: Nothing wrong with a dartboard, get one of the electronic soft-tip ones. I know 70-year-olds who love to play. Arachnid makes good ones starting around $60.

Or, does he drink? Assuming it's not unhealthy or addictive for him, a bottle of nice scotch or bourbon or whatever he drinks, a notch better than his usual.

Or, what does he watch on TV? (Hopefully it's not Fox News.) If he's 70 and he watches TV, chances are there are one or more classic shows he likes, and they're not on TV much anymore. A boxed set of "Cheers" or "The Dick van Dyke Show" or whatever he's into. Or if he's not tech-phobic, something like an Apple TV or Amazon TV box he can use to watch Netflix and other streaming services.
posted by mmoncur at 4:47 AM on December 2, 2020

For your mom a locket with a picture of the baby (and you?) might be nice - it’s a way to combine the two ideas a bit.

I like the dart board idea. If there’s a place to hang it where the tv is, he can play while he watches. Maybe if you’re in the climate for it a pair of very nice slippers? LLBean makes incredibly warm and comfy slippers (called Wicked Good) that make indulgent and useful gifts.
posted by jeoc at 4:59 AM on December 2, 2020

For your mom, and especially if you have the bandwidth, you should think about a digital picture frame. You can set it up with photos specific to the time you just spent together and then update it along the way --- particularly if she lives far enough away that this was truly a special time and her future visits will be more sporadic. That way she will continue to have lovely pictures of her grandchild and updates of your life as well.
posted by ilikecookies at 5:34 AM on December 2, 2020

I love the album idea. When I my 'rainbow baby' was placed with us for adoption as a newborn in a sort of last minute whirlwind surprise, one amazing friend came over to visit and used her nearly professional-level skills to take some amazing pictures of us which I posted on Facebook. Another friend saw those photos and had one of those photo collages created, framed and sent to me. Nearly eight years later I have so much delight in looking back at those first early weeks of getting to know each other, bonding, the gentle but strong cuddles that over time developed into the amazing, inseparable, telepathic relationship we have today. And my son delights in looking at those pictures too, and being told about what his first weeks of life were like (even though in his case it's a complicated story). So a gift of those photos is in a way a gift to baby, too.
posted by MustangMamaVE at 7:05 AM on December 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

My mom really loved the photo album I gave her, which I ordered from Chatbooks. (I have a referral code with a discount if you want to MeMail me about it.) The hardcover was great quality. The thing that really put it over the top though was that I raided her photo albums of my infancy and scanned them, and then put them side to side by dates. (So, one week old me, one week old grandbaby.)

If your mom's boyfriend likes to eat, get him a nice edible gift. Basket of good crackers, some salami, hearty mustard... everyone gets sweets for the holidays, a savory basket is usually a big hit.
posted by juniperesque at 7:38 AM on December 2, 2020

GLDN makes really cute customizable jewelry (like this or this). I got this necklace set for my mom and sister and me a few Christmases ago and it was very well received.

I've been happy with the photo books I've gotten from Artifact Uprising. I like how clean their designs and layouts are compared to a lot of photo companies (but that's personal preference, of course).

Agree with everyone else that you should get the boyfriend something edible!
posted by catoclock at 7:58 AM on December 2, 2020

We have done some lovely photobooks with Shutterfly, and you can almost always find a coupon. (If you do any ordering from Carter's for your baby, you'll get a coupon in the shipped package for a free 8x8 book or the value of it towards an upgraded book.)

Another vote for food for the boyfriend. A couple of years back, someone here suggested Frog Hollow for their fruit. I ordered pears for my husband, and he proclaimed them the best he'd had. They were selected as one of Oprah's favorite things or some such, so you have to catch those at the right moment or they sell out. But they had other nice gift baskets that i considered for myself.
posted by BlueBear at 8:33 AM on December 2, 2020

I have used Artifact Uprising to print photo books in the past and have been thrilled with the quality, if you decide to go with a photo book or even a framed print for your mom, which I think is a great gift. If you have a photo of her with the baby that's particularly flattering to her, I bet she'd adore it.

For your mom's boyfriend, I agree with some other commenters that a consumable gift or an experience gift will go over better if he truly says he doesn't need anything. If movie theaters were a thing right now I'd suggest a gift card packed up with some Milk Duds or other good theater candy. What about ordering him some Cougar Gold cheese? There is something so quirky and funny about receiving a wheel of cheese in the mail, and I have it on good authority that the cheese itself is delicious. If he has a sweet tooth, maybe a selection of Tony's Chocolonely chocolate bars? They're really good chocolate, dedicated to being 100% slave-free in their manufacturing process, and still a bit unusual to find in the US so they're something new.

If you really feel that a non-edible gift would be called for, I've never ever given a man a belt knife or pocket knife and seen them be upset about it. What about a specialty knife that would help him to delve into a new interest, like an Opinel mushroom knife?
posted by DSime at 9:12 AM on December 2, 2020

For your mom: custom refrigerator magnet photo. It will stay on her fridge for yeeeears.
posted by aniola at 9:13 AM on December 2, 2020

Aniola, I still smile every time I see the refrigerator magnet I got when my adult daughter was in kindergarten. I Look at it daily, and her kids love seeing her magnet there every time they come over, too. This is inspiring me to request she make magnets of her kids for me!
posted by citygirl at 10:08 AM on December 2, 2020

Nthing a photo album. Other successful photos gifts I’ve done in the past are mugs and calendars and magnets.
posted by robertthebruce at 12:15 PM on December 2, 2020

Sorry, missed edit window. For her boyfriend, does he drink? A nice bottle of whiskey or a case of specialty beers (with nut/cheese/fruit pairings), etc. might go down well?
posted by robertthebruce at 12:17 PM on December 2, 2020

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