Gift idea for first office?
October 15, 2021 3:14 AM   Subscribe

My wife has her 41 birthday coming up and I would like to get her something for her new office. She is a medical doctor and recently switched to a desk job at a trade union. This is the first time she has her own office, so can you think of something nice I could get her?

We have a three year old, so I always can get her a nice framed photo, but maybe there is something more... original? useful?
posted by SweetLiesOfBokonon to Shopping (17 answers total)
 
Something that converts her desk to a standing desk if she wants?

Something like this.
posted by kuanes at 3:29 AM on October 15, 2021


Best answer: In addition to whatever other object, you should also include nice framed family photos- and some kind of framed three-year-old art as well.
posted by rockindata at 3:51 AM on October 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


Something to make her space more pleasant and less sterile! This very much depends on her personal aesthetic.

Does she have any natural light? If not, a nice office plant (like pothos, that is very hard to kill and requires little sunlight) and a UV light can make that more tolerable. I'm a fan of office plants regardless, though one of my old coworkers had a lovely fake plant so she wouldn't have to water it.

A nice foot stool can help with poor office desk ergonomics - for shorter people (and I'm 5'7", so most women), the standard desk is way too high to comfortably position your feet on the floor while typing/at a computer.

A small, auto-shut off space heater. Offices can be frigid.
posted by DoubleLune at 5:11 AM on October 15, 2021


Luckily a framed family photo is always good but I would caution against deciding it’s for an office. If she’s in a OB/GYN office there’s always baby and family photos everywhere. But if she’s in a trade union office that’s male dominated, women are often seen as “not committed to work” when they have too many family photos up.
posted by raccoon409 at 5:22 AM on October 15, 2021 [3 favorites]


Best answer: In my office, the things that I enjoy the most are my own coffee machine and, believe it or not, a nice desk lamp with a bulb that feels like real sunlight (it's a tall decorative lamp that almost looks like a vase). The lamp makes the room feel so much more homey.

If you don't want to give one of those, I would suggest a real piece of art. A small, framed painting is perfect for an office.
posted by jraz at 5:32 AM on October 15, 2021


A nice shawl or throw for when the office is inevitably too cold. I like folding it and using mine as a backrest or draped over my legs. Also seconding a foot rest.

Otherwise, my favorite gift so far is someone else offering to frame my degrees and prints for my office. Like, I know what I want on my walls, I’m just too lazy to get them framed properly.

My least favorite gift is a fussy office plant someone got me. It pretends to die dramatically each month.
posted by inevitability at 5:43 AM on October 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


Electric tea kettle? (And or related hot drink accessories?)
posted by eotvos at 6:03 AM on October 15, 2021 [2 favorites]


A small, auto-shut off space heater. Offices can be frigid.

I wouldn't do this unless you know the company's policy--they're often verboten as fire hazards.
posted by dlugoczaj at 6:47 AM on October 15, 2021


If I ever had to go to an office again, I would definitely take a lamp with a nice warm bulb in it, to cut through the usual fluorescent overheads.

My preference is to have a mini-fridge, but I could make do with a micro-fridge.

If the office isn't carpeted (and maybe even if it is, if it's the thin industrial stuff with no padding), I like a throw rug under my desk.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:10 AM on October 15, 2021


Well, the classic is a fancy brass name plate for the desk, unless that’s something the workplace already provides. I also just did an image search for “caduceus plaque” and got some lovely results.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:21 AM on October 15, 2021


I loved my digital picture frame. I could have dozens of pics and illustrations in a slide show, hold on one, or turn it off. Homey but discreet.

One or two low light, no-kill plants (the pothos suggested upthread is a great idea).

A mug warmer or a really great insulated mug. My son bought an Ember for himself and it broke within a few uses, but he could have had a one-off as they seem to be highly rated. My go-to is a Yeti Rambler desk mug (rather than a travel mug).

A really nice pencil cup, maybe made of brass or ceramic, engraved if made from metal.

A Rocketbook notepad/notebook. My Orbit is great for jotting down notes and means I don't have random sticky notes everywhere, nor am I using paper for ephemeral thoughts.
posted by angiep at 7:32 AM on October 15, 2021


Does she have a little box or pouch for "emergency" things one needs at the office, like a phone charger, chapstick, lotion, nail file/clippers, tampons(or whatever), deodorant, gum/toothbrush/toothpaste, toothpicks, baby wipes, anti static clothing spray, detergent or stain remover pen, hair brush, ceramic mug etc. Might need her input about what she would actually need, but it would be so nice if someone put that together.

Easy low water plants.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 10:28 AM on October 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


Best answer: I suggest a picture of something in a frame. What the something is depends on many things. When I was in the same situation, my wife does a lot of work with spreadsheets. I got her a framed picture of Plimpton 322, a Babylonian spreadsheet from 1800 BC that contains the oldest known spreadsheet whoopsie. She liked the feeling of being a part of a grand tradition that dates back almost 4000 years. Plus it makes a great conversation piece.
posted by BeeDo at 12:50 PM on October 15, 2021 [2 favorites]


I bought my partner a small wooden box with sentimental meaning, then hid little notes in their lunch/coat/work bag a couple times a week. The box was a perfect place for them to put the notes they discovered once they got to work. (Now they are 100% work-from-home, so I have to get a little more creative with the note hiding.)
posted by _Mona_ at 4:56 AM on October 16, 2021


Gift certificate to shop that sells expensive chairs?

Depending on what her work supplies, an extra monitor, or bluetooth mouse and keyboard? A really good ergonomic keyboard tray? Nothing says "badass" like a 30" monitor ...

Humidifier or white noise machine? Under desk heater for sure, even if verboten. Those are necessary.

Expensive desk accessories or pens? Expensive paper pads (even just the more expensive ones from Staples) feel so much nicer than the cheap ones.

Massive box of post-it notes in every color and shape?

A nice "Behind the door" blazer/sweater? (One that is always kept there for unplanned meetings)

Now is a good time of year to order an amaryllis, they do well in an office.
posted by bluesky78987 at 8:00 AM on October 16, 2021


Another caution against photos of the kids: she's old enough for age discrimination to be an issue, and might not want to remind coworkers of how old she is.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:19 PM on October 16, 2021


Response by poster: Thanks! Ended up framing a very nice photo of us and one of our daughter, was much appreciated.
posted by SweetLiesOfBokonon at 3:59 AM on November 12, 2021 [1 favorite]


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