Calling all creative gift givers
May 22, 2006 1:04 PM   Subscribe

Creative, clever gift-filter. I need an appropriate gift for each of two separate occasions in June: My mom's retirement, and my ex-girlfriend's wedding.

For each of these events, I'm looking for something mind-blowingly creative, in the $100 range. Please keep the suggestions as far away as possible from gift certificates, money, or wedding registry items. I know that the quality of the gift will ultimately depend on my detailed knowledge of their specific interests, but I'm in the ideation phase for now. Bonus points for presents that can be used more than once.

For my mom, I'd like something with one of the following themes: gardening, relaxation, or cooking.

The ex is a little more difficult since I know her quite well, but not the finance. Nonetheless, themes can include: the outdoors, travel, art, music, or food. Maybe something playful, yet still appropriate (our interactions continue to be mildly and innocently flirtatious).
posted by |n$eCur3 to Shopping (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
mom - ipod nano pre-subscribed to lots of gardening, relaxation and cooking podcasts?
posted by k8t at 1:07 PM on May 22, 2006

This isn't especially playful, but for the ex, what about a cool piece of art or furniture made from some kind of unusual material like stained glass? Once, for a friend's wedding gift, I located a nearby stained glass shop that did custom pieces and just sold random things they happened to have made. I bought a really cool little outdoor-type table (like for a deck or patio) with a stained glass mosaic design of a koi. It was unusual but well appreciated.
posted by justonegirl at 1:11 PM on May 22, 2006

For mom: a cooking class. I've given this gift a few times and it's great, especially if there is a cooking school or a particular class that fits your mother's interests.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 1:15 PM on May 22, 2006

For Mom's - a Spa gift certificate (she'll have time to use it!)
For the Ex - find out where they are registered and get something from the list--this is safe and neutral
posted by sandra194 at 1:40 PM on May 22, 2006

I adopted a tracked sea turtle for someone recently. She likes it.
posted by Uccellina at 1:53 PM on May 22, 2006 [2 favorites]

for mom,
put a big red bow around a kids red wagon (radio flyer for example) filled with a selection of garden tools, bulbs and supplies. (a set of knee pads or the padded kneeling surface are especially helpful for older ladies in the garden) don't forget some soft, thin gloves in the correct size!

for the ex-girlfriend, I have no Idea. I can't imagine wanting to go to an ex-girlfriends wedding.
posted by Megafly at 2:30 PM on May 22, 2006

Keep in mind that the wedding gift is to both your ex and her new husband, not just to her. You don't want to set yourself up as unwelcoming to the husband by appearing to ignore his tastes/preferences. Is there something the three of you have enjoyed together that you could riff off of?

Alternatively, is there something you know they enjoy doing together that you could riff off? For example, if they like to go camping together, you could get them some camping cookware (this is also fun because people so often get china when they get married). If they like to go on day trips, a picnic basket with dishes and cups inside...

For your mother, a membership to the local botanical garden or horitcultural society if there is one, especially if they give courses/workshops that she would enjoy.
posted by joannemerriam at 2:37 PM on May 22, 2006

for the ex:

first the one you won't get her: dave attel (from comedy central's insomniac) once got a friend anal beads for a wedding present. i think it's hysterical.

now the one you might:

tickets to a music festival that takes place after their honeymoon that involves music they like, maybe in a romantic location?

for the mom:

anal beads. totally. or not. I have no idea how to shop for parents. they boggle me.
posted by shmegegge at 3:03 PM on May 22, 2006

I just gave someone a wedding spice box from Penzeys which they loved. I did't use the standard Penzey's wedding box, but an Asian mix and then had them include the little packets of wedding spices that they include in their pre-made box.

Alternately it might be something your mom would like, minus the wedding part.
posted by jdl at 3:51 PM on May 22, 2006

I'm with sandra -- she will consider it thoughtful but will also be surprise, in a good way.
posted by bamassippi at 4:10 PM on May 22, 2006

Response by poster: Lot's of great ideas for mom. I like the ipod w/ podcasts, cooking classes, horticultural society membership and garden supply filled wagon. She has the spices pretty much covered though. All great ideas!

The turtle would be good for the ex, but maybe not for her husband. I love the idea. Furniture is a little too big. The ex is really going to be difficult to shop for. The camping cookwear is clever enough, but not exactly quite there yet.

Keep the ideas rolling, esp for the ex.
posted by |n$eCur3 at 4:19 PM on May 22, 2006

I think that getting anything other than a registry item for your ex is probably inappropriate.

Unless you have a VERY unique relationship with your ex and her new man (which you don't, seeing as how you hardly know him), you shouldn't be spending that much time thinking about her and what she might like. I would be very uncomfortable if an ex boyfriend gave me such a thought-out and unique gift for my wedding.

Plus, people register for a reason - to get what they want as gifts. Don't second guess them.
posted by clh at 5:12 PM on May 22, 2006

For ex: Buy and frame an uncut sheet of Wacky Packs.

For mom: Gadget crock, dog dish, etc personalized with name and retirement date, from Zotter the Potter.
posted by GaelFC at 6:57 PM on May 22, 2006

I second the wagon idea. One of my brothers bought one for my mum several years ago and it's used a lot. Filling it with gardening supplies is a brilliant idea.
posted by deborah at 8:25 PM on May 22, 2006

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