Not that time of year again.....!
September 28, 2007 11:11 AM   Subscribe

Imminent birthday (mine). And I don't know what to ask for birthday-present. Problem is - I have all I think I need. Special One whimpers about and want's to give me something anyway.

Okey - so what can I tell her I want? No books. Charity - we're already doing that. Clothes - no way. Period. Wristwatch - got one. Movies - I wanna scream. Something for the car, perhaps - how about gas?
I mean: We've got the basic stuff of life covered, and anything in the luxuary-departement that I want, I already bought.
So Hivers: What do you think a male 30-something would need and that he, himself don't know that he misses?
posted by Rabarberofficer to Human Relations (38 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is why I like to give (and receive) tickets to events, or memberships to museums, or some sort of non-thing thing.
posted by occhiblu at 11:12 AM on September 28, 2007

Lottery tickets?
posted by fallenposters at 11:15 AM on September 28, 2007

A backrub or something? A dinner with her at a favorite restaurant? Something personal, and something that's not going to end up piled up in your closet.
posted by fogster at 11:16 AM on September 28, 2007

I would go experiences as well. Perhaps something the two of you can do together? (one night in a nearby but romantic B&B? a meal at a special restaurant) Tickets to an event you might feel guilty buying for yourself (For my SO, I might go for Cirque de Soleil) For family members who didn't want "things" I have given Fruit of the Month and Netflix subscriptions.
posted by metahawk at 11:18 AM on September 28, 2007

Best answer: Like you, I'm pretty terrible to buy gifts for. Most of the tangible items I want or truly need I either already possess or are financially unattainable. When someone special to me asks what to give me as a gift, my answer is always this:

"An experience."
posted by majick at 11:18 AM on September 28, 2007

I always start by perusing through the archives of Cool Tools. They usually have something that I want and will actually use.
posted by chrisamiller at 11:19 AM on September 28, 2007

Best answer: A 12-hour sexathon, complete with strip teases and lingerie changes. No, I'm not kidding.
posted by Anonymous at 11:19 AM on September 28, 2007

Nifty DVR, Xbox+halo ?

Cooking classes?

Couple hours of massage at a spa ?

Puppy ?

GPS (Garmin Nuvi for the car).

Really nice bottle of scotch, or tickets to a tasting event somewhere.

Power tools? Worm drive circular saw, shop vac (must have one of these). New cordless tool kit ? Nice chest of drawers to organize previously acquired tools.

Gift certificates to REI?

Pony ?
posted by iamabot at 11:20 AM on September 28, 2007

Depending on the $ dropped, some special food, a mini vacation (even a weekend)...
posted by edgeways at 11:20 AM on September 28, 2007

I got a car GPS for my bday and I love it love it love it.
Otherwise... art for the walls?
posted by xo at 11:21 AM on September 28, 2007

homemade gourmet dinner
lessons in cooking, dance, photography, whatever you're into
music CDs
something sentimental for you two (photo collection?)
hot air balloon ride
day at the go-kart track and/or arcade
a non-crappy pair of sunglasses
a heated mattress pad
posted by vytae at 11:27 AM on September 28, 2007

are you a shut in too?

Go out to a nice dinner or a concert or go on a trip to a bread and breakfast. Have a damn experience for once.

This isn't that hard. I'm one of those people who rarely wants material things for his birthday but I love spending it having an experience with someone even if it's as cheap as lunch at chipolte.
posted by Stynxno at 11:28 AM on September 28, 2007

It sounds like your problem is that the SO is complaining when you say you don't want / don't want to receive anything. Tell the SO that it's fine if they pick out something you would like -- after all, if you knew you wanted it, you would have already bought it. Accept whatever the SO presents with good grace and appreciation.
posted by yohko at 11:28 AM on September 28, 2007

Gift certificate to a fancy restaurant.
posted by zackola at 11:29 AM on September 28, 2007

Prior AskMe about intangible gifts, which I asked a couple years ago.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:34 AM on September 28, 2007

Best answer: It's kinda like charity, but not quite: lending money to someone(s) via Kiva means they get a business on its feet and you get the money back to re-lend after a few months. Recycling the goodness.

(I am not associated with them, except as a lender.)
posted by lauranesson at 11:36 AM on September 28, 2007

posted by ND¢ at 11:46 AM on September 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

I like the suggestion of some sort of experience. But, barring that, why not ask for something handmade?

I don't know how crafty your SO is or anything, but it seems you have all the material goods you need covered. So, it'd be more worthwhile to get something personal, worth having for its symbolism than its actual value.
posted by Ms. Saint at 11:47 AM on September 28, 2007

Recently, when my partner and family put me on the spot by asking the same question, I asked for homemade or inexpensive consumable gifts.

- a cheap but tasty bottle of wine is really two presents. One, I get a bottle of wine! Two, I have another everyday wine to add to my list. (I asked this of my oenophile brother. Of the whiskey-drinking brother, I would've asked for a small bottle of inexpensive but drinkable Scotch. The chocolate-loving buddy, I would ask for the dark chocolate of their choice. You get the idea.)
- a clipping from a favorite houseplant, rooted and potted. I need more houseplants!
- a dinner out, or a dinner party at home. Or brunch!

If there's something the giver makes well (but not professionally), that's always a ripe category for requests. I love the scarves my mother knits, the pasta one brother makes, and the photos the other brother takes. They in turn often ask me for jewelry, or for homemade bread, or for my chocolate-dipped biscotti.

I've also had good luck offering categories rather than specific items. When my partner asked what I wanted for Christmas, I told him "something to make me feel sexy." That left the field wide open, and he surprised and delighted me with, among other things, a black silk jacquard bathrobe. If I'd said "lingerie," he would have been stymied, but leaving the category open made it easy for him to come up with his own idea based on his knowledge of my tastes, rather than check pre-selected items off a list.
posted by Elsa at 11:54 AM on September 28, 2007

Guide Pony!
posted by spec80 at 11:56 AM on September 28, 2007

Gift Certificates? You might now want something right now, but 6 months from now...
posted by blue_beetle at 12:00 PM on September 28, 2007

Some money on to become a micro-loanshark.

Every man needs a fedora and a pocketwatch. Or, at least they DID, so why buck tradition.

A Model-T style car horn and a Chilton or Haynes repair manual for your model of car and install it yourself...AaaahWooooGaaaa!

One Laptop per Child ( - Give One Get One - for a limited time, you can get a Linux, bomb-proof lap-top and give one to a deserving child in another part of the world.

A nice Silva compass and a contour map of some random local area to practice your orienteering.

A Gross of Bamboo Backscratchers so your back will never go unscratched again. (They're about $.25 each in that quantity)

At least, those are the things on my wish list.
posted by Seamus at 12:04 PM on September 28, 2007

I never know what I want either. I always want nothing. That's no fun.

Seconding hot air balloon ride.

I wanted to give my husband a hot air balloon ride for his birthday. He's not interested -- heights and all. Bummer. If you're not afraid of heights, how about it? I don't know if it's getting too chilly in Sweden to do this.

Or how about a ferry ride to a surrounding island for exploring and lunch?
posted by LoriFLA at 12:14 PM on September 28, 2007

I love my Logitech Harmony Remote Control.

Failing that, either a donation to charity or tickets to a show of some sort would be good.
posted by backwards guitar at 12:30 PM on September 28, 2007

How about just picking a vacation? If you don't want her to spend a ton of money, maybe you two could plan a vacation and have her deposit the first cash into your vacation fund. She gets the enjoyment of planning something special with you, but you're not wasting money or asking her for too much. And both of you get something to look forward to!
posted by eralclare at 12:42 PM on September 28, 2007

2nding schroedinger. Especially the strip teases, but that might just be me.

Alternately, if she insists on buying something, ask for lingerie that fits her.
posted by nobeagle at 12:50 PM on September 28, 2007

TiVo, Leatherman tool, and/or pizza. You can never have to many of any of these.
posted by Wild_Eep at 1:02 PM on September 28, 2007

A rainbow maker (everyone needs one)

An ecosystem (everyone needs one of these too)

Ask her to name a star after the you or name two (one for each)...then you can spend an evening on a blanket together.

Red envelope always has nice ideas for things that you wouldn't think of as well.
posted by NotInTheBox at 1:25 PM on September 28, 2007

Did someone already say satalite radio.

Or a fish?
posted by NotInTheBox at 1:26 PM on September 28, 2007

Best answer: Hear me out on this one. If I had to but a present for someone like you, I would go to a gun-shop and get a nice large (preferably inert) bullet. I would then take it to an engraver and get it engraved with your name. And the present it to you in a lovely box.

Think about it - if there's a bullet out there with your name on it, wouldn't you want to have it safe and sound in a box. Coz what are the odds of there being *two* bullets with your name on it? Amirite?
posted by tim_in_oz at 1:27 PM on September 28, 2007 [8 favorites]

• I love the experience thing but make sure you provide the things that go along and make the experience possible. Guitar lessons suck if you don't have someone watching the kids while you go. A weekend video-editing seminar blows if you now have to do twice as many chores next weekend.

• I turned 50 and instead of presents, my wife had a party and invited every friend and neighbor who played an instrument or sang (as well as others) and the music, wine and beer flowed for hours. I'll remember it forever ... especially since it moved me one step closer toward my goal in life ... to be Rob Petrie.
posted by lpsguy at 1:49 PM on September 28, 2007

Thirding GPS for the car. It will change your life.
posted by SampleSize at 3:18 PM on September 28, 2007

A passport.
posted by eritain at 3:45 PM on September 28, 2007

For Valentine's Day, I had the local copy shop print me a batch of business cards that said in red ink "I love you because . . ." at the top. They also punched 2 holes in the left side. I picked up a pack of notebook rings at an office supply store. I filled out about 70 of the cards with all kinds of reasons, serious, sappy, silly. He loved the little book. The whole shebang cost me about $50.

So, yeah, that's not the kind of thing you can ask for easily, but maybe specify that you don't want a "thing*?
posted by booksherpa at 9:00 PM on September 28, 2007

Response by poster: Great Scott!

So many good ideas! I'm overwhelmed!

Thanks for all the input.

The guide-pony would be neat, but we don't have room. Balloon-flight, it's reachable. GPS - yes, that's practical. Wii, got that covered.

I'll probably go for an experience and let her surprise me.

Thanks again for your invaluable responses!
posted by Rabarberofficer at 2:29 AM on September 29, 2007

Gift certificates suck, since their value goes poof after a certain amount of time, and they lock you into shopping at a certain store. It's like taking money and removing all of its coolness.

Wow, the hot-air balloon ride sounds awesome. I'm a hard-to-shop-for person (I tend to buy the things I need, and I'm very particular about them!) and I think I'll mention this next time the appointed day rolls around.

What about taking a class together? See if the local adult-ed department or community college has something you're both interested in, like welding or sign language or something.
posted by Myself at 4:43 AM on September 29, 2007

A car?
posted by popechunk at 5:15 PM on September 29, 2007

Airplane tickets. Southwest does gift certificates (at whatever price).
posted by salvia at 8:53 PM on September 29, 2007

« Older Help my dad display pictures of the grandkids.   |   Can't find Anything Whatever Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.