Remember me while you're away
January 7, 2008 5:08 AM   Subscribe

Help me come up with the perfect "remember me while you're away" gift.

For circumstances outside our control, a great friend that I love is going to outside communication for a couple of years. I'd like to give her something to remember us and the love we have for each other. I'm not particularly crafty so it'd be great if it was something that didn't require elaborate skills. (This is not jail, for those of you that were thinking it, and she will be living in a house). I realize this sounds like a hallmark moment and that 'the best gifts come from the heart', but other than some sort of picture collection I'm not coming up with anything exciting and new.
posted by mcarthey to Human Relations (23 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Will she have access to postal mail?
posted by fandango_matt at 5:28 AM on January 7, 2008

How about a nice picture of the two of you? Maybe of someplace special to the both of you. Put it in a very nice frame.
posted by Silvertree at 5:31 AM on January 7, 2008

I obviously don't know the kind of relationship you share with her, and this might be ENTIRELY too cheesy...

But I imagine if you will be completely out of contact for a couple years, she might need to hear your voice from time to time...

Maybe you could make a recording of yourself telling her you love her and various sundry other sweet/nice/comforting/encouraging things.

Or you could get her a sweet children's book (Goodnight Moon was what immediately came to mind) and you could make a recording of yourself reading it to her. That way, when she's feeling lonely, or sad, or just missing you, she can look at the book and listen to your voice.

Yah. I'm a geek.
posted by Mookbear at 5:38 AM on January 7, 2008 [3 favorites]

I was once in a similar situation and made a calendar to cover the time that we would be apart, put cheesy photos of us on each month, and marked fun/special days and anniversaries on the calendar. I just used Word templates to make the calendar and got a print shop to ring bind it on the top. It was pretty cheesy but well-appreciated!
posted by ukdanae at 5:47 AM on January 7, 2008

This may sound crazy, but I would go with a really nice pocketknife (since you said this wasn't jail.)

An item like this can be quite beautiful and refined, but incredibly useful in many situations. While some might go the Rushmore route and make it a Swiss Army, I recommend something slim, light, and razor sharp. It's the kind of item few people are likely to have already, so it can be a real one of a kind gift.

From a symbolic point of view, I like the idea of arming someone as they go off on an adventure where you can't protect them, and imbues the receiver with a sense of responsibility and capability that is as useful as the knife itself.

My sense of what is appropriate may be skewed though, as my dad has given me a knife as a gift for almost every important coming-of-age event.
posted by hermitosis at 5:54 AM on January 7, 2008

Is there anything you can anticipate her needing to use daily during this time? I'm thinking along the lines of giving a Swiss Army knife to someone going into the Peace Corps, that sort of thing. It'd be utilitarian, sure, but she'd remember you each time she used it.
posted by kimota at 5:57 AM on January 7, 2008

what's the approximate budget and timeframe here? the best gifts i've given/gotten are the ones used every day, so you're always reminded of the giver.

perhaps an ipod, nicely engraved with a personal message, pre-filled with all sorts of nice sentimental songs. of course, ipods are very expensive. smoker? drinker? engraved flask/cigarette case/lighter.

maybe a musical instrument, if she plays, but that's a pretty personal item, and if she's a pianist, well you better have deep pockets.

you could get her a moleskine and write something personal on the first few pages and tell her to fill up the rest for you when you see her again. that's almost like giving her a job though. maybe an awesome copy of an awesome book, with a personal inscription by you for her to remember you by.

just general suggestions though. without more details, i can't be more precise.
posted by knowles at 6:05 AM on January 7, 2008

How about naming a star for her? Stars can be seen from anywhere :)
posted by justonegirl at 6:16 AM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'd go with a t-shirt from someplace significant you have been to together. (Sorry, proper grammar doesn't kick in until 9 am.) For example, a bar, diner, coffee shop, movie theater, some small town on a road trip you went on. If they don't sell them at that special place, make one. You can find kits in any craft store to print iron-on things on your laser printer. You can buy pens to write on the t-shirt. Search AskMe for t-shirt recommendations.

It's useful, it's unlikely to be stolen, it will provoke memories of you and the times you had together. If someone special gave it to me, I'd wear it until it fell apart.

A similar idea (I don't know what kind of friend she is), would be a pillowcase with lovely thoughts in your handwriting so she can "see" you as she drifts off to dreaming.
posted by desjardins at 6:19 AM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

I forgot to mention that I think it's important this be a tangible gift, rather than just a recording or digital photos, etc. You can't "hug" those, but you can hold a piece of clothing or a stuffed animal close, and if she's going to be in a situation where loneliness is to be expected, this will provide more comfort than an iPod, IMHO.
posted by desjardins at 6:23 AM on January 7, 2008

or a freakin knife. She IS female... not that women don't need or use knives, but I don't know many women that would get sentimental about one.
posted by desjardins at 6:24 AM on January 7, 2008

A really nice pen and pencil set.

A photo album, half filled with pictures of things she'll want to remember (not just the two of you, but places and other people she loves), the other half not filled so she can fill it herself

Definitely I love the idea of a recording of your voice

A coffee cup carefully chosen to say something nice, so that each morning she thinks of you

A stuffed animal, small and not too cheesy, but cute and soft to hold onto, or a nice blanket meeting the same criteria; this gives her something tactile to hold onto and derive comfort from

A box full of letters written to her from you, each sealed in an envelope with a date on the outside telling her when to open it, so she has something new and exciting from you each month to look forward to and be surprised by

If she's going some place very different, and likes to cook, a set of recipes of favorite foods and the spices needed to make them; I find that having the right spices brings me right back home
posted by Capri at 6:24 AM on January 7, 2008

The #1 Best Evar Remember-Me-While-You're-Away gift:

A vibrator.

Of course, that depends on whether you two are "friends" or "Friends".
posted by LordSludge at 6:34 AM on January 7, 2008 [2 favorites]

Get her an awesome tattoo, maybe get yourself a matching or complimentry one at the same time. Pain and sentiment and memories all rolled into one.
posted by knowles at 6:40 AM on January 7, 2008

Nah, a vibrator is way too impersonal. Nothing says "remember me" like a lifesize replica of your penis.
posted by Caviar at 6:47 AM on January 7, 2008

It's totally cheezy, but maybe a compass necklace.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:48 AM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Use Shutterfly or Snapfish to make a calendar - a picture of the two of you, or someplace you loved, for each month. Takes 5 minutes and lasts all year!
posted by nkknkk at 6:58 AM on January 7, 2008

What about buying a small blank book or planner, and making her something that's almost like a year-long advent calendar of caring? The deal would be that she's only supposed to turn the pages one day at a time. If you didn't put the day of the week in, it'd be resusable. You wouldn't really need art skills, just a gluestick and a pen.

Some days could just be pictures that will make her smile, some days could be song lyrics about missing people (so many great songs out there... "Half a World Away" by R.E.M., pretty much anything from WWII...), some could be memories you've written down, or even little detachable presents. You could, for example, rip out the little music box from one of those cards that says things when you open them, and stick that in on the page for her birthday.

If she's going to be lonely and isolated, it would end up being something she could read any time she felt lonely to feel loved.
posted by Gianna at 6:59 AM on January 7, 2008

Because I am a moron...

A bottle of absinthe and a subscription to the Mushroom of the Month Club (grow your own)

Because you want her to remember that "Absinthe makes the heart grow fungus."
posted by Seamus at 8:00 AM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

not that women don't need or use knives, but I don't know many women that would get sentimental about one.

Hi. I'm rtha, female, and can tell you stories about how I acquired each of my knives. *shakes desjardins' hand*.

If you go with the calendar idea, these folks will do it for free. Under the "calendar orientation" drop-down, choose "portrait" and you can put your own photos in. It's not the slickest production evar, but I like it.

If you were picking something out for me, I'd like a bracelet, or even a ring. And I love the read-and-record-her-a-story idea.
posted by rtha at 8:55 AM on January 7, 2008

If she likes jewelry, a charm bracelet with charms that represent moments you've shared or inside jokes.

If she's into flowers or gardening, maybe a plant of some kind? She'll have to take care of it on a daily or at least weekly basis, and she'll think of you whenever she does.

I love the calendar idea. There are lots of websites that make it easy for you to make personalized calendars these days. Zazzle is my favorite.
posted by geeky at 12:44 PM on January 7, 2008

A scarf. Even though you indicate you're not crafty, knitting a scarf is extremely easy (and a bit boring, to be honest). You can just buy a nice one, of course.

Attach a "hand" on either end (just sew on some gloves) and your friend gets a hug from you every time she wears it.
(When you find this a bit too much, just attach paper hands with a message on, which leaves her with a normal scarf to wear. The symbolism stays the same.)

Extremely cheesy? I plead guilty. But doesn't it sound nice?
posted by lioness at 4:57 PM on January 7, 2008

Thanks all for the brainstorming and great ideas! It will take some work, but I'm bound to use an idea or two!
posted by mcarthey at 7:14 PM on January 8, 2008

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