How to repay a free debt?
July 10, 2008 7:35 AM   Subscribe

How do you repay someone who has made your past 1+ year so nice and easy? My specific information inside...

With the amount my girlfriend travels for work she has a large amount of flyer miles and hotel points. She always decides to use them on trips for us and next week we are leaving for Las Vegas. Since this is one of the bigger trips we have taken together, I really want to show my appreciation because just telling her isn't enough.

I doesn't have to be a nice 'gift' really. She gets her share of those and is very hard to shop for. Instead I would like to do something or plan something nice for her. I thought about paying for all the food for the week or all the attractions we are going to but is that good enough? Is there maybe something in Vegas that I can do for her there that is unique?

She is very hard to do things for because she is very independent for a 23 year old.

All suggestions are welcome!
posted by jwfree to Human Relations (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I would always lean towards a spa day, or even a spa afternoon. You know, the whole massage, pedicure, manicure, facial, etc. package. My boyfriend gave me that for my birthday this year and it was really amazing and I appreciated it SO much!
posted by gwenlister at 7:48 AM on July 10, 2008

Response by poster: I love the spa idea gwenlister. The only catch is that she was recently promoted and I got her a package similar to that. She is actually using it today :)
posted by jwfree at 7:54 AM on July 10, 2008

The SPA idea is brilliant (I'd love it). If you're the type of guy who'd go with her to enjoy the experience, even better.
posted by neblina_matinal at 7:55 AM on July 10, 2008

Paying for everything is okay, but I'd definitely do something a little more on the "special" side. The trouble with Vegas is that money doesn't mean as much -- you're going to spend what you're going to spend, because it's Vegas baby! A year down the road, she's not going to remember that you wouldn't let her pay for dinner Friday night. She will remember if you take her out for an amazing time, however. I don't have any specific ideas, but something romantic and that perhaps requires you to get all dolled up would be good. Something that requires planning and effort. Something that shows you really care, as opposed to showing that you can whip out the credit card faster than she can.
posted by cgg at 7:55 AM on July 10, 2008

Spa gift certificates are good, I got one from my Mom for my birthday. It was good, because it's not something I would ever buy for myself. Plus, it's an "experience" not just another knick-knack or whatever. Also, something like getting her flowers on a regular basis or something else that can be a "ritual" you two share would be meaningful.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 8:00 AM on July 10, 2008

Write a song. If it's a stupid song, so much the better. Really. Just say "thank you you dear sweet wonderful generous girl" and "you are fabulous, beautiful, and very very intelligent" over a couple of times in your own words - it doesn't have to be very long or complex. Be sure to include her name in this, and possibly yours (maybe "Love, JWFreeeeeeeeeeeee" at the end - it could be in the form of a short letter). In fact, short and simple is way way best in this case. Don't worry about a tune if you don't do tunes.

Now, does she like Mexican food? Start calling restaurants in Las Vegas until you find one that has a mariachi band that show up regularly. And that you can communicate with. E-mail them your stupid (or clever, I'm just trying to encourage you in case you feel embarrassed by this idea) lyrics, and offer them... $60? (maybe ask the restaurant what to offer them; it might be $200, I don't know). Whatever a good amount is, to work your lyrics up into a song. You can see here that short is again a virtue; these guys don't have _all_ _week_ to compose and practice something complex.

Probably ask the Mariachi band to make it a _humorous_ song.

Get a commitment from your girlfriend to be at this particular restaurant you found on this particular night (arranged in advance with the band & restaurant).

I think you see where this is going. Mariachi band plays and sings the song. It's hilarious and touching.

OK, I'm seeing a little danger here -- what if this is a little over the top, and she thinks you're proposing? You can finesse that if you think about it. But it sure would be cool.

Don't like Mexican food? You can probably be a little creative and find another restaurant/band combo.

That's my idea. Maybe a little much, but there you go. It's like the ultimate personal thank-you note on vacation.
posted by amtho at 8:04 AM on July 10, 2008 [6 favorites]

My vote would be for something memorable. If you, or someone you know has a decent camera, take some shots together, but good enough quality to justify printing and framing, even if it's just a 4x6.

And I've yet to find a girl that doesn't mind receiving a few flowers. Doesn't have to be a gift basket or bouquet, just a few flowers from a flower shop, and a suitable but basic vase, which should be cheap as well.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 8:10 AM on July 10, 2008

This might be aiming too low on the material repayment but what about writing her a nice note or letter telling her how much you appreciate her and all the things that she has done for you.
posted by mmascolino at 8:11 AM on July 10, 2008

Best answer: Go on a (private? group is cheaper obviously, but less amazing) helicopter or fixed wing tour of the area. You can snap a lot of great photos from 1000 feet above everything... Maybe get into the mile high club while you're up there? A nice hand-written note is good too.
posted by zpousman at 8:14 AM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Maybe it's puppy time.
posted by spec80 at 8:18 AM on July 10, 2008

Response by poster: I wish I the spa idea was still a possibilty. She just happens to be using the last one I got her today, only a few days before we head out.

amtho: the band idea sounds great to me. The only catch is that she doesn't like being the center of attention. I can't even let a restaurant know it's her birthday!

hungrysquirrels: about a month ago we had some fun, professional shots taken that we just got back .. still though, we will definitely be taking some pictures with my new camera :) Oh and I sent her some flowers two days ago at work to let her know I appreciated it. See, I'm trying!

mmascolino: the note idea she would love, that is definitely a must and she loves getting things in the mail so that's an extra bonus!

zousman: i will check into the helicopter ride idea. I went on one in GTA IV and it was magical, haha.

Thanks everyone, keep them coming!
posted by jwfree at 8:45 AM on July 10, 2008

Go with something less money-focused. Paying for everything is nice but it doesn't really say 'I love you' IMO. Same with the spa thing, spending a day/weekend pampering her and making her feel special is so much better than just paying someone else to pamper her and giving her the voucher.
Spend a whole day/weekend/week doing whatever she wants to do, lavish her with attention, that will be so much more special than anything you could buy.
posted by missmagenta at 8:57 AM on July 10, 2008

Seconding helicopter. Go at night, it's indescribable.
posted by nomad at 9:17 AM on July 10, 2008

Best answer: In addition to doing something extra special... do you have mementos left over from those past trips? If she's the type who'd appreciate it, you could get a plain, no-frills blank book (sketchbooks are nice, or perhaps a book made of kraft paper for something a bit different). Fill it up with photos and all those bits and pieces of ephemera, like ticket stubs, matchstick boxes, labels, email excerpts, perhaps a few hand scrawled notes. You don't even have to be in any way artistically inclined - it's the gesture that counts.

I did this for my boyfriend as part of a birthday present after we'd been going out for just over a year - it made him cry!
posted by minus zero at 9:27 AM on July 10, 2008 [3 favorites]

Best answer: What about instead of writing one note, you write one for each day of your trip, then find creative ways to deliver them to her? One day it could be delivered with dessert by the waiter, another it might show up at a blackjack table, another it could be hand delivered by an Elvis impersonator, etc, etc. Be creative!
posted by platinum at 9:45 AM on July 10, 2008 [2 favorites]

Does she like shoes? Bring her to Jimmy Choo in the Venetian. Take her to lunch in the Venetian and stroll by Jimmy Choo, bring her in and tell her to pick out a pair. I'm trying not to sound all Sex and the City but this is my idea of awesome. Independent women love pretty shoes too.

I love the helicopter idea! Do it.
posted by LoriFLA at 11:02 AM on July 10, 2008

Response by poster: platinum: The expansion on the note idea is great! I can definitely make that happen
minus zero: We definitely keep momentos, we each have boxes filled with everything like that from previous trips and outings

I am looking into helicopter rides and I believe I have found the one. Now my question is, what the heck do you tip a pilot!?
posted by jwfree at 11:31 AM on July 10, 2008

Depends on the flight, but I'd say the usual 15-20% of the flight cost. The ride will likely depend on the weather and air currents, which the pilot has no real control over. If all is well, and the trip is good, generally nobody rejects a good tip.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 6:08 PM on July 10, 2008

Another thought, if the air currents are bad, and yourself or partner need to use the, um, stomach content bags, I'd definitely tip more.

Best bet is to not eat beforehand, if there's nothing to come-up, well that's a lot easier. Wait until you're back on the ground to grab a bite. That's what I do when I have to travel by airline or even ground transport. Just another thought.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 6:17 PM on July 10, 2008

Buy her something overpriced and designer (assuming she likes that kind of stuff) that she could never justify buying for herself. I always love when I get little things that I would never spend that much money on, but love nonetheless. On the expensive end you have shoes and purses and on the cheaper end you have perfume/fancy lotions, etc.
posted by whoaali at 7:27 PM on July 10, 2008

« Older Chicago loop: Where can I find a healthy daily...   |   Can I get a French toy, yo? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.