Author Topic: To ask, or not to ask - birthday gift related  (Read 2534 times)

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siamesecat2965

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To ask, or not to ask - birthday gift related
« on: February 26, 2013, 01:15:10 PM »
BG: I will be spending the weekend with two of my cousins in a couple of weeks, one of whom has a birthday just before. They spent my birthday weekend with me, and we had a blast, and planned 2 more "girls" weekends for their birthdays.

One is actually my cousin-in-law, SIL to my other cousin. I don't know her all that well, in terms of what she likes and doesn't like.  So I've been asking my cousin does she use this, like that, etc. to get some ideas for gifts. Who has been less than helpful, and simply says "why don't you ask her?" I also know CIL well enough to know she'd tell me nothing, and just bring myself, but as she gave me some lovely gifts for my birthday, i want to reciprocate. 

Is it me since I feel funny asking someone, hey what do you want for your birthday? I guess I've always been the type to like to be surprised, and accept wahtever is given, good or bad.

lowspark

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Re: To ask, or not to ask - birthday gift related
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2013, 01:28:06 PM »
Since you spent a weekend with her, can you remember enough about her likes/dislikes of consumables to go that route? I'd get her something like a bottle of wine or other liquor, a gift card to Starbuck's, or something along those lines. Another good gift is something like fancy soaps or hand lotions. That way you don't have to try to match her decor or jewelry style or anything like that.

Also, since she gave you some lovely gifts for your birthday without knowing you, maybe you can use what she gave you as a guideline? She probably gave you things that she liked enough to think you would like them, which you apparently did, so depending on what she gave you, it might be a good bet to give her something similar or related.

CrazyDaffodilLady

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Re: To ask, or not to ask - birthday gift related
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2013, 01:30:19 PM »
Maybe she has an amazon.com wish list.
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m2kbug

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Re: To ask, or not to ask - birthday gift related
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2013, 01:41:41 PM »
Since you spent a weekend with her, can you remember enough about her likes/dislikes of consumables to go that route? I'd get her something like a bottle of wine or other liquor, a gift card to Starbuck's, or something along those lines. Another good gift is something like fancy soaps or hand lotions. That way you don't have to try to match her decor or jewelry style or anything like that.

Also, since she gave you some lovely gifts for your birthday without knowing you, maybe you can use what she gave you as a guideline?  She probably gave you things that she liked enough to think you would like them, which you apparently did,  so depending on what she gave you, it might be a good bet to give her something similar or related.

I like that idea. 

I would feel strange asking someone I didn't know really well  as well.  So often people slip into the "anything is fine," or "you don't have to get anything" mode, you're left no better off than before, plus an awkward conversation.   :) 

I tend to do a lot of Starbucks.  Once I bought a really nice travel mug with a gift card and candies inside and some sampler packets they had.  If she has an iPod, maybe some music.  A bottle of wine and some chocolates in a nice basket with other treats would be nice.  I think soaps, lotions, or a candle would be nice.  Choosing a scent for someone else can be tricky, but if you find something that is popular seller, you're likely to get one she will enjoy, and choose a store that she can easily make an exchange. 

siamesecat2965

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Re: To ask, or not to ask - birthday gift related
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2013, 01:51:58 PM »
Well, I did spend a weekend with her last summer, while visiting, and the weekend she stayed with me.  THe weekend I spend with her helped me figure out Christmas gifts!  She loves flavored coffee, and pajamas, both of which I got her for Christmas. I just didn't want to repeat. I have a general idea of her likes/dislikes, but was trying to find out if she used/had specific items as I thought they'd make nice gifts.

as for me, we had been shopping, and she knows I adore Vera Bradley, and got me some things from there. And a couple other things I had discussed/admired, etc.  I was thinking of something from there for her as well since I know she also likes them.

I guess I'm a bit frustrated as my questions to my other cousin were "does she use a curling/flat iron?" since i saw a cute VB cover you can use while its  still hot, and need to pack, and other questions like that.

 I'd feel funny asking directly, but figured my cousin might know. But true to form, she's a bit selfish, and doens't notice things like that about other people.  And I don't want to ask the birthday girl questions like that out of the blue!

I think I can figure something out, and whatever I do give, will have gift receipts, and will be purchased somewhere she can also return easily, since I'm in NJ and she's in MD.

And I just remembered she does like one specific type of fancy chocolate, and there is a store in the mall I need to go to anyway, so it looks like I will be hitting the mall sometime soon! So I think I've got some good ideas.

Christmas will be easy, since her DH, my cousin, who is overseas for work, will be home. I've decided evryone is getting food from now on :)

ladyknight1

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Re: To ask, or not to ask - birthday gift related
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2013, 02:10:56 PM »
In the past, for difficult gift giving occasions, I have done the following:

Chocolate Martini gift basket (wrote the recipe out on card stock and hung on the ribbon, all the liquors required, and martini glasses) Cost $30
Bath set (gift bag or decorative box with a candle, body wash, moisturizer, bath pouf all in coordinating scents) $20
Gift cards to a coffee shop
Freshly baked goodies with a pound of coffee and a mug Cost $15

The chocolate martini gift basket was the most popular gift at that party. I hear about it 2 years later!

siamesecat2965

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Re: To ask, or not to ask - birthday gift related
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2013, 03:12:18 PM »
Alcohol would be easy, but she doesn't drink :). and I already gave her coffee at Christmas.  But ...I just found out I don't have to work Sat, so I will head to the mall, and see what I can find.

TootsNYC

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Re: To ask, or not to ask - birthday gift related
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2013, 03:51:35 PM »
coffee syrups?

I know that it's such a wonderful thing when someone actually pays attention and pulls a gift idea from our interaction.

(Of course, I'm easy--I talk a lot of stuff I'd like to own, or stuff I'm interested in. I'm not hinting; I'm just chattering. Bcs I'm always so amazed and surprised--how *did* they know I'd love a Pampered Chef pizza cutter because it has a cover? Oh, I admired yours and said I was going to have to get one someday? I plumb forgot.)

So if you can *at all* remember some of the things she said about herself, try to use those.

But some people are really hard. My best friend can be. So I think about her life (drives a car, just bought a teeny backpack purse), and try to get something that works (I got her an umbrella with the plastic outer casing, so it wouldn't drip in the back seat; and an ultra-mini umbrella to put in her tiny tote bag).

Personally, I avoid all chocolate, picture frame, etc., stuff (unless I know for a fact that she loves that chocolate).

For me, it's far less about the "gift-worthy-ness" of the item and far more about the idea "I listened to you. I know you."

So if a friend had casually mentioned that she really does miss stealing her toddler's Teddy Grahams, they were so good, but he doesn't eat them now that he's 8, I'd be buying her Teddy Grahams. That sort of thing.

Mikayla

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Re: To ask, or not to ask - birthday gift related
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2013, 03:59:05 PM »
I agree with you that your cousin is being a bit unhelpful here.  I can't imagine responding to a question like that by telling the person to ask herself.  Jeez...

Anyway, the cool thing about flavored coffees is that those of us who love them never get tired of them.  Maybe find a nice basket (Target has some really pretty ones) and include an assortment.  Then see if you can get some 1 or 2 nice mugs.  That's another thing we never have enough of.

Amazon has a great assortment of them.  Then maybe put in some biscotti or shortbread, get colored wrap at Michaels and...voila.  A pretty basked full of goodies.

katycoo

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Re: To ask, or not to ask - birthday gift related
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2013, 05:44:05 PM »
I always try to bear in mind: If the person already has one of the gift I have in mind, will they be able to use mine?  If yes - do it.  If no, choose something else.

That pretty much limits your giftss to consumables but I'd rather do that than load them up with things they don't need.

siamesecat2965

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Re: To ask, or not to ask - birthday gift related
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2013, 08:04:33 PM »


I know that it's such a wonderful thing when someone actually pays attention and pulls a gift idea from our interaction.

For me, it's far less about the "gift-worthy-ness" of the item and far more about the idea "I listened to you. I know you."


I totally agree. that's how I shop for people most of the time! I  think what they like, and so on, and go from there.

My best, and one of my fave gifts I gave was years ago. a friend had mentioned she really wanted a particular movie. on VHS (that's how long ago it was) I also know she loves popcorn.  so I got the movie, some microwave popcorn, and some of her fave movie candy. I put it all in a ceramic popcorn bucket, and wrapped it in celephane. she loved it, and i was happy.


siamesecat2965

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Re: To ask, or not to ask - birthday gift related
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2013, 08:05:34 PM »
I agree with you that your cousin is being a bit unhelpful here.  I can't imagine responding to a question like that by telling the person to ask herself.  Jeez...

Anyway, the cool thing about flavored coffees is that those of us who love them never get tired of them.  Maybe find a nice basket (Target has some really pretty ones) and include an assortment.  Then see if you can get some 1 or 2 nice mugs.  That's another thing we never have enough of.

Amazon has a great assortment of them.  Then maybe put in some biscotti or shortbread, get colored wrap at Michaels and...voila.  A pretty basked full of goodies.

She was! I know she would love more coffee, but I just don't want to get her any more so soon. I think I've figured out some ideas, so that issue is solved. just have to find specifics in what i think she's getting.

Kiwichick

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Re: To ask, or not to ask - birthday gift related
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2013, 04:21:53 AM »
Maybe your cousin didn't mean to ask her 'Hey, what do you want for your birthday?' but meant for you to chat to her to find out more of her likes and dislikes.  Even if you live far apart you can chat via email. FB, skype etc.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 05:07:52 AM by Sootikin »

siamesecat2965

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Re: To ask, or not to ask - birthday gift related
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2013, 08:22:08 AM »
Maybe your cousin didn't mean to ask her 'Hey, what do you want for your birthday?' but meant for you to chat to her to find out more of her likes and dislikes.  Even if you live far apart you can chat via email. FB, skype etc.

No, she meant ask her directly. She can be a bit blunt, and while she says she's just being honest, sometimes she's just rude. Not that this is rude, but her saying that to me was in response to specific questions "Does cousin use or like this, since i saw a thingy that would work with it, but don't want to get it for her, if she doesn't have the thingy you use it with" She just said I don't know, why don't you ask her!  And the stuff I was asking her about, not really any way to bring it up in conversation, I'd have to ask her directly, which would be kind of weird.

Bijou

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Re: To ask, or not to ask - birthday gift related
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2013, 12:43:33 AM »
I wouldn't ask, but would just go with my intuition and what I do know about her.  If she likes coffees, you might find a nice cup.  What I absolutely love is my coffee mug with a cone for making one cup at a time.  It's all I use and is so great for when you only want to do a cup.  Fast and easy.  And good. 

I want to say I love that you have such a good relationship with your cousins.  I adore cousins.  It's such a special relationship
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