Present Ideas - Louisville,KY

Updated on December 09, 2011
V.V. asks from Louisville, KY
15 answers

Edited because when I reread my question, I didn't like my own petulant, judgmental tone.

I'd like some gift ideas for my brother-in-law. He strongly dislikes the commercialism & consumerism; therefore I was contemplating purchasing something from www.harvest in his name. Or doing a salvation army angel in his name. However, I think my sister will be hurt if I do that because it won't be a "real" gift. She's quite sensitive to anyone in her family being slighted.

My brother-in-law is in his early 40s, and to be honest, I have no idea what he likes/dislikes. I need some generic ideas.

I also need ideas for their kids (boys), who are 7 & 3. They are not allowed to watch tv or movies, play with toy guns or weapons, or see/do anything violent (so no figures from violent or quasi-violent movies like star wars). Their parents don't like anything mainstream, commercial, or trendy; they do like things that are active, environmentally friendly, and that the kids can do together.

These kids have 2 playrooms filled with toys - I can't imagine anything I could get that they don't already have. Any unique ideas that fit within the parents' guidelines?

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answers from Louisville on

How about a gift certificate for the whole family to a state park inn or a state park pass? You could also combine it with a picnic basket or some fun camping gear/activities if there is room in the budget. I'm just over the river in Indiana and I don't know how the KY state parks are run -- but we usually ask for a state park pass from my in-laws so we can go camping and hiking together. Several parks in Indiana also have inns or cabins to stay in and there are gift certificates for those -- perhaps KY has them too? It's a chance for the family to do something together AND it's outside (for the most part) AND it's not something else to add to the pile of toys. Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Sacramento on

Ask the kid? He might have some great ideas. Educational toys are great too, how about a telescope or a microscope? Or if you are really upset with his parents get a musical instrument !!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Wow, there is a lot that could be said here about respect for different parenting styles and showing gratitude and not demanding gifts.

But to answer your question... Maybe make a family gift and get them tickets to a show or a sporting event so they can have a experience together or minigolf or bowling or movies.... Maybe make an matching donation to a shelter or charity. Like buy the son books and donate the same book. Try shopping at Ten Thousand Villages and buying the son something like a kids nativity or a chess set or a game from another country.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I had my brother get my 7 yo the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, "Cabin Fever". It just came out late November.

He's also getting a matching watch/wallet set, swim lessons and a skateboard.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Get the seven year old a lite brite. It's old school and inexpensive (steering clear of the commercialism aspect). It's creative and non violent. We made this our "go to" gift this year. Every kid that got one loved it! I still find my son in his closet checking on his creation. Toys R Us carries them, they cost $12

For your brother? That sounds tougher. If he wants to get away from consumerism, I'd probably look into making him something or getting him something useful. Or go the sentimental route. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I don't know what kind of a budget you're working with, nor how much this particular idea would cost, but how about membership in a Community Sponsored Agriculture co-op?

Going off the eco-friendly vibe:
Rain barrel
Countertop composter (wrapped in reusable wrapping paper)
Subscription to The Organic Gardener
Stainless steel water bottle
Books for the kids about green living (not too preachy--cute/useful)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Memphis on

What about a membership to their local zoo? or Museum?
Good luck,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

I don't know if there are any of these in the area where you live, but I would recommend going to a local craft/homemade holiday fair or something to buy for your Brother-in-Law and the kids. Typically you can get unique things not found on the store shelves and made my local artisans. Could you ask your Sister for some hints for her hubby and kids? It would be good if she gave you at least 3-5 so you can actually choose what you will give. Kids are more than likely going to be easier to buy for than adult. I wish you the best...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lexington on

I like the idea of a museum or zoo pass for the family, but if you are buying a toy, then how about something like legos or lincoln logs or kinex. You can get generic packs that are just the building pieces. As for your brother how about nice coffee gift basket or homemade spice rubs, or something along those lines. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lexington on

Look at Heifer International - they provide nice gift cards that you can give in lieu of a present, and the money you send not only supports a family in a developing country, but also is reflective of "teaching a wo/man to fish" so s/he can eat every day.



answers from Nashville on

Maybe a food basket put together of a variety of items and maybe a bottle of wine? My dad and stepmom have everything and want nothing and really don't like 'junk' or anything they dont' need so I usually do a food basket or sometimes a bottle of wine and then 4 stemless glasses to go with it. Sometimes I get him grilling things like the tools, a grill cover, a grill basket, etc I sometimes do a cookbook and spices, etc You can always do a gift card to Dick's or any sporting goods store or Best Buy or Home Deopt or Lowes.
for the kids you can do books, music CD's, puzzles, art supplies, Legos for the older child, a model he can build, cool clothing for the 8 yr old with cool sayings, etc You could do a gift card to a local ice cream place, or McDonalds, etc
I wouldn't donate in their name, it is a waste of your money if they will not appreciate it.

Hope these ideas help!



answers from Louisville on

ask your sister she will know what she hasnt gotten them and what they want. have fun!



answers from Jacksonville on

I was thinking something like sleeping bags or tents or fishing gear. They could go camping as a family and catch their own food.



answers from Raleigh on

Honestly, I'd ask your sister what kinds of things they'd be interested in. Best to ask and not have your hard earned money going down the tube. Honestly, I think it's silly for people to get upset at all when people give them a gift they didn't want... to me they should just be grateful that someone thought of them during the holiday season.



answers from Memphis on

Some great ideas posted already, but I wanted to throw this out there because a friend of mine got this for our two boys for Christmas and I can't wait for it to arrive! It's a crate containing different art projects that arrives in the mail every month. You can gift a subscription for just a few months or a whole year. It may be a little more pricey than you were looking, but a very cool concept. And the projects seem to be involved, but simple enough that both boys can do them together.

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