Monday, April 23, 2007

80 Years Young - What to Get My Grandpa

Following my sister's wedding next month, my maternal grandpa (Gong Gong) is celebrating his 80th birthday with a huge banquet, complete with a "walk down Memory Lane" slide show and 80 attendees requiring the sectioning off of a Chinese restaurant. For this occasion, my mother has instructed me that I need to buy him a gift, since I am an adult now, and married.

I was a little insulted, admittedly, because I had already planned to get him a gift because I love him, not because I am an adult and therefore obliged to do so under orders from my mother. I am also well aware of both my married status and my age, neither of which required my mother to restate the obvious.

That said, I am now sitting around trying to think of ideas of kick-ass gifts for an 80-year old Chinese man who basically owns everything he needs already. My same dear mother suggested a belt or a wallet. I told her those were crappy gifts and I wanted something more meaningful and special. But what?

Here are the limitations: the gift must be relatively small and space-saving in physical size, because my Gong Gong has limited space in his luggage and lives out of town, and because he plans to move to an even smaller home than he currently owns, when he moves to the big city in the next year or two. The gift must also not be too expensive, because my mother feels that it should be thoughtful, not pricey. The gift should also be personal and practical, because apparently Gong Gong has no need for frivolous, decorative mementos and already has too many of that type of thing.

I suggested a piece of Chinese art. My mom said this was too big and too redundant since he already owns art. I suggested a little solid gold Chinese figurine (they're popular in Hong Kong). My mom said that this was too expensive, and Gong Gong already got something like it for his 70th or 60th birthday. He has a satellite dish for Chinese TV already, has a DVD player, doesn't know how to use a digital camera (and owns no computer), drives a humble car that isn't "soup-up" worthy, doesn't read English very well, isn't superbly mobile anymore, rarely drinks, rarely travels, and only eats Chinese food.

I am at an utter loss. I have 5.5 weeks to come up with an idea and get it. Any fabulous suggestions?

And please don't say a belt and a wallet.


Justice~! said...

I already know what we're getting him...

With Love, Fat Girl said...

My friend recently went to his dad's 80th birthday party, and spent a lot of time preparing his gift beforehand.

It wasn't expensive but did require a lot of work - he got a gorgeous photo album with a wooden cover, and filled it up with pictures of his dad's life. It wasn't a huge album, maybe 20 pages, but his dad loved it, and it was the hit of the party.

Natalie said...

I was totally going to say photos but was beat to the punch. I was also thinking maybe a book of Chinese poetry.

Mrs. Loquacious said...

Yeah, the photo collection and frames/albums would be a great idea, but it's already being my aunts and uncles! Thank you for the suggestions any others?

I wonder if he needs an engraved Swiss Army Knife? or flask? Still no ideas and the clock is tickin'...