i had surgery a couple of years back, and i got tons of coloring books and crossword puzzle books since i was kinda immobile for a few days. i mean, i'm talking loads of the damn things. they were a nice idea, but they were only fun for about... an hour. so i wouldn't suggest that.
my sister and i just put together a care-package for a friend who is in the hospital in another state. we decided that puzzle books were off-limits, haha. so we went to the dollar store & wal-mart and bought some random & inexpensive items to take up her time. an etch-a-sketch, a funny book, one of those paddleball things where the rubber ball is attached to the paddle with an elastic string... anything that might entertain her for a few minutes. then we sealed up the box with band-aids, lol.
we wanted to make her a photo-placemat (pretty paper + pictures of friends + iron-on laminating paper) to put under her yucky hospital food, but you didn't mention whether this guy ended up in the hospital or not. (hope not!)
a bottle of coconut-scented suntan lotion or body spray? i bought a purse-sized bottle of the body spray at wal-mart for $1 or so (in the bath & body aisle, if you're interested). that scent always reminds me of summer.
i was thinking maybe a soft beach towel for touch, but if you're like me that doesn't count as inexpensive lol.
i don't know if a hershey's kiss will fit in the tin you have in mind or not, but that would be cute. um... a picture of you two, or just yourself. and what about a lipstick blot? you know, put on too much red lipstick and kiss a piece of paper. a flower petal from a bouquet he's given you (if you're that sentimental and he actually buys you flowers). they're not stupendous ideas, but they're space fillers. =)
i was awarded a, um, homely-looking picture frame at a baby shower a few weeks ago. the poor thing was covered with wrinkled yellow paper and a wilted yellow ribbon. so i gutted it down to the cardboard and covered it with craft foam. yay!
i was going to cut off the extra black overhang, but i kinda like it.
(sorry for the poor picture quality. i kept having to back up thanks to my too-bright flash, so they ended up super grainy.)
this is ridiculously simple, which is why i love it so much. i tossed my ugly, straight-from-the-factory dell mousepad into the garbage and cut out a new one from a pretty placemat. (thank you, dollar general!)