Okay, near the top of the list of percussion items that are cool but you don't want to spend good money on because you will only use them every once in awhile is the rainstick. Probably right below the vibraslap.
I've always seen them being like $20+ and thought, "eh...not THAT
cool", but yesterday I found them at the World Bazaar in the Galleria Mall for $4.99! I just had to have it right then!
The store is located on the top floor between Penney's and Macy's and is open for about another 2 weeks. They had about a dozen still in stock. The one I bought is 4 ft tall and they had some larger, some smaller. They also had some djembe's there (various sizes) though I can't vouch for them being any good. Prices were good on those too so maybe not a bad gift for a beginner.
"I want to be someone, who someone would want to be". - Marillion