Help! Need Gift Suggestions For In-Law's & Parents

Lounge By CakesByJen2 Updated 14 Dec 2008 , 8:51pm by GI

CakesByJen2 Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 7:06pm
post #1 of 27

I hope someone can help me. I dread Christmas shopping every year because all the adults in our families are so hard to buy for, but our parents are the worst...

I'll start with my in-law's. They are in their early 70's, and have absolutely no interests or hobbies whatsoever, they don't read anymore because their eyesight has gotten too bad, my FIL's hearing is bad but they're in denial about it, they don't watch movies, there are no nice restuarants where they live so they don't go out to eat, my MIL already has more crystal knick-knacks than anyone could ever need, she's not into jewelry and they don't have a sentimental bone in their bodies so they would never appreciate anything handmade from the kids or anything like that. They are the kind of people that if they want something, they buy it, and if they don't pick it out themselves they most likely aren't going to like it or use it. I feel like whatever we get them is a waste of money, but I feel like I have to get them something. They are usually very generous with us, so I wish I could come up with something they would actually like.

My parents aren't quite as bad to buy for, but I've run out of ideas for them, too. They are in their late 60's and while my dad is interested in tinkering around working on cars or building stuff, likes to travel, likes movies, and military history, my mom has no interests or hobbies, and pretty much just sits around on the couch doing nothing. She doesn't wear jewelry and her house is already a cluttered mess.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

26 replies
TexasSugar Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 8:31pm
post #2 of 27

My first thought is a gift card for a store they like but don't go to often. Gift cards aren't really my favorite thing, but sometimes they are the only thing that works.

If there a food or dessert that you make that they really like? You could always make that for them.

My brothers have all the home stuff they need or want and the 'toys' they want are way out of my price range. So last year instead of going out and buying stuff that will just collect dust to give them something I made them meals to put in the freezer. I fixed things that we grew up eating. Alot of things freeze very well.

Just Thursday my SIL asked me if I was giving them food again because they really enjoyed it. They both work late hours and sometimes you just don't have the want or enegry to get in the kitchen and cook. So this way they can just pull something out of the freezer and put it in the oven.

I had already planned to do the same thing for them this year. But instead of giving them all of the stuff at once I am going to spread it out and make something once a month over the next year. They can either eat it then or freeze it and save for later. This frees up my freezer, since I had to hold on to some stuff until they had room for it and it means they don't have to give up alot of freezer room at one time either.

lisad1 Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 8:42pm
post #3 of 27

They are retirement age...do they travel? If so, how about a gps so they don't get lost. My parent's love to go on little get-aways, so we buy them the restaurant gift cards for that, or get american express or mastercard cards to pay for a hotel room or car rental. Or an ipod so they can listen to their music in the car...just some ideas.... icon_razz.gif

CakesByJen2 Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 9:54pm
post #4 of 27

Thanks for the ideas. I really try to avoid gift cards; just as a last resort, but not at all for the IL's. They give us a large amount of cash, so I'd just feel really funny giving them what is essentiall a [smaller] cash gift back; I really need to have an actual gift for them. Plus they don't really shop or go out; there are no stores or restaurants where they live. They won't travel, either. They really don't do anything but stay at home anymore. They wouldn't really appreciate food gifts, either. They are so difficult! I am giving them yet another family portrait this year (my old standby) but would like to have something else along with it. They also can't handle technology, so any electronics, computer-related stuff, cameras, etc. is out.

My parents do travel some, so the GPS might be a good idea if they don't already have one. It's a bit out of my price range (we don't spend a lot on gifts in my family), but I might could get my sibs to go in on it with me. Any other gift ideas for RV'ing?

adven68 Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 10:16pm
post #5 of 27

Is their eyesight too bad for a photobook? I get them for my inlaws every year, because they simply don't need or want anything. They love the books, and this year will be the 4th in a row. Go to snapfish.com or shutterfly.com
they have all different sizes and styles and they are very reasonable.

They also have photo mugs and calendars, etc....

good luck!

punkinpie Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 11:11pm
post #6 of 27

Boy that's really tough! How do they spend their days? They sound like they don't have much fun.

CakesByJen2 Posted 29 Nov 2008 , 11:51pm
post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by punkinpie

Boy that's really tough! How do they spend their days? They sound like they don't have much fun.




Well, they used to work a lot. They own a small golf course (we've pretty much exhausted the golf-themed gifts by now) and that took up all their time 9 months out of the year, but his dad has totally lost interest in it and doesn't really do much of anything anymore and turned it over to my BIL. My MIL still works in the shop and does all the books and paperwork. She's hasn't really aged any mentally, though she's put on some weight since menopause, but my FIL has aged significantly in the last few years. I'm not really sure what he does with his time anymore. They live 4-1/2 hours away, so we don't see them but 3-4 times a year.

My dad does stuff, but my mom is totally sedentary and has no interest in anything. My dad likes to travel with the RV, and my mom goes with him, but doesn't really do anything when they go anywhere.

michellenj Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 12:18am
post #8 of 27

Send them Omaha Steaks.

indydebi Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 1:05am
post #9 of 27

Here just some ideas on what we've given in the past.

My in-laws are getting up there. FIL just turned 80 a couple of weeks ago. While they wouldn't really know what to do with a "nice" restaurant gift certificate, they LUV the Bob Evans gift cert's we give them ... they like going to breakfast. They like it when we find old (OLD!) movies and old (OLD!) tv shows on video (like yours, they haven't graduated to DVD yet).

They each have their own rocker/recliner, so they have matching lap blankets.

What about one year of home security? One of those "I've fallen and can't get up?" alarms? Gift certificate for yard work (like with a landscaper).

General usage stuff ... postage stamps, ink pens, envelopes, a collection of blank cards; gift certs to grocery stores and gas stations (everyone can use those!).

Boy, those "if they want it they buy it" people are really hard to buy for, too!

GI Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 6:58am
post #10 of 27

Hawaii's Pearl Harbor has a really nice set of VHS or DVDs on the whole history of the Pearl Harbor. Or if they like to watch TV, you could pay for 3 or 6 mo of their TV cost. What about cross-word puzzles in large print?

If she likes to get her hair done, why not a gift certificate? Or better yet, why don't you take her while you are visiting? Or even maybe getting a manicure or a pedi? Sometimes older ladies forget what its like to be pampered. icon_wink.gif

Good luck! icon_smile.gif

Deb_ Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 6:54pm
post #11 of 27

Sounds like we have the same in-laws.
Last year we bought them a digital photo album. It was 11" x 14" and either could be hung or used on a table. We preloaded it with photos of all their children from birth to present, as well as all their grandchildren. We also contacted my in-laws siblings and asked them to share some old photos with us from their childhood. My DH downloaded their favorite songs and coordinated the music to the photos.

They said it was the best gift they ever received. There is a play button right on the front that is easy for even the "technologically challenged" to use.

Previous years we have sent them Omaha or Kansas City steaks and they loved those as well.

This year they are getting money, I'm out of ideas and they live 6 hrs. away, so it's hard for them to make returns if they don't like something.

HTH

mbelgard Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 9:11pm
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi



Boy, those "if they want it they buy it" people are really hard to buy for, too!




My in-laws are those people. My FIL hunts but he buys all the stuff he needs for it and has plenty of guns. They both watch alot of TV and movies but my MIL is always buying movies and I have no idea what they own.

My MIL is pretty easy because she likes wine and never minds a couple bottles. icon_lol.gif

My FIL is a nightmare that I normally make my husband deal with but this year I found something for him so I'm very proud of myself. He was a Marine during Nam so I bought this candy mold:

http://www.countrykitchensa.com/catalog/product.aspx?T=2&ShopId=18&CatId=430&SubCatId=1201&productId=625287

My boys can make their grandpa candy in a shape he'll love.

SS385Monte Posted 1 Dec 2008 , 7:39pm
post #13 of 27

We always give my grandmother car wash coupons. She gets to keep her car nice and shiny and clean without standing in the cold cleaning it herself and it's not one more thing for her to find somewhere to store.

kjt Posted 2 Dec 2008 , 12:36am
post #14 of 27

I was going to suggest a digital photo album, too. Or what about magazine subscriptions? If you live close, you could make them coupon booklets...you know for:
A Trip To The Beauty Shop
A Home Cooked Meal
I'll Run Errands For You
One Dozen Chocolate Chip Cookies
A Manicure
If you have kids, get them involved-have them bake the cookies.
Good Luck-I have the same dilema ;(

ladyellam Posted 2 Dec 2008 , 5:32pm
post #15 of 27

I hope I don't get strung up here lol. For the people in my life that have the means to get what they want, I take that money I was going to spend and buy families in need food boxes or clothing. There is a retirement center near me and most of the women wanted pretty smelling soap, lotion and shampoo. The gentlemen wanted robes, easy pull up pants and slippers. I have already bought 15 men clothing they want and 15 women enough lotion, soap and shampoo for the whole year.

I have taken all of my loose change for the year and converted it to dollars and gave that to the community food bank. I had a thousand dollars! Didn't even miss it and didn't think about how much I really had in that jar. With that thousand dollars they were able to turn it into $9,000 worth of food!

Okay, okay off the soapbox now.

For my vote I would either do the frozen meals or maybe go to their house and do any housework they need done.

jammjenks Posted 3 Dec 2008 , 1:15pm
post #16 of 27

What about those heat/vibrate massagers for their chair or sofa? Or maybe a foot massager. I don't know your budget, but they're not too expensive at WalMart or Target.

kjt Posted 3 Dec 2008 , 2:08pm
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ladyellam

I hope I don't get strung up here lol. For the people in my life that have the means to get what they want, I take that money I was going to spend and buy families in need food boxes or clothing. There is a retirement center near me and most of the women wanted pretty smelling soap, lotion and shampoo. The gentlemen wanted robes, easy pull up pants and slippers. I have already bought 15 men clothing they want and 15 women enough lotion, soap and shampoo for the whole year.




Oh, my GOSH...I love this idea! What a good thing this is...

marknelliesmum Posted 3 Dec 2008 , 4:23pm
post #18 of 27

Why not sponsor a child going to school in one of the poorest regions of Africa on their behalf or something similar...there are loads of things to choose from.

Larrimore Posted 3 Dec 2008 , 6:00pm
post #19 of 27

Jen, I work at a pest control company and had a customer call yesterday wanting to get her 80 year old mother's house treated as a Christmas present.

KatieKake Posted 4 Dec 2008 , 2:10am
post #20 of 27

you could hire Merry Maids, to do the hard stuff like walls and carpets, get talking books if they used to read but can't any more, digital picture frames are nice, giving to the needy in their name, if they would appreciate that would be wonderful, make meals ahead of time that you can freeze for them, get them life alert, tell them you don't want anything to happen to them, make them know how important they are.

My husband got a card last year from our son, that said "our gift, what ever, when ever, where ever. My husband has Parkinson's so this was a wonderful gift, knowing we could ask for help with out feeling that we were imposing on his time, by the way it was signed by both he and his wife.

Something like that, would let them know you really do care about them.

dldbrou Posted 4 Dec 2008 , 3:27am
post #21 of 27

Why not give them a hobby? What I mean is a few years ago my mother just sat around watching television and taking care of my dad. I gave her watercolor lessons with a group her own age. Well, she was hooked. Now we give her supplies or pay for more lessons and she in turn gives her pictures as gifts. She turned out to actually have talent. She just turned 83 and she looks forward to her class every week. Now my father had his woodwork as his hobby, but his eyes were giving him trouble, so he got into birds. This became his obsession. He bred them and studied them and then invented a specialty food for them and started a business that kept his mine sharp for quite a few years. What about music? Can you find out what their favorite singers were and get them their albums to listen to? One year my dh did a family tree booklet and handed it out to all the members of our families on both sides. Start with old pictures that might have names written on the backs and go from there.

Deb_ Posted 4 Dec 2008 , 4:50am
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by jammjenks

What about those heat/vibrate massagers for their chair or sofa? Or maybe a foot massager. I don't know your budget, but they're not too expensive at WalMart or Target.





When I read this quickly my first reaction was "Wal-mart sells vibrators now?" icon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gif Sorry.....................

jammjenks Posted 5 Dec 2008 , 4:54am
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelly27

Quote:
Originally Posted by jammjenks

What about those heat/vibrate massagers for their chair or sofa? Or maybe a foot massager. I don't know your budget, but they're not too expensive at WalMart or Target.




When I read this quickly my first reaction was "Wal-mart sells vibrators now?" icon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gif Sorry.....................




Hey....you just never know what you may find at WalMart! icon_lol.gif

pajnpis Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 10:28pm
post #24 of 27

well, my in laws are in their 40s but its still hard to find something. i'm out of ideas for my FIL since we basically got him everything that we can think of( he loves to hunt but already have everything). This year i plan to get them the Jack LaLanne's Power Juicer. gift card and clothes are my last resort.

cvigil Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 11:42pm
post #25 of 27

So, last year was really tough financially. I actually had a lot of coffee and candles around the house. I made little gift bags and they were a hit! If they don't drink coffee, maybe tea and cookies. I also find that homemade gifts are usually a hit, carrot cakes or muffins. One year I made bean soup mix and truffles.

GI Posted 14 Dec 2008 , 8:44pm
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjt

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladyellam

I hope I don't get strung up here lol. For the people in my life that have the means to get what they want, I take that money I was going to spend and buy families in need food boxes or clothing. There is a retirement center near me and most of the women wanted pretty smelling soap, lotion and shampoo. The gentlemen wanted robes, easy pull up pants and slippers. I have already bought 15 men clothing they want and 15 women enough lotion, soap and shampoo for the whole year.



Oh, my GOSH...I love this idea! What a good thing this is...




We do this...the older people get left out at Christmas. Another group that is usually "forgotten" are the older teens. More people like donating for little kids cuz toys & such are easy to buy, but older teenagers in poor families or in foster care get bummed out at Christmas. So IPODs, DVDs, CDs, gift cards, trendy perfumes for girls, trendy clothes, etc., the teenagers just love.

I had 3 teens one year that were not getting anything at all. They got loaded up. icon_biggrin.gif What made it way cool was they sent a hand-written thank you, saying it was their best Christmas they had ever had and they would always remember it.

GI Posted 14 Dec 2008 , 8:51pm
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvigil

So, last year was really tough financially. I actually had a lot of coffee and candles around the house. I made little gift bags and they were a hit! If they don't drink coffee, maybe tea and cookies. I also find that homemade gifts are usually a hit, carrot cakes or muffins. One year I made bean soup mix and truffles.




I couldn't let this pass.... I've had so many years like you, not even funny! It can make for a stressful holiday, too. So what I did w/my girlfriends was to make a "movie date." So we would go to the movies (dutch, mind you, that's how broke! icon_wink.gif ). We also go super early, so we can sit in the theatre and visit, chit-chat, catch up, etc.

I also made my own gift cards: "free babysitting for 5 hours" for family with little kids; over-nighter fun-night activities at Aunties for my nephews/nieces; Saturday morning yard work for older relatives (*I* was the labor!); etc. It was nice and they all liked it. We decided on dates ahead of time, so it wasn't such a strain for either side.
My fav was the Friday night little kids fun-night myself. Brings out the kid in all of us! icon_biggrin.gif I rented a DVD, built a fort in the living room w/the couches & sleeping bags, made kid-friendly food like tater tots & chicken fingers, played Twister & hide-n-go-seek. It was a kick.

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