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Looking for Idea for a Meaningful Gift for Mother-in-law

I'm stumped. I need some ideas for something to get my mother-in-law for Christmas. She has been there for us in so many ways, providing a shoulder to lean on emotionally as well as financially, and she babysits our daughter during the day while I work and refuses to take payments from us. I am so thankful to have her in my life, and I know my daughter loves her very much. I want to get her something very special for her first Christmas as a nana. It doesn't need to cost much; she's very sentimental and would appreciate anything we give her, but I want to make sure it's as special as she is. My daughter is 8 months old, so craft ideas might be a little harder this year. ;) Any ideas?

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Wow, everyone! Thanks so much for the responses! I love the handprint/footprint idea as well as the ones involving a massage and the personalized necklace. Now I need to decide on those! Thanks so much again!

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What about a heartfelt letter or note telling her exactly why you love her and everything she does for you and how much shes appreciated. Its something I think anyone would value very much, and also something she can keep and pull out and look at over the years.

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When my son was in preschool they made handprint wreaths for us. We then made them for everyone else the next year. You get a piece of felt, about 8x10" and print her hands with green acrylic paint in the shape of a wreath, just keep re-painting and re-printing until you get all the way around. You can make red holly berries with her finger prints. Then you string a pretty ribbon on the top, across the bottom and you can even run it through the bottom of the wreath or make one out of the ribbon so it co-ordinates. Don't forget your daughter's nane and the date on the back. It may be a little time consuming, probably best when she's really happy after a nap or snack (or both), but something your can use every year. Enjoy your first magical Christmas with your little one!

1 mom found this helpful

A lot of people have suggested hand/footprint crafts, which I agree makes a great gift. You can get frames that hold a picture on one side and plaster for the handprint on the other. I did that with my son when he was 6 months old, so it can definitely be done with younger kids. One hint - if you look for a dog paw print frame, they are exactly the same thing as the child handprint ones but about half he price.

I also have 2 other ideas. First, if you have a good picture of your daughter and mother-in-law, you could have a sketch or drawing done of the picture. There are places on line that do that and the prices didn't seem too bad to me (and I'm pretty frugal right now).

Also, I got my mom a grandmother journal. It asks specific questions about what she was like growing up, what her parents were like, what kind of jobs she's had, etc. It's a gift for her because it gives her an opportunity to tell her story, but it's also a gift for your daughter because she'll have something special from her grandmother when it's done.

By the way, it's very nice that you have such a supportive mother-in-law. So many people complain about in-laws, it's nice to hear something positive.

I have a daycare and just purchased a pack of 12 craft kit especially for grandparents since a child that attends my daycare are being raised by their grandparents. Depending on where you live you are welcome to have one for free if you are willing to pick it up. We live in Kentwood. It's one where you use the child's hand print.

When my first child was almost a year, we made wooden plaques. I bought a piece of wood from the craft store, painted it, let it dry, and then painted my daughters hands, one at a time and pressed onto the plaque. If you use the washable paint, it can be done! (We practiced a couple of times first) After it dried, I used decoupage glue to put on a picture of her (a color photocopy worked well) and used a paint pen to add her name and the year. They turned out really well, and were appreciated by the family. Don't forget to make one for you, too!

One year I made my mother-in-law a sweat shirt/tshirt that had my kids foot and handprints on it in washable paint. The kids turn 12 and 10 this year and she still wears it. I still wear mine as well. They are only that little for so long. I know there is a paint your own pottery place on 4th street in Royal Oak that you could do your daughter's foot prints on maybe a platter? She could see the gift or use it as well.

You are so incredibly lucky! My MIL is the devil. I am also thinking that the handprint/footprint thing is a good idea. Maybe get some different colored finger paints and make impressions of your daughter's hand and footprints and put them in a nice frame that will go in your MIL's house. You could write your daughter's name and 'Christmas 2008' in the bottom corner. I think it's cute to have childrens' artwork framed and displayed. It's totally one-of-a-kind! Good luck and Merry Christmas!

Hi D.,

I didn't read many of the other suggestions, so sorry if this is a repeat.

how about a Willow Tree figurine? Hallmark sells them, and they have lots of sweet, sentimental ones. I just got my MIL (who also helps us take care of our 2 boys!) "Quietly" - a woman with two small boys. I know there is another one with a woman holding a baby.

Enjoy the holidays with your family :)


My mom always does something special for us for Christmas from our daughters to us. For as long as I can remember it has been a craft type item. One thing that is the most precious to us is their hand prints, and it's something she has done since they were babies. Depending on how in depth or messy you want to get there are a lot of options out there. You could keep it as simple as a piece of thing card board or card stock with a painted hand print on it with string on it to use as an ornament. Or one that stays up all year long in our house is a plaster oval with their hand prints in it, I believe she got the kit at a craft store like Michaels or Hobby Lobby. On the back side of ours is a snowmen that the girls painted (or you can paint for your daughter), we leave the hand print side out. Another option would be to see if you could find a Grandma's first Christmas ornament, or anything that says Grandma.

How about a photo calendar, maybe some pictures not just of the Babies special moments but of your husband's special moments growing up. Really sentimental for her.

One year I got my mom in law a locket with the kids pics inside. I got it a Meijer for $20-30 on sale. I know that they have alot of their jewelery on sale now too. It was a heart that said Grandma on the outside and I used super small pictures of the kids to put inside it. She liked it so much that she cried when the kids gave it to her. We also usually give Grandma an ornament every year. I buy them at Walgreens for less than $5 and then you just slide your own picture in them like a little picture frame. Also, this year I am sewing rice bags (you microwave them and they stay hot like a hot water bottle for pains) and the kids will be decorating them to give to grandma.

How about a digital picture frame with pics of your daughter on it and possibly with your mother-in-law and her together.

Alot of moms have their kids name put on a charm hanging from a necklace. You can keep on adding if necessary.
Why can't a grandma have a grandchild's name on a necklace. You can find them online if you google "circle, necklace, name"
Good luck

At this age, a craft idea is still a good thing. You might try maybe a mold of some sort with the baby's feetprint or handprints, or even both on it. Put a picture of baby and nana in the middle of the prints, with baby's name on the mold also. If you can't do a mold, try children's paint (not watercolor though). Put it on her feet, hands, or both like they would at the hospital for the feetprint. Do this in place of the mold. Still do the picture, and the baby's name on it. Make sure that whichever one you do, put the date on it somewhere.

Good luck,

I love all of the ideas here, the jewelry, calendars, hand/foot prints and I think that whichever one you choose, add to it with a handwritten note from you, stating exactly what you stated in your wonderful post. Or give her a copy of the post! That surely make this first holiday memorable! You struck gold in the MIL department, you should put it in writing for her! I also struck gold, which I appreciate now more than ever since I lost my mother 4 months after my first child was born. Happy holidays!

My mother in law lives in another country. one gift I got for her when her son was going to come to live in America, was a half filled photo album of where he was going to live, my house, friends family, etc... On the page right after the pictures, I wrote her a note that said I'd be filling up all the rest of the album and many more with pictures, so she would always have us near. It was a little corny, but she loved it. If you mil is close, that may not work, but you could modify the note somehow to make it fit. I get my pictures through snapfish. I order on line and then send them to Staples or Walgreens and they are only 9 cents a piece! sentimental is good.

another idea: I traced my hand in dark pink, my husbands hand in dark blue and my sons hand in light blue. I entwined our adult fingers to fit them into an 8 x 10 frame and then put my sons hand right over the top, so it was our family! didn't cost me a cent and my mom cried and hung it immediately on the wall, it still hangs there 3 years later.

Hand prints in clay that are painted.

For my daughters first Christmas we had her picture taken and then bought frames from Blacks that have a spot for a foot print and a spot for a picture. Grandparents love that stuff :) I think it was $20.

I think hand prints on clay from one of the do-it-yourself places is a good idea. One location is The Painted Pot in Rochester. There's another locaton in royal Oak, but I can't rember the name of it.

Make her a picture that she can hang in her home. A picture of her and your daughter in the center and your daughter's handprints on each side. I am sure she would love that!!

Hello D. :)
I have two ideas for you - both of which are a little on the expensive side and both of which have to be ordered online. So, perhaps timewise they won't really be possible for you right now since Christmas is not far away, but I figured I would give my two cents anyway - you could always use these ideas at a later date. What I did this year for my Mom for Christmas was I made her a Photo Book of our family (mostly my boys) off of the Shutterfly website. I had never done this before so I was unsure as to the quality of the product. I received it in the mail a little over a week ago and it is awesome!! Something that I think she will treasure forever - I really cannot wait to give it to her! I believe it is $30 for a book of 20 pages... each additional page is 0.99 cents. You can look for coupon codes online though too in order to cut the cost a little bit. The other idea that I have for you is something I got this year for my Mother-in-law. It is a basket made by the women of Rwanda through Macy's. There are many baskets to choose from and the money made from them goes directly to the women that made them. They can be used as fruit basket centerpieces for your table or you can hang them on your wall as artwork. I received her basket in the mail not too long ago as well and it is truly beautiful and very well-made! I think hers was around $45. Sorry to be so long-winded. Hope this helps! Have a wonderful holiday season!

K. :)




What about a heartfelt letter or note telling her exactly why you love her and everything she does for you and how much shes appreciated. Its something I think anyone would value very much, and also something she can keep and pull out and look at over the years.

My mother in law is one of those women who has everything so she's very difficult to buy for during the holidays. Ever since my daughter was born (in 2006), I've done a picture book for her and she LOVES it. She cries (tears of joy) every time she opens it. I make the book on photoworks.com and it's a professionally bound book with very nice quality pages. Here is a link: http://www.photoworks.com/shop/department.jsp;jsessionid=...
The cost ends up being just ove $40 with shipping. But you'll need to get started ASAP if you want it in time for Dec 25.

Hi D.!

If she's a jewelry person, I can suggest a beautiful bracelet with a heart charm that says "You are the gift." It was custom created for the company I represent, so it's very unique, exceptionally well made and the sentiment is priceless. I wear mine everyday and absolutely love it. As a mom of four, sometimes I have to remind MYSELF that I am special and loved (LOL!)

You can take a peek at www.barefootparties.com. Click catalog, then browse. Scroll all the way down to page 36. They're normally $32, but I'm clearing out my '08 inventory and have a few available at $20. There are also some cute Grandma things on pages 6-7. If you see anything you like, let me know. I have great deals available on many things. Everything in my inventory is 20-50% off catalog price.

It's wonderful that your daughter is blessed with such a great nana. Enjoy! L.

A necklace charm of a little girl, with your daughter's initals or name on it. Then, as she gains more grand children, you can add to the necklace. We got this for my MIL and she wears it every day!

How about something like a Christmas ornament or garden stone with your daughter's hand or footprint. You can add the little touches later. The tiny imprint from your precious daughter at 8 mos. is something precious you can never get back. I hope you have a very blessed Christmas!

I was in the same situation, although we live 2 hours away. My children are not biologically their grandchildren, but they treat them as if they were. I decided to make her something and my husband loved the idea. I purchaced the glass blocks from Home Depot. I drilled the hole in it and then put the lights inside and found ribbon that I thought fit her liking. When it was done, my husband thought it was beautiful and he is sure his mother will love it. Plus, I feel good knowing that I put all I had into it, making it perfect for her. Hopefully I helped. I just know in this day and age, Money is tight, and sometimes creativeness can go a long way.

I believe online or things remembered you can get a necklace with her picture laserd on. I have seen them
& they are very special.

Look into it.. You are very blessed with a awesome MIL

Let us know what you choose.


I just made calendars for my family (they are overseas and don't get to see my daughter), it was really easy once I had selected some pictures and you can even personalize the dates on the calendar. I used Shutterfly which costs $20.00 for one calendar and $10 for any additional ones and the turnaround time was really quick. I love the quality and I think my family will really love them. I'm sure you have several pictures of your daughter with your mil and they would look great in the calendar.


Congratulations on becoming a Mother! Enjoy her as she grows, especially now as a baby....they're just so lovable at this stage. However, allow me to suggest a massage. They actually have specials at this time, and you may be able to get a 2 for 1 special where you both can go. If you don't think that your MIL is that type of person, treat her to a day of a manicure and a pedicure. Whatever you think she enjoys, a good book, movie, photos of the baby in a photo album (they do have albums aimed at grandmothers with engravings and everything), you can get her those things as well that's less expensive.

Plant a tree - and attach a note - as this tree grows so do I, watch me reach for the skies, and get your child to "sign" and frame the note. An everlasting (hopefully) and green gift too!

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