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What Are You Getting Your Parents for Christmas?

Ok, it's clearly that time of year where we have to start thinking of gifts. My biggest problem is knowing what to get my own parents every year. Neither one of them have a hobby like golf or fshing. Both are retired. My mom is always happy with whatever we give (so she says). I really don't have a price limit, I'll buy whatever I know they'd like but I'm at a loss. So, to help get my ideas flowing in my own head, what do you plan on getting your parents for Christmas this year?


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In the past, we have gotten them DVDs of seasons of new crime shows since they don't get any channels where they live. This year, I am hoping to get into my craft room and make my mom some cards since she loves sending cards but isn't into making them herself. For my dad, I am sending him some home made treats.

3 moms found this helpful

The last three years we have gotten my mom a new gas grill, a television, and a computer. This year, one thing I know she'd like (and needs!) is a GPS for her car. Otherwise--I'm out of ideas for this year.....

3 moms found this helpful

I recently got an email from Barnes and Nobles about a wine selection (which I had no idea they did). I'm thinking about doing that for my parents - a box of different wines.

Good luck

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Gifts I've given in the past:

- Family photos (all their kids, grandkids, & spouses in group and indiv shots)
- Photo album of my son
- Adobe Creative Suite
- German Beers (one HEAVY present...it was over 40 bottles)
- Circus tix (cirque du soleil)
- Dinner train tix
- Teatro Zinzani tix
- lecture series
- Truffles (i made)
- Books
- Painting (as in I painted a few rooms)
- Family trees
- DNA art

7 moms found this helpful

My Dad, is not alive anymore.
My Mom is.
We hang a stocking for my Dad every year. And we put something in it.
One year, when my daughter was only a Toddler, she got one of her own toys and wrapped it up for her Grandpa. It was all her own idea. We put it under the tree for him.

For my Mom, well sometimes we get her things like tires for her car, or a gift cert for a spa, or a nice handbag. And always, photos of our kids. One year we even got her, from www.kodakgallery.com, a t-shirt with our kids photo on it. She loves that and wears it around. We also get her a photo calendar of the kids. Also from Kodak Gallery. They have GREAT photo gifts. And from Kodak, I do an annual photo Christmas ornament. EACH year... that way, my kids will when they grow up, have photo ornaments of them growing up, for their own family Christmas tree and it will be a valued memento of their childhood. Each year, the photo ornaments shows how my kids are growing up.

I really like photo gifts. I always use Kodak Gallery. They even have throw blankets and photo pillow cases too. Real cute. And photo mugs, which I have also given to my Mom and relatives.

Another great place for special gifts is www.etsy.com They have things handmade from Artisans and crafters. They also have photo pendant jewelry... really cute. I gave my Mom that one year... with a photo of my kids. She wears it and really likes it.

I find that my Mom and MIL, likes things, of the kids. And they can then, show it to their friends and "brag" about their grandchildren.

Or another idea is: if your parents like to read, get them a Nook or Kindle.

good luck,

5 moms found this helpful

I usually send my mom and stepfather a gift card for nice restaurant dinner in their area. They don't go out to eat very much and I am accustomed to eating out almost daily so it is a treat for them.
My daughter has started making candles and we will send a home made candle as well.
A couple years ago, I gave them a towel warmer for their bathroom so they'd have warm towels out of the shower or bath.
They are both retired, both golf and live on a golf course but they don't need any extra knickknacks. Sometimes I throw in an extra dozen of good golf balls as well.

My dad: retired, he is not as well off financially than my mom/stepdad. Last year, I called his gas company and has his gas tank filled so he would have plenty for heating in the winter.
He does have a freezer and I also send a package from someplace like Kansas City steaks or something like that with a variety of steaks and burgers. He loves country ham and I found a place where I can buy country ham in small packages. He loved that.

5 moms found this helpful

Mom and Dad are recently retired, and also had some unexpected and large expenses come up, and they're looking at their budget and trying to determine if they can continue to do some of their favorite fun things. So my brother and I are buying them giftcards for the things they love to do for the next couple of gift-giving occasions - at least until they get their new situation figured out.

For example, Mom loves taking the grandkids to the zoo, so I think all of the grandkids are going to get together and get her a zoo membership.

4 moms found this helpful

I asked myself this same question for years. And it wasn't until my mother died (this past Feburary) and my dad starting cleaning out the house did I realize all the things I could/should have bought for them.

As I was cleaning out her things and helping dad get what was left in order, I realized they could have used:

A new set of luxurious bed sheets (a really nice set that it feels good to snuggle down into)
A new recliner for the sitting area in their bedroom
Their dog a new bed
A new handbag from my mom
A fluffy new set of towels/washcloths etc.

I know this list sounds like normal stuff they could buy for themselves....but my parents (they were older parents-dad is 78) never replaced a lot of that kind of thing once they had bought it....or hadn't replaced it in years.

Anyway, just a few thoughts.

4 moms found this helpful

Gift Cards.. to either a super nice restaurant, or the really nice and fancy movie theater or, tickets to an event for next spring.

They do not need things.. So we have learned they love getting to try new places..

3 moms found this helpful

This year, I'm giving my mom a trivet with a picture of purple irises. It's also a souvenir from our trip to Louisiana, and as a joke has a recipe for how to boil water written beautifully in french. I'm not sure what to send my dad. He loves tools, but already has everything I can think of.
In previous years, I've gotten my dad a mailbox alarm which beeps when the mailbox is opened, a nice ice scraper, a set of cordless phones, and a music cd. I've given my mom cute craft punches, a handmade scarf and hat, a music note necklace, and an herbal tea sampler.
The last couple of years, my parents have just given us money.

3 moms found this helpful

The last three years we have gotten my mom a new gas grill, a television, and a computer. This year, one thing I know she'd like (and needs!) is a GPS for her car. Otherwise--I'm out of ideas for this year.....

3 moms found this helpful

My dad is a Hippie Musician and my mom is a Special Ed teacher....

I plan on drawing them each something life oriented(relevant to who they are)...but that is because it is my talent...

Make them something....I think making some one something is the biggest gesture of showing how much you love them...Your time is valuable and They will see all your hard work as Time spent outta LOVE!!

3 moms found this helpful


My dad is a woodworker - so I get him something from the Rockler catalog that he wants...or something for their RV...sometimes we give him a gift card to the RV Store...

My mom is makes blue jean blankets so I have given her gift certificates to JoAnns fabrics so that she can buy some backing, etc. that she might need...

My mom LOVES the velor style sweat suits..especially ones my boys pick out...my mom doesn't buy clothes for herself so we do. I found some capri pants at Kohl's last Friday with a shirt that matches them perfectly. I found a pair of jeans and a shirt to go with them and a really nice pair of slacks and a 3/4 sleeve blouse that matches them as well - YAHOO!!!!

My mom also is doing scrapbooks for each of her grandkids - so we get the stickers and stuff to put in the books...

If she needs a laptop - why not do that or maybe a webcam so she can keep up with the kids via skype instead of just a phone call.

I don't know how old your kids are - but maybe you could take pictures of them and make them into a calendar for them....about 4 years ago my brother, sister and I bought them a wall hanging clock - instead of the numbers for the hours - we put the pictures of all of us them at noon, my sister at 2, her boys at 3 and 4, my brother at 5, his kids at 6, 7, 8 then me at 9, my boys at 10 and 11...it hangs over their fireplace...

Hope you can get your juices flowing!!!

3 moms found this helpful

In the past, we have gotten them DVDs of seasons of new crime shows since they don't get any channels where they live. This year, I am hoping to get into my craft room and make my mom some cards since she loves sending cards but isn't into making them herself. For my dad, I am sending him some home made treats.

3 moms found this helpful

My parents have gotten to the age where it is extremely hard to get them something. They already have all they want/need and just don't seem to have any desires. So for the past five years or so, I have given them "events." I buy them tickets to plays in their areas, or concerts. I give them an old movie they love with a basket of stuff to eat (popcorn, etc.) while they are watching the movie at home. I give them outings with the kids (tickets to the museum, etc.) You can search around the area and find all sorts of fun things...mystery dinner theater, concerts at the Meyerson, plays, fancy meals at new restaurants, etc. If I can afford it, I put in cash for valet parking labeled "valet." It makes my dad go out (he'd rather stay in) and my mom (who would go out much more often) has an excuse to dress up.

My inlaws are a little harder because they already go out all the time. So we got my father-in-law (who loves to try new things) a 6 mos. subscription to "beer of the month) and they delivered some weird beer to him every other month. And my MIL got flowers every other month (the months that my FIL didn't get beer.) That was really fun.

3 moms found this helpful

Our parents only want stuff they use up since their house is small and they do not need more "things". So for my mom it is usually perfume, or crossword puzzle books, or a dinner out. For my in-laws we will probably get them each a Nook this year and then every year thereafter we can just buy them eBooks for the Nook, or B&N gift cards. We also buy them a combined birthday gift which has been a hour long boat tour every summer on a nearby lake, followed by dinner. I

3 moms found this helpful

My parents don't have hobbies either so it is sometimes hard to come up with a meaningful gift. Last year I got my parents a gift that they are still talking about - a photo mosaic. I ordered it from www.designamosaic.com and they really aren't that expensive. I used a photo that I had taken of my mom and dad. Then, you submit lots of other photos and they use those to make a mosaic of the original photo. Sounds confusing but it is really awesome. You need to check it out. I got a pretty large one and then framed it myself.

2 moms found this helpful

I am totally digging Groupons/Living Social coupons. I think they make great gifts and you can get more bang for your buck! I like the restaurants/manicure coupons.

2 moms found this helpful

Last Christmas, I got my parents an iPad. If you order it from Apple, it can be monogramed. My parents live about 5 hours away so we use Facebook & e-mail regularly. They love it!

2 moms found this helpful

My parents love the photo calendars I have made for them of all their kids, grandkids, and themselves. I make mine on Snapfish.com and their highest quality calendar is under $30. I also make one for my in-laws' family, and for my 90 yr old grandmother. My grandma told me it is the best Christmas gift she has ever received, because she has downsized into assisted living and doesn't have room to display lots of pictures, but she gets to have dozens up on the calendar.

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My family has decided not to do gifts any more for the adults, because it is always so hard to decide on something that I want or need, let alone what my parents want. We have decided to give the money that we would have spent on gifts and donate it to someone or some charity. The first year we gave the money to my Aunt. Her husband had recently passed away and he had no insurance. He left her with a lot of debt. She lost her house and was living with another Aunt and Uncle. She was moving into an assisted living apartment and we gave her the money we would have spent on gifts for each other so she could afford to buy things for her apartment. It was really nice and I kind of feel like it's what Christmas is all about any ways. We decided to continue that every year. It's not something that I would do without discussing it with them but if you think they would be interested it would be worth a try. Good luck! :)

2 moms found this helpful

I recently got an email from Barnes and Nobles about a wine selection (which I had no idea they did). I'm thinking about doing that for my parents - a box of different wines.

Good luck

2 moms found this helpful

this year I plan to do more homemade/meaningful gifts, as we are taking a trip for thanksgiving and wont be spending as much for christmas but doing more crafts, & baking with the kids & outings this year especially since next year we will be adding twins & probably wont be doing as much of all that lol ...

I plan to do a framed collage of my family for my parents, pics from when I was little along with pics of my kids that look similar (similar poses, or looks on the face etc) & also current family pics of us with the kids & of them with the kids. also there are 6 of us kids so we typically go in on a gift but that all depends if someone can come up with something they need/want

we will also be making homemade instant hot cocoa mix & putting it in containers, fudge, chocolate covered pretzels & raisins.

2 moms found this helpful

for my mom, slippers. i know it seems small but I get them for her every year. She does alot of quilting, and her cutting table is in the basment (as well as a giant $3000 machine that has to do with quilting but I honestly don't know what) and she goes through a pair every 6 mnths or so. my Dad is hard to shop for, you can't even get him gift cards because he forgets about them. He is a big stephen king fan so I bought he the entire season of Kingdom Hospital. Last year I got him a book with different beer recipes (he has a brewery in the basement.) As for my grandparents who sound more like your parents in the way that they don't really have hobbies, They are always complaining that they need more pictures of my son. So I am giving them a hardcover photo book with a bunch of pics from the past year. I created it on shutterfly for around$40

2 moms found this helpful

Coal, they did it to me when I did stupid things. :p

Seriously my brother and I go in together. Last year we got him a GPS that in his idiocy he managed to get stolen. :( If you were wondering apparently my father didn't know you can't leave a garage door with an opener with a sensor up a few inches because then people can open your garage door....he drives me nuts, can you tell?

2 moms found this helpful

I'm making my mom a no-sew fleece blanket. She naps a lot and it will be easy for her to carry with her, sometimes she naps in bed, sometimes on the sofa, sometimes in a recliner.

2 moms found this helpful

Things that you can do together would be great. For your mom, maybe a day trip to Canton, a play, or ballet would be something she would enjoy with you. For your dad, a trip to the Hollocust museum, play, sporting event, etc. Picture items are always a success too, you can do a photo album of all of their grandchildren. It can be a seasonal thing (only pictures from Christmas from the time they were born) or just the last year.

You can also do some different things like a basket of local goodies. Our farmers market has local honey, hot sauce, etc. One year my SIL made all of us a cheese plate and then put the hot pepper jelly, a box of crackers, and a cute knife on the plate...you generally serve the hot pepper jelly over cream cheese, so we had everything we needed but the cream cheese. If you get all local stuff that maybe she can't get or wouldn't take the time to go out and get, that would be neat.

1 mom found this helpful

What a nice question. It is fun to read the answers you have gotten.
In the past one of the things we have given to my parents, and my mil are gifts of time, with cards they can redeem- like 2 hours of raking leaves, shovel the driveway, take them shopping, paint a bathroom, etc.
This year one gift I will probably give my Mom a plant like a pointsetta, some homemade pumpkin bread and some underware- she won't buy any for herself, but it has been a long time since she has purchased some. Like others she does not "need" anything, but enjoys spending time with family and friends and loves flowers.
Some years one of my sisters has given calendars with pic. of her family. The calendar was a big hit.
Have a great holiday season.

1 mom found this helpful

The best present ever that I gave was one that made everyone cry--in a good way of course! It took a long time to do, but we are in September so it is still possible door you to accomplish. I love Shutterly.com. Great website. I went through allmy parents photo albums and boxes of photos that never made it to an album, and pick out photos. There are three of us kids, and my dad was military so we traveled around alot. So we had lots of fun pics. But anyway, what I did was make an album on Shutterfly with the photos, you have to scan them and upload it. I made the photos lay out exactly the same but customized the background and cover to each person( my parents got one and and bother got a more subtle background and my sister a more bubbly background..) I started with my parents photos from when they were dating ten moved onto their wedding and them then moved on to my birth and pics from when I was younger moving on to when my sister was born and her childhood, and
Then my brother. Everyone loved thealbum. It was like a biography of thour lives. Best present ever.

1 mom found this helpful

On my husband's side we started a few years ago making a calandar of all the grandkids. The grandparents loved it so much that it's now an "expected" gift! :) It's actually what we get the great-grandparents and my husband's uncle and aunt and her family. We used snapfish to do the calendar and just waited until December when they have their 25 days of Christmas countdown to get a good sale price. I've also looked at using shutterfly, but they are just a tad bit more expensive than snapfish's regular price. If I remember correctly we all ended up paying around $25 or so (there are four brothers and two girl cousins that go in together) for a total of 9 calendars.

It's now the calendar that the grandparents use for every day. You are even able to add pictures to the birthday dates and write on it how old each person is. For example, on January 5, we might have someone with a birthday and we'd put his picture on it and then say Frank's 92nd birthday. We did it for all the anniversaries too!

The challenge we have for the 2012 calendar is that my husband and I are expecting on December 10. The c-section will be sometime that week, but I'm hoping that the shopping deal will come after this one arrives, so we don't have to go through and hand write his/her birthday on it! :)

It usually only took about a week or so for a turn around. I know I was worried last year about it arriving in time and I think I ended up placing the order around the 14 or so of December and we had it in plenty of time for Christmas.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

My FIL just had a bday and the kids went in on an iPad and yr of data plan. He was thrilled and loves it.

1 mom found this helpful

Every year I make my mom and MIL a calendar with photos. I do it on Walmart.com. It only costs about $20, but takes some time and planning. The hardest part is collecting the photos from other family members. They love them so much that I have seen them take them off the wall and carry them to lunch with a friend to show off. So, last year along with the calendar, I made a little photo book of all the pics on the calendar, so they would have a smaller version to carry with them.

My dad says they have too many pictures already and that their house is cluttered with too many small frames. So, one year I bought them one of those digital photo frames and loaded a bunch of pictures on them. That way they could look at lots of pictures without the clutter.

Don't know if this would be appropriate for your parents, but for my MIL I buy her food at dinewise.com. She is a widow and pretty active most of the time, but there are many days that she does not get out. She lives several hours from us and my SIL that lives near her was complaining that my MIL was not eating well on the days that she is home alone. The food is high quality and flash frozen for freshness. The meals are sealed in plastic and all my MIL has to do is pop them in the microwave for a nice hot meal. I will admit that I have never tried any of it, but my MIL loves the food and so does the whole family. They have all thanked me for doing this. I have been disappointed that the prices seemed to have gone up and the selections change, but there is usually some kind of coupon or something to bring the price down a little. The meals are about what you would pay in a decent restaurant. I usually spend around $150 to $200 and it lasts here for about 6 months since she does not eat them every day. She says that most of the meals are enough for two people, so she will eat half one day and the rest another day.

Last year, I gave my parents a sitting at J C Penneys, then bought them a 16 x 20 Canvas certificate from Celebrating Home. They LOVE the new picture of them in their entry way. Everyone who enters their home notices it. Write back for details if you are interested.

Every year I give my parents a calendar with pictures of their kids and grandkids. My mom is difficult to buy for, but she loves this gift. Getting my siblings to contribute pictures can be difficult, so if you decide to do this you want to start early.

My parents do have a few hobbies, but seriously, how many golf shirts and golf balls do they need? A few years ago, my sister had the great idea to give my parents some very nice wines. My parents loved it so much we do it every year now. Four siblings contribute anywhere from $75-$100 each and my sister gets together with a wine expert she has come to know who helps her pick out several really good bottles. My mother loves to cook, and often makes very gourmet meals. They pull out one of "our" bottles of wine to go with special meals and think of us. They loved the wine so much the first year, they hinted it would be appreciated again. I like to think they toast their fabulous children!

Last year I got my parents some nice wind chimes for their new patio. My mom loves to sit outside and listen to them. The shutterfly book is a good idea too. Sometimes you can get groupons for various photo book companies, so keep an eye out.

My parents usually have lists for me, which helps. My husbands family, we almost always do a group gift (with his 3 siblings) and buy them "date nights". My husband gets online and looks through all the local theatre's, music shows, etc. and picks them a variety of things. A play, a musical or opera, some kind of jazz or orchestra tickets. We usually get them a restaurant gift card too. They love it, and for us, it's an easy way to get them a nice gift but not give them more stuff.


Sunny.. My In-Laws every year about this time start in on the family to start the list!!! LOL But.. In return they start a list also. The one thing that is always on there just in case for those of use that do not have much money or even who do.. car washes, Gas cards ( FIL) & for MIL.. Gift card to her favorite Hair Salon for getting her hair done and for Mani/pedi's. When all else fails that is what we all resort to.
Tracy C: You have come up with some "interesting" things.. mailbox alarm? :) Check out this site: http://www.kotulas.com

My mom specifically asked we never her send her gift she has to dust!

Our parents are in their 70s and seem to have all the typical "stuff". Both sets of parents LOVE the NETFLIX SUBSCRIPTIONS we gave them. They enjoy browsing for movies or shows and the DVDs (they don't stream) are delivered, no late fees, etc. They consider this a gift that keeps on giving every month! (Even with the rate increases it's still a well priced gift.) They don't want us to buy another gift in addition to the subscription but sometimes we'll put together a movie snack pack or give a book related to movies, etc.

Someone else mentioned the DIGITAL PHOTO FRAME which our parents loved at first, and we would send a new disc with new photos twice a year, however, they were so concerned with wasting energy by leaving the photo frame on that they rarely use it! (Personally I love the photo frame idea!)

We also brought our folks into the celluar age by giving them CELL PHONES and SERVICE. They consider these "emergency phones" and refuse to text but they are slowly coming around. My mom lives across the country and now uses her phone for long distance calls since her landline service charges extra.

Happy shopping, you've recieved lots of ideas!!

My mom has a boat that she takes out on the lake with her husband, so for her birthday I got her a portable picnic set.

This year I'll probably get her some cooking stuff... like spice mixes or a cookbook or a gift card to a cooking store... My mom is kind of into cooking (of course she wasn't when I was a kid- geeze!) and thankfully mixes and stuff can be used up (or tossed and I wouldn't know). I try to get things I think people will like... and then leave it at that. Gifting adults is so hard because people like my mom either have what they want, or buy the things they want when they want them, or the things they don't buy are too expensive for me to afford as a gift. Thankfully, my mom gets it... and is happy with whatever we can afford, even if it is just a card.

I try not to buy gifts for people that I will be offended if they don't like or use... so big, expensive gifts are only things people particularly ask for! I learned my lesson last year when I broke my rule and bought my FIL a awesome tool cabinet we *thought* he would love. He unwrapped the gift, and didn't even open the actual box before he said "Oh great, now I can go return this gift and buy that riding lawnmower I wanted". In my head I thought 'how ungrateful, and why didn't you tell anyone you wanted a lawnmower in the first place, jerk!" He exchanged it the day after Christmas. - Anyways, I am still steamed a year later about it, and I have declared to my husband that this year his dad gets a gift card and that is that. The lesson: Don't buy things that you'll be offended if someone returns.

My dad will get something "penguin themed" - why?... he has a penguin camping trailer that is filled with penguin stuff.

If you can't come up with something... send food... it is eaten up, so they aren't stuck with a gift to store forever!


Sadly, I dont have the opportunity to buy for my parents anymore. But age was a consideration for me. As they got older I went to more practical things. Like a sweatshirt for a favorite sports team. Dad kept the ac in the Texas heat at 84...When mom was in the assisted living I gave her flowers...She didn't need anything. Hope this helps...

tAke care!

Oh, my parents are so hard to shop for. I haven't read anyone else's answers, but basically, I ask my parents to tell me what they want. The problem isn't even that they don't have hobbies or whatever, it's mostly I don't know what they've already bought themselves. That's honestly the primary problem with shopping for any adult - the only reason they haven't bought something they really want for themselves is because it's too expensive, which means it's too expensive for me to buy it for them as a gift!

Are there any sort of expensive kind of mundane presents that you can give? I remember one year a friend of mine bought her dad a case of motor oil, because he always changes his own oil. A couple of my in-laws give us gift baskets of expensive cheeses or breakfast pastries. It's not my favorite present, but maybe your folks would like it?

One present my mom really liked one year was a custom calendar. I gathered up OLD Christmas pics of my brother and I for the December page. Old Mother's Day pics for the May page, old Easter photos for April and so on. October was my brother's b-day pics and us in out costumes. She still has it, now it is a mini photo album instead of a 2002 Calendar :)

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