Present for Mother's 80Th

Updated on July 08, 2019
J.G. asks from Chicago, IL
12 answers

My mom is turning 80 in August. We had wanted to throw her a party but she decided she just wanted something small at her house. My folks are in good health (save for being a little more forgetful and annoying.)

She's been on me for years to bring the kids to Florida during their 8 week stay; I thought maybe I would write in a card that we'd love to join them for a week next year. My kids will create things for her, but I would like to come up with an actual gift.

I'm not crafty, and I really don't want to put a lot of time into something since I'm throwing the party (and we leave for a two week international trip 4 days later.)

I saw a journal/question book this morning that looked interesting-- a reflective/memories book. Maybe something along these lines, where she creates something for us that celebrates her many years?


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So What Happened?

We will be joining them for a week in Florida and then I think I'll do an 80 things we love about you thing. I have a few crafts my youngest can chose from, and then my older two can figure it out for themselves.

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answers from Washington DC on

the memory book is sort of demanding that she create a present for you, isn't it?

80 year olds don't need stuff. the promise to visit her is perfect.

add a handmade invitation from the kids to take her out for formal afternoon tea, or to her favorite concert venue, or some other experience.

good for you for listening to her about not wanting a big party.


3 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

I wouldn't give her a project to do unless you know that's something she would enjoy. Does she keep a journal or diary already?
As far as "gifts" most of us don't really need anymore stuff. How about tickets to a show, is she into theater or ballet or musicals? How about a ball game? I like giving experiences rather than things whenever possible.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

For my mom's 80th, we did a scrapbook, with everybody taking a 2-page spread. We got the kind with plastic sleeve pages, so everyone (several families - her kids and their kids) bought the background pages they liked, and then put in photos, a letter, captions and those little stick-on embellishments you buy at the craft store. You don't have to be too crafty to do it.

For her 90th, we did something for just our family. We wrote a list of 90 Things We Love About You and typed them into a template available on Shutterfly. There are other services that do the same thing. They give you templates and you can have any number of items on one page, other items on the next page.

We uploaded a few photos, for the cover, inside cover and on a few of the pages, and then everyone was responsible for a certain number of things. If you have 2 kids, for example, each kid could do 15 things and so could you and your husband - that's 60. Those would be individual memories, or "I love how you...." and "I remember how you...." sort of statements. Put a photo of her with each kid on that kid's pages, or a photo of the remembered activity or trip.

The remaining 20 (which would bring your total to 80) would be group things - a trip you all took together, something funny she always says, her recipe for X or Y that you all love, and so on. It takes a few hours, you pay your money, and it comes in the mail. It's one of a kind, and she'll love it.

It took me almost as long to write this as it would take you to do it. Message me if you have questions and I'll send you the links.

And before you submit this for printing, be sure to have a 3rd party proofread it for you!!!

Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Haha - "Happy 80th Birthday, get to work!"

Don't "gift" her a project. If anything, you can casually mention that journal to her at another time.

How about a nice spa day? One of the high-end city hotel spas? (Like in NYC we have the Mandarin Oriental spa, etc.)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I don't know your mom. But I do know that at 80 - they don't want "things". My dad who died at 83 wanted MEMORIES - not THINGS.

So I would do something to make memories with your mom instead of a "gift".

If you want the kids to write something special they remember about her with a photo that she can hang on the wall? Go for it.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

My mom, now 90, MUCH prefers experiences -- and not always with her kids or grandkids (although she certainly enjoys those things as well & we have fun together).

Some gifts my mom has received that she really liked:
* an afternoon with friends: this included a restaurant gift card and museum tickets for her and two friends. Her college-age granddaughter provided door-to-door transportation, including picking up friends and returning them home. If museums aren't your mom's "thing", find an event she and her friends could enjoy.
* a garden overhaul: Mom loves her yard and her flowers but can't do the heavy-duty work she used to. We hired a local landscaper who took direction well (just because she can't do it doesn't mean she doesn't have STRONG opinions -- she knows what she wants!). It was one afternoon of weeding, tilling, planting and mulching that brought her joy for months.
* fancy tea: Several of us took her into the city for a lovely formal tea, then a brief, easy stroll in the Public Gardens.
* home dinner party: Again, this was with her circle of friends. My sister is an excellent cook. Mom invited several friends over and my sister and her daughter cooked a wonderful meal, included all the pampering at a good restaurant: lovely background music, cocktails and appetizers, a favorite meal of my mom's on nice china and a (store bought) dessert, then cleaned up. They brought everything they needed and left a tidy kitchen (with leftovers in the fridge).

Happy birthday to your mom!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

It sounds like your mother has already indicated to you that what she wants is an 'experience,' namely the gathering with her nearest and dearest. Perhaps your gift can be having someone take lots of photos at the event and then putting the best ones in a small photo album? I'm not even suggesting a scrapbook--too much craft work!--just a photo album.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I agree with everyone else that an experience gift far outweighs a 'thing' (object) gift - especially when they are getting up in years.

If her memory is going then a reflective/memories book may not be the right thing anyhow. I think she'd rather spend time with you.

We do a weekend of my mom and myself and my siblings. She absolutely loves it. We rent a house/cottage, divy up the meals, sit outside on the deck, drink wine, wrap her in a shawl, pamper her, and she just loves to spend the weekend with her children - listening to us all laugh and share memories. Our spouses do not join us, nor do our children.

We travel to make this happen once a year, on her birthday. It's very special. We started when she was about 75. We always frame a pic from the birthday for her for the 'gift' afterwards for a nice reminder.

If you could even do something for a dinner, brunch - whatever, with just yourself, or whatever group .. that would mean far more, trust me.

Hope that helps :)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

My mother will be 81 in about a month, she has enough possessions as is and doesn't want more. I imagine your mother must be the same way. How about having someone come in and do a house cleaning for her, a spa day where she gets her nails done, or you treat her to a fancy restaurant she likes? If she likes a botanical garden, a little road trip to a local botanical garden may be nice. I took my mother to Naples a few years ago (about a 2 hour drive) to a botanical garden, she loved all the beautiful plants and flowers, it gave her a chance to exercise in beautiful scenery, and then we went out to dinner together.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

For my grandma’s 90th I got a her a display plate and had all the family sign it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

My MIL is 80. Hard to believe.

I wouldn't give my mom a present to make me something. that's not a present. Sorry. Memory books are great! But they aren't a project and birthday present for the recipient to do. That's MY opinion though.

She doesn't want gifts. She wants TIME and memories. Not projects. Not a project. She wants memories to make with the grandchildren. Her husband died totally unexpectedly 5 years ago. She wonders how many memories could have been made with him. She's still sad and unfortunately, ready to go be with him. She's only wanted to spend time with the family doing fun things, parks, museums, places.

Do something with her. Create a memory.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

A nice watch that could be handed down.
A nice memory book with a life time of pictures. Ask her a series of questions and make a memory book with current photos of family.


A nice watch that could be handed down.
A nice memory book with a life time of pictures. Ask her a series of questions and make a memory book with current photos of family.

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