Parents can be a big gift-buying challenge at Christmastime. If your parents are anything like mine, they will flat-out tell you not to get them anything. “We have everything we need,” my parents tell me — and honestly, they’re not wrong. But the joy of Christmas is in the giving!
So if you’re like me and determined not to show up empty-handed, here are some ideas to help you pick the perfect Christmas gifts for mom and dad.
1. Gifts That Encourage Your Parents’ Hobbies
Despite what you might think, your parents may not thank you for trying to get them into a new hobby. Chances are, they already have hobbies they love, so consider gifts that will complement them. For example, my mom is nuts about lawn gnomes. She collects them, paints them, and covers her yard with them every summer. No one can go wrong getting her another lawn gnome. If your dad’s hobby is yelling at his favorite sports team on the television, you’ve got plenty of options to help him show his team spirit.
2. Gifts the Whole Family Can Enjoy Together
Many parents, especially if their children live far away, just want to spend time with their family during Christmas. So why not pick games and puzzles the whole family can enjoy together? My dad’s physician recently advised him to put together puzzles to help with some cognitive problems, so this Christmas, we’re wrapping up a ton of puzzles for us to do together during our visit. Party games can also be a great family activity — just make sure it’s something everybody can enjoy. Let’s face it, Monopoly has brought many a family to the brink of tragedy.
3. Gifts For Mom and Dad’s Inner Techie
Ok, so maybe our parents aren’t the most tech-savvy, but we can help them get there! Parents not getting along with modern technology is one of the most common jokes on the Internet. My own parents own a universal remote with all but six buttons covered with duct tape. I fully anticipate having to play tech support and troubleshoot the computer before I leave. But every year, they talk about how much they love the Blu-Ray player we bought them, and how glad they are we didn’t listen when they said their ancient VCR was “perfectly fine.” Sure, you might need to hook something up and teach your parents how to use it, but that’s just more quality time, right? This year, I’m thinking about getting my mom a tablet or e-reader, if only because she can’t fit any more books on her shelves. (It may even end up saving her money!)
4. Gifts That Recall the Past to Enjoy in the Present
If you can’t get really sentimental at Christmas, when can you? The holidays are a perfect time to get crafty with art supplies and put together a handmade memento or keepsake of your time together with your parents. Assembling photographs of yourself in a scrapbook, or even putting some family pictures in a digital photo frame, can make a wonderful gift. Finally, a use for those old vacation photos! DIY gifts for mom and dad can really speak from the heart, so consider making some for them this year.
5. Gifts For More Quality Time Together
Not every gift has to be something you unwrap. The holidays are a reminder that time is a precious commodity. Invite your parents out to a nice breakfast together. If you have younger siblings, offer up some free child care so your parents can enjoy an afternoon to themselves. Most of all, spend some time together and make some good memories. (And take lots of pictures to put in a frame next Christmas. See? You can be practical and sentimental!)
What’s the best gift you ever gave your parents at Christmas? Tell me about it in the comments! And, if you need more ideas to help you choose great gifts for mom and dad, be sure to check out our holiday gift guide!