A guaranteed conversation between me and my siblings this time of year is, “Do you know what you’re giving Mom and Dad for Christmas?” Buying for parents can be tricky because the really good gifts from adult children are not necessarily things you can buy at the mall. Instead, the best Christmas gifts for parents require some thought and sentiment. It’s a matter of finding the gift that only you can give. My brother and sister and I have a quiet competition each year to see who can score the “magic gift.”
If you don’t have the “magic gift” up your sleeve this year, here are a few ideas that might help you to find one.
- PLAY TICKETS: Season tickets or even tickets to a single show can be a huge hit. This year, we are taking my parents to Desert Star Playhouse to see It’s a Wonderful Life. My mom seriously cheered when I invited her. (So did my girls.) Broadway UtahWicked tickets are going on sale. A bigger pocketbook could really score big with a gift like that!
- CANVAS ART: Any sentimental photo on canvas can be guaranteed winner. Last year, my brother gave my dad a canvas art photo of my dad with all his sons at the NCAA basketball game. Taking the guys to the NCAA games is one of my dad’s favorite traditions. This gift made the tradition into a work of art. Costco does canvas art for a pretty good deal.
- FRAME YOUR KIDS ART: This makes your kids feel fantastic and your parents feel honored. The water colors I gave my parents last year are still on display in their library.
- HOMEMADE CALENDAR: My brother makes a calendar with photos of his boys every year for the grandparents for Christmas. They love it. Here is a link for making a photo calendar through FedEx Kinko’s.
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- ONE of a KIND T-SHIRT: Whenever you are lucky enough to find a “one of a kind” anything for parents, consider yourself lucky in gift giving. This year, I have made my dad a one-of-a-kind t-shirt. Wordle helped me with the art. Custom Ink is sending me the shirt for $21. Custom Ink has awesome one-of-a-kind t-shirt ideas for the holidays. There are templates or the option to make your own and free shipping until December 12th.
PERSONALIZED JEWELRY: What mom doesn’t want a locket with a picture of her grandchildren? Or a necklace with the names of her children? I found this awesome “family names stacker” necklace on Etsy.
- DATE NIGHT: If you combine resources with other family members, it’s fun to create a parent date night basket. One year, my siblings and I gave my parents tickets to a Utah State basketball game and a gift certificate for a Bed and Breakfast. Another year, we gave them a room at the Little America, a pair of [Jazz tickets](http://arenacenter.org/ResultsVenue.aspx?event=Utah+Jazz&vname=EnergySolutions+Arena+(formerly+The+Delta+Center%29&venid=404&nid=1&ppcsrcBase=1-HY-PTX-Ener-Utah+Ja&dist=GS&uq=utah%20jazz%20tic), and Jazz sweatshirts. A big hit!
- SERVICE: Is there a service you could perform for your parents that they can’t do on their own? Could you detail their cars? Set up a family blog for them to keep track of their grandchildren? Paint their family room? My friend Leslie takes her carpet cleaner to her mother in law’s house every Christmas to shampoo her carpets for her. Love that.
I know how touched I am Christmas morning when my daughters hand me a gift they have put some thought and extra love in to. Our parents still feel the same about us. It’s a definite holiday challenge, but well worth the effort!