When it comes to buying gifts for our parents during the holidays, many of us are left stumped. It’s tricky to find something meaningful, useful and, let’s be honest, not too expensive. Even worse, parents often claim they don’t “need” anything — making holiday gift-giving stressful and complicated.
In my family, my parents had one rule when it came to Christmas: gifts had to be made. As a result, my siblings and I spent many evenings around the kitchen table with paper, glue, and snipping scissors. I wrote poems. I made collages out of their favorite magazines or photos. I personalized mugs or frames. I created scrap books and homemade cards on the computer. It was a touching tradition, and one that I think about this year as the holidays approach.
Before you cringe and close this tab, I’m not saying you have to go old-school and make a gift for your parents from scratch. But if you’re like me and want to give them something creative, personal, or that tells a story, I’ve come up with some options this holiday season that will not only feel special and unique to your parents, but also not burden your wallets.
This book and its companion are for the humorous parents in your life. They are lighthearted and goofy stocking stuffers that will be sure to bring out a laugh in your parents this Christmas.
A trial subscription to a food delivery prep service: $9–$15 a meal
Give your parents the gift of some good meals with a food delivery trial. They’ll enjoy great food without the hassle of leaving their home, and can enjoy a date night in. Prices vary per meal and package, but all offer tasty, fresh recipes you can feel good about giving your parents.
A best-selling novel or memoir — here’s a list to start: about $15
Everybody loves a good story. And reading is a great way to keep your memory sharp and lower stress. Don’t know where to start? Here’s a list of senior-approved books that parents of any age will love.
Tickets to a local show, game, or concert: prices vary
Does your mom love the ballet? Is your dad a music buff? Look up some upcoming events and give your parents a night out to enjoy a favorite band, show, or sports team. They’ll love making new memories together.
This cordless electric wine opener is a chic and inexpensive gift to elevate cocktail hour. Your parents will thank you for making the wine opening process faster, smoother, and easier. Maybe they’ll even share a glass with you this season.
Sunrise alarm clock: $20
This sunrise alarm clock uses a warm LED light to gently rouse your parents from their well-deserved rest. It starts to gradually brighten 30 minutes before wake-up time and can also work as a night light. As a bonus, it includes soothing nature sounds and also doubles as an FM radio.
Photo book: $20
Photo books are a great way to honor your family and childhood. This year, design your parents a photo book showcasing all your favorite memories with them growing up, from past to present. Have fun reminiscing together and re-telling stories.
Essential oil diffuser: $23.99
Give your parents a little spa treatment with this essential oil diffuser. Its sleek design can be showcased anywhere in the house and will transform a room into a place of relaxation and tranquility.
Movie ticket gift certificate (suggestion: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood): $25
A gift certificate for movie tickets is always a winner. This way, your parents get to choose the film and specific date that works for them, and you can relax knowing you’ve given them a fun night out.
Custom watercolor house portrait: $25
These custom watercolor portraits are a beautiful and thoughtful gift that will honor your parent’s home. This could be the house you grew up in, their current home, or a place that brings both you and your parents warm memories. They’ll love this conversation starter and art piece.
Take the personalized mug to the next level with this cute family portrait mug. Mom and Dad will love thinking of you, your siblings, and even pets as they enjoy their morning coffee or relax with a cup of tea.
Cozy slippers: $30
Cozy slippers are a household staple, especially as the days get colder and shorter. Pamper your parents with this soft, snug pair. They come in multiple colors and work for both men and women.
This inspiring and thoughtful journal is designed to walk your parents through the different stages in their lives. It includes thought-provoking questions to capture favorite memories and stories. This is a gift that will keep on giving — one you and your family will love sharing for generations to come.
Self-care box: $32
This self-care tin includes a variety of options to pamper your parents and bring the spa right to their home.
Winc wine delivery: $39
Give the wine lovers in your life a trial to Winc Wine Delivery. Each box includes four different wines curated based on your parent’s tastes.
Digital photo frame: $39
Digital photo frames are a great way for your parents to feel connected to you and reminisce about significant moments in their lives. Photos are easily updated to remain current or highlight various times throughout your parent’s lives.
What better way to honor your family tree than on a tree sliced from a sustainable forest? Your parents will be floored after seeing the family tree painstakingly engraved and hand-illustrated in this show-stopping gift.
Etsy family portrait: $75
Bring your family to life with this custom family portrait watercolor. Your parents will love hanging this piece in their home.
You’re never too old to learn something new! MasterClass brings state of the art education right to your parents by offering hundreds of online courses from world experts. Parents can go at their own pace and will have access to extensive video content, a class workbook, interactive assignments, and community activities.
This Christmas, you can relax knowing you’ve given your parents a meaningful and personal gift that doesn’t have to break the bank.