Gifts for Parents? Thoughtfulness Is Key to Great Gift-Giving

Because you know your parents so well, they should be the easiest people on your list to shop for – yet they’re often the most difficult, for a variety of reasons: You want to please them so much you end up dismissing every idea based on the slightest possible imperfection. They already have everything they truly need. They don’t want you to spend any money on them. The list goes on. So first, clear your mind of any worries or negative thoughts, otherwise you’ll sabotage yourself at every gift-giving idea.

Be open to anything, and brainstorm. You can always cross off any inappropriate items later. Think about not only what they might possibly need, but the things that make them smile, happy memories they’ve related to you about their past, and current things they talk about that puts that extra spring in their step. Keeping these things in mind, consider the following gift suggestions:

Accessorizing Mom or Dad

While a new shirt or blouse may often turn out to be the wrong size or be cut to an uncomfortable fit, accessories can make wonderful gifts for parents. For instance, a jaunty cap for Dad and, in the same color family, a stylish scarf for Mom may be just the ticket. These are practical items that don’t cost too much and that each individual can wear alone, yet when they’re out together they’ll be complementarily fashionable.

Give a Gift of Gadgets

Be careful with this one, because some parents abhor new technology, regardless of how much or little it costs you. If they’ve deliberately stuck with their princess phones for the past many years, they might not appreciate the latest, greatest cell phone with all the accoutrements, no matter how much it impresses you. If, however, their VCR spits out tapes five times before accepting one, you might consider a DVD player (and possibly also having at least some of their favorite videos converted to DVD at the same time). Or, if they already have a standard DVD player, maybe they’d like one that records as well. The creative balance you’ll need here is in easing them one or two steps ahead of where they’re at, rather than pushing them into a giant technological leap they’re likely to resist.

Send Your Parents Packing (for the Day)

If their eyes light up when they talk about a certain vacation, see if there’s something similar in their area but on a smaller scale. Many cities and towns offer tours of various interests, from historical sites to architectural landmarks to hobby/collectible-related themes. If they loved the Mediterranean cruise they went on years ago, they might enjoy a boating cruise for a few hours, or even a riverboat casino. Check the website of their town for listings of, or links to, outings of local interest they might enjoy.

A Monthly Gardening Gift Program

Many people enjoy gardening but are hesitant to go beyond the basics, or want to start but aren’t sure how. offers a Gardener of the Month club gift option, providing all sorts of gardening items that can be delivered straight to your parents’ door. From various plants, seeds, small accessories and tools, to organizational aids and informative materials, these gifts easily provide what’s needed to start, or add to, a gardening project.

These are just some of the unique and creative ways you can show your appreciation and love for your parents – by giving gifts they can cherish for years to come.