Remember the homemade cards we used to give our parents on holidays? And as they would gush over the card, our hearts would swell with pride and excitement? Well, even though the days of homemade cards are over for most of us, we still want to capture that feeling of giving something really special. With some real thought and creativity, it is possible to give your now senior parents something that they will love almost as much as those homemade cards.
Books are always a good choice. Spend some time looking through their bookshelves, talk to people close to your parent, make a list of things that he or she is passionate about. Maybe cooking is their passion, or perhaps the issue of education gets them fired up. It is possible that their bookshelves are filled with historical novels or psychological thrillers. Once you have determined what they want in a book, do some research to find out what authors write the most relevant books. Read reviews to see if a certain book is interesting. Invest the time to get them something they will want to keep on their bookshelf for years.
Another great option is to get them a food that they generally don’t have access to. For example, my mother used to love Marshall Field’s Frango Mints when she lived in Chicago. Having been in Phoenix for over 20 years, it’s always a special treat when she happens to get a box of those mints. Or maybe your parents are planning a trip to an exotic location. Order something that the region is known for or some food related to that place. Not only will it be a thoughtful gift, but also an exciting precursor to their upcoming vacation.
Framed photos are the equivalent of a homemade card. Find or take a great photo of yourself with the people you love – your kids, your spouse, even your dog – and purchase a nice picture frame. You will be surprised at how appreciative your parent will be and how often they will want to show off that picture.
In general, any gift that required some thought is a good gift. Even if you just get your mother a bouquet of her favorite flowers, it’s a good gift because it shows that you pay attention to what she likes. If your father always eats mustard on his sandwiches and likes trying out new mustards, get him a specialty mustard. Thoughtful gifts don’t have to be elaborate or expensive. The best gifts are rarely either. In an era when e-cards have replaced written letters and emails are more common than phone calls, maybe just your presence is the perfect gift. After all, a big hug and a trip to your parent’s favorite restaurant can say a lot more than any store-bought present.