Holiday Gift Guide Life + Arts

Finding the perfect gift for Mom and Dad

Picking gifts for parents isn’t as bad as many make it out to be. Like anything else, there’s an art to it, and most of it involves paying attention, which you no doubt have been doing growing up with them all your life. But in case you’ve missed something big, or they’re just not very open about their likes and preferences, here are some tips you can use to help shop for Mom and Dad.

Red ToolboxIs there anything they use often that you can replace?

We’re often unaware of the things we use in our daily lives, and it’s sometimes shocking when they start losing their zip. Replacing something as simple as a dull hat, a set of tools, an old cutting board or kitchen knives shows them that you care about the things they do daily.

Accessories that they wear.

Ties, cuff links, bracelets and scarves are things they probably have a lot of, but you can make a special addition that gives them some sentimental pleasure while donning their favorite accessories. You’ll no doubt put a smile on their faces every time they glance at what you’ve given them.

A new book from an author they like.

If your parents are working-class and middle-aged, it’s more than possible that they’ve forgotten about their favorite authors while living a busy life. Look at some of their recent books, check for series missing the latest addition, and look at authors’ websites to see if they’ve got a new read your parents will enjoy.

A favorite movie, or music from a long-lost era.

Parents sometimes seem like they’re from another planet, but it will also do to appease their otherworldly culture. Go through their CD collections and see what they have, and think about what they might be missing. Likewise, listen to them muse about their favorite films, and see if you can nab one and add it to the DVD rack.

Hobby-specific gifts that will last for a lifetime.

A new fishing hat and equipment, gardening gloves and exquisitely glazed ceramic pots, paperweights and bookends… for every hobby, there’s a list of supplies, trinkets and accessories. Try to find gifts with a little bit of you and your parents in them to heighten the sentiment.

A card or letter to show your appreciation.

Once you’ve chosen a gift, attach a card or letter to it. If you choose to give them a card, write something more than just your name. Be thoughtful, thank your parents for what they’ve done for you and wish for them to be happy and healthy. They would like to know that you appreciate them.

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