Friday, November 24, 2017


I don't know about you guys, but I find shopping for holiday gifts for my parents to be one of the most challenging aspects of the holiday season. They don't want or expect me to spend large amounts of money on them, but I always want to find a few things they will be really excited about—even if they aren't super pricey. The truth is, most of the things they know they want or need they will buy for themselves! So with gifts, it becomes more about being creative or thoughtful in a way that surprises them, or upgrading something they already have.

To that end, I know everyone's parents are different! That's also what makes creating a parent-specific gift guide a little tricky, right? So take these ideas as a sort of inspirational jumping off point. Think about how each of them likes to spend their time, or what you like to do as a family. (Or what you wish you spent more time doing!)


  • Allbirds joggers ($95): So I have a pair of these shoes, and got my mom to buy her own this summer. We're both obsessed, as they are super-comfortable and ideal for both warm and cool climates. Even better? They're machine-washable. They're sized for men and women, but designed the same, making them a great gift for mom, dad or both!
  • Chanel bath soap ($26): Okay so this made my 'Under $50' gift guide last year, but I'm bringing it back this year. A luxury gift for under $30 is a rare find, and this is like, the most glamorous stocking stuffer ever. Your mom will be delighted, guaranteed.
  • Mark & Gram personalized business bag ($25): Am I the only one who thinks this is delightful? Swap out that rubber leash attachment shaped like a fire hydrant for this very elegant little leather pouch that can be embossed with your family dog's name. It's a silly but also kind of amazing gift, no?
  • Google Home Mini ($49): Part toy, part tool, the Google Home Mini is the perfect kitchen companion for parents. You can look up the weather, ask any question you'd, you know, look up on Google, and access music, schedules and more. With a little setup assistance, your parents will easily and quickly love having this little thing around.
  • Bushwick Kitchen honey ($39) and Regalis truffle salt ($28): My parents love to cook, so finding little ways to enhance their kitchen situation is always a good move. I've learned that drizzling spicy honey on prosciutto and ricotta on a piece of baguette is the most delicious thing ever, and truffle salt on homemade popcorn just couldn't be bad!
  • Uniqlo flannel shirt ($20): Whenever my parents come to New York, we alway go to Uniqlo. They love their affordable basics, and I do, too. My dad loves their shirts, especially the warm flannels that are perfect this time of year. My mom loves Heattech, especially this fleece turtleneck ($15) that's great for layering up while snowshoeing, cold walks or skiing!


  • A DEDICATED TECH SESSION: While many of our parents are quite savvy when it comes to social media or commanding use of an iPad, there are probably a few things they could use your millennial (ish) help figuring out. Maybe mom wants an Instagram account, or dad got an Apple Watch he has no idea how to really use. In a card, tell Mom or Dad that you're giving them an hour or two of truly dedicated time over the holidays to get them up to speed so they can keep up with the family's photo stream or track their workouts on a FitBit... You get the idea.
  • OPEN A SPOTIFY FAMILY ACCOUNT + CREATE PLAYLISTS: So this gift isn't quite free, but a family plan on Spotify is only about $14 a month. A great way to present this gift would be to wrap a vintage vinyl record and then in the card tell them you're upgrading their listening experience (or a cassette tape!). Then help set up accounts for Mom and Dad and set them up to follow some specially curated playlists you've created for each of them.
  • SHOP FOR, COOK + SERVE A MEAL: My parents happen to be excellent cooks, which makes this idea a rather daunting one for me, but one that I'm sure would be appreciated all the same. While it is really nice to come home and relax and let your parents take care of you over the holidays, a great way to thank them for all they do would be to return the favor at least once!
  • VOLUNTEER HOLIDAY HOURS FOR HOUSEHOLD STUFF YOU USUALLY AVOID: My parents moved into a new house last year, and our garage still houses tons of stuff that needs to be sorted, stored, donated or sold at some point. While it's tempting to avoid these tasks at all costs in favor of catching up with friends or sleeping, your parents will surely appreciate some time with you to go through your childhood belongings, clean out a closet, etc. It's a small gesture that will go a long way, I think.

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