Ah Christmas; the magical time of year and a season of giving. Who doesn’t love giving and receiving gifts? I love the giving part of Christmas… mainly because I love shopping and will look for any excuse to do so. But, I also love the challenge of finding gifts that different people will adore. From friends to family, putting together awesome gifts is fun and exciting. But finding the right gifts for your in-laws? That’s a different story.
I am incredibly lucky in that I have amazing “in-laws”. My boyfriend, Drew, has three younger sisters, who I consider my best friends, and his parents are a freaking riot. Does that make gift giving easy? Hell. No. I consider myself to be a thoughtful person and I want the gifts I give to be personal. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t gifts that are staples or safe bets when shopping for your in-laws. So, here are some thing to keep in mind when shopping for your mother- and father-in-law this holiday season;
Do they cook?
- “Literally Every. Single. Meal.”
Why not get them sweet charcuterie board items? Cheese boards and knives, jams, jellies, specialty cheeses, and even recipe books make great gifts for those who entertain. If you want to extend it or make two separate gifts for your mother- and father-in-law, add some specialty hot sauces, BBQ spices, or grilling tools.
Tip: HomeSense is the perfect spot for finding gems for these kinds of gifts.
- “I don’t even think they own pots or pans”
Supporting local business has been becoming increasingly popular and important. If your in-laws love to eat out/get takeout, get them a gift card to a new local restaurant or area of your city/town. In Kitchener-Waterloo (where I live), both Uptown Waterloo and Downtown Kitchener's Business Improvement Areas offer gift cards that can be used at tons of locally owned restaurants within each area. These types of gift cards are great because you’re not limiting the recipient to a specific restaurant, but you’re supporting local business owners. Double win!
Are they wine/beer/liquor drinkers?
There are soooo many products available for the fun-loving people in your life. Wine aerators, cork shadow boxes and specialty bitters are great low-risk gift options. Try to shy away from whiskey/wine glass sets. Unless you know the exact set that someone already has and you’re gifting the matching set that extend their collection, drinkware is not the best option. Everyone has their own style and taste, so the last thing you want to do is make them feel obligated to use and display something that they don’t like.
An exception to this is if you’re buying a candle from a brewery. I love these and think they make a great small addition to any gift!
There is one more exception to this… and it includes adding humour. Drew’s mom, Connie, has lots of mix and match wine glasses, so adding to her collection is a little more flexible. Last year, his dad went through a stint with loving all things porpoises. Yes, porpoises. So, what did I get him? A dolphin wine glass like this one from Pier1… along with a porpoise shirt, and socks, and a donation certificate to WWF that came with a porpoise stuffed animal. He also ended up getting a custom porpoise gym bag for his daily workouts at the gym pool. Needless to say, he asked for “no more porpoise shit” this year. Fair. But worth it.
What’s their style?
Fashion is a risky one, but if you have help from your SO, you might be able to nail it. Last year, we got my boyfriend’s mom a beautiful watch that she wears regularly (win). And a couple of years ago, we got her earrings which also worked out. Accessories are a little easier because well, let’s face it, anything sparkly for a woman is usually a good option. For a mother-in-law, a pretty travel/mini makeup or lipstick bag is even a safe (an inexpensive) bet. For a father-in-law, try to stay away from everyday clothing… it’s kind of weird. Instead, why not look into a funky sports team Christmas sweater or baseball cap?
Do you have any inside jokes with them?
As I previously mentioned, the last running joke was the porpoise obsession. This year? Well, my boyfriend’s dad has some staple quotes (like to the point where his entire Father’s Day card was filled with ‘Jeff Quotes’ this year), but one of his recent favourites is “dishes bitches!!!” Don’t take this misogynistically… this guy cooks and cleans like a rock star. Anyways, Jeff wanted me to design and put sweaters up on the store with this stretched across it. I did not. BUT, I did make him a custom Christmas sweater with “DISHES BITCHES!” printed on for all to see. Now, don’t think that I’m just going to equip him with this sweater without making sure Connie isn’t wearing a Christmas sweater that fires back. So, I had Drew’s youngest sister, Kristen, send me a photo of Jeff doing the dishes. Yes, I put a massive photo of Jeff doing dishes on a Christmas sweater; and let me tell you, these sweaters are epic.
General rule of thumb: Pay attention! Also, when in doubt, go for the lighthearted and fun stuff. That’s what Christmas is all about!
Happy holidays! ❄️