There are only so many sweaters, necklaces and pocketknives a person can acquire before it gets to be a bit much. “At a certain age, we start to comprehend the sacrifices our parents have made for us,” says Shelley Hunter, the gift expert known as The Giftcard Girlfriend. “With this understanding, we feel compelled to give gifts that adequately convey our feelings of love and appreciation. That’s a tall order for a trip to the mall.”
One way to be creative for the parents this holiday season: hone in on a more personalized area of interest and find fun stuff within those constraints. “Choosing the right gift has nothing to do with gender. It has everything to do with thinking about the recipient’s likes, interests and activities,” Hunter says. Or try any of these items for very specific sectors of mom and dad types. It’s always fun to think outside the box – or to think inside a box of unique goodies.
MOM » The reader
“Since nothing we give can equal the gifts they’ve given us, we turn to more practical items,” Hunter says.
If mom’s a bookworm, chances are she’s already checked out some of this year’s hottest sellers, like Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl or even – from the comfort of a private room – Fifty Shades of Grey. But if she’s looking for something a little different, try surprising her with the critically acclaimed The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes ($18.45 hardcover). The mystery novel, about a time-traveling serial killer, has steadily gained steam since its release earlier this year, and is the perfect bookend to a year of great reads.
If she has enough books already, maybe a bookish accessory is a better bet. Literary-inspired retailers, like Out of Print (outofprintclothing.com), make an array of products – from shirts to pouches to eBook covers – that are great for moms with a literary lean.
MOM » The tea lover
For the tea-drinking mama, delicate, patterned teacups – like these Charlotte mugs from World Market ($21.56 for a set of four) – are subtle, feminine and inexpensive. Pair them with a delicious and healthful blend of tea and she’s all set.
Teavana, a specialty tea and accessories store, offers plenty of unique flavors for every tea-loving palette. The Youthberry Wild Orange Blossom Tea Blend ($18.80 for 4 oz. of loose leaf tea) is a popular favorite and a good place to start. And make sure mom’s ready to brew the perfect cup of tea with a teapot or infuser.
MOM » The fitness guru
If the New Year inspired mom to get on the fitness train, you’re in luck! Fitness gifts are a never-ending stream of trendy new products – from colorful weights to yoga mats to running shoes and beyond. One such product is ViewSPORT Spandex Leggings for women ($30). Honor your mom’s, uh, colorful personality with skeleton leg and tribal patterns. What better way to spruce up her fitness routine than something boisterous as motivation?
If at-home workouts are your mom’s thing, try gifting her with a kettle ball. Kettle balls are a great workout on their own, and minimize equipment to one compact item. Weider’s 20 lb. Powerball is seven kettle balls in one, starting with a 5 lb. option that can be adjusted to progressively heavier settings ($99).
DAD » The couch potato
Is dad a TV guru stuck on reality programming? Open his eyes to the wonderful world of scripted cable programming this holiday season. Top-notch shows like AMC’s “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” are both up-to-date on DVD and Blu-ray, so why not induce a plot-heavy marathon to go with that Christmas food overload? (“Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men” seasons five: $24.99).
If he’s trying to downsize his material collection and knows how to work a WiFi-capable viewing device, Netflix or Hulu Plus will give him a similar viewing experience without all the plastic. (Streaming-only versions run for $7.99/month for Neflix and Hulu Plus.)
DAD » The classy gentleman
If dad’s more the “slow sip at the end of the day” type, class up his drinking experience with some fancy liquor goods.
Sick of fetching and making him ice? Gift him some whiskey stones, like a Teraforma set ($19.94 at Crate and Barrel), which he can freeze ahead of time and reuse.
If he’s a DIY sort of guy, he might enjoy a starter kit, like the Woodinville Age Your Own Whiskey (2-pack for $149; 4-pack for $596.96), which accelerates the aging process and comes with a reusable barrel.