Remember the days that you could glue pasta onto a piece of paper and call it a Christmas present for Mom and Dad? Those days are long gone, and choosing gifts for parents has become harder than ever. Not only do they always tell you, “I don’t really need anything,” when you want some answers, but you’re a student, and by Christmas that generally means you’re broke.
And, um, you only have a week left! Let us help:
Tips before you buy
-If you can make something your parents will appreciate, go for it. If you’re an art student, consider making a one-of-a-kind piece for your parents; it’s cheap and shows you are putting your education to good use.
-Before you go shopping, set a budget. Decide how much you want to spend on each parent and stick to it. Chances are your budget isn’t going to be very high, so if you want to splurge a bit, consider combining resources with your siblings. Not only will you have more money to work with, but your parents will appreciate that you are mature enough to cooperate.
-If your parents are together, consider buying one gift for both them. It can be something they can enjoy together, and you can either save money or get a more meaningful gift.
Gifts for both parents
1. Family Pictures — If you have siblings, go to the nearest Walmart or Sears photo studio and get group pictures done. Choose the nicest (as a group), get a package that is within your budget and go buy a nice frame. Not only will your parents have a nice picture of the group of you, but they will have a set of pictures for next years Christmas cards, without nagging you.
2. Art Replicas — If your parents aren’t avid art collectors, consider buying them a replica piece. Art gallery gift shops often have framed or plaque-mounted prints of famous art pieces that aren’t too expensive.
3. Date night — Most parents don’t take the time to go out on dates. Why not buy a gift certificate to a restaurant or coupons for a movie? An added bonus would be to babysit any younger siblings you might have.
Gifts for Mom
1. Bath Products that give back — Bath products are always a nice gift to let Mom know you want her to unwind, but what about a gift that also gives back? Philosophy has select products that donate 100% of net proceeds to charity.
2. Fun accessories — If your mom is anything like mine, she doesn’t often treat herself to new things. Mom’s are often tricky to buy clothes for, so fun accessories, such as a scarf or a funky piece of jewelry, are the way to go.Find something that you know would look great on her, but she might not pick out for herself. An added bonus is to buy something from Etsy, or from a local artisan; the piece will be more unique.
3. Bonding Activity — When you’re busy with school, you don’t always get the chance to spend some quality time with Mama. Why not plan a fun activity while you’re at home? Or if there’s an upcoming play or concert in your area that you both would enjoy, buy some tickets for you and your her. Spending time with her daughter is priceless (and you know she can’t re-gift.)
4. Books — A book is always a good choice for Mom. You could buy her a bestseller she would enjoy, or an instructional book to give her tips to treat herself. Just steer clear of anything that may make her feel bad, like self-help or diet books. Trust me.
Gifts for Dad
1. Magazine subscription — find a magazine your dad will enjoy and sign him up for a subscription. The gift gives as many times over as issues in the year. Plus, your dad will think of you each time it comes in the mail. Awwww.
2. Power Monitor — This device is seriously cool. It will allow Dad to track how much energy things in your house consume. It’s an environmentally-friendly gift, and in the current economic state it will help save money.
3. Book Light — If your dad travels a lot, or likes to read before bed, a book light is a great gift. An individual light means it will be easier on Pop’s eyes, and he won’t disturb your mom if he’s up reading later.
4. DVD Season — If your dad is too busy to watch TV, or falls asleep halfway through a show, why not buy him a season of a show you know he’d enjoy. He might not have gotten around to watching a show like Mad Men, but he might get hooked if he could watch a whole season at once.
Got any other bright ideas? Help a sister out!