View Full Version : What to get the Mother In Law who really needs nothing

10-29-2006, 01:43 PM
I am trying to come up with Christmas gift ideas for my mother in law once again. She really needs nothing for herself or house so I am looking for different ideas. She is 73 and has macular degeneration so her eyesight is not that great. Cant get her any magazine subscriptions or stuff like that. Does anyone have any ideas? What do you get for your inlaws who have everything? Thanks so much :thumbsup2

10-29-2006, 01:45 PM
How about a fruit basket? Or another type of food she enjoys. Or books on tape.

10-29-2006, 01:48 PM
Does she have favorite cookies or dessert breads? Make her some of those quart jars with all of the ingredients in them. All she has to is add the milk, butter, eggs, etc.

10-29-2006, 01:51 PM
New to this board and loving it!!:thumbsup2
A friend gave me this suggestion for my hard to buy for inlaws.... how about gift cards for her favorite restaurants??

10-29-2006, 01:51 PM
My mother in law has really bad eyesight and complained that she never knew what time it was because she couldn't read a clock. I bought her a talking clock for her birthday and she thinks it is the BEST thing ever. Maybe yours could use this too? :)

10-29-2006, 01:52 PM
How about home-made tapes of grandkids reading HER stories,
also professional CD's.

Rella Bella
10-29-2006, 02:12 PM
Ahh yes the age old question! And it's a toughie....

How about tickets to a concert?

A new smaller &/or easier to put together Christmas Tree??

My old stand by was new slippers... the really nice kind, still not very glamorous but mine appreciated practicality.

Hummmmm..... I'll keep thinking

10-29-2006, 02:16 PM
My grandmother also has macular degeneration. We have gotten her jewelry (watches/bracelets) with magnetic clasps - that way she doesn't have to see what she is doing to put them on. We found a dangling magnifying glass on a chain from the smithsonian museum catalog. It's a peice of jewlery as well, so she can wear it when she is dressed up.

We've done books on tape or in large print.

One thing you can do is blow up her favorite pictures so she can enjoy them again.


10-29-2006, 02:21 PM
Gosh, thanks guys. You are quick to respond. Keep em coming. I appreciate all the ideas posted already. They are great :thumbsup2

Tink's Pixieduster
10-29-2006, 02:23 PM
If she lives nearby, how about a trip to her favorite salon to have her hair and maybe her nails done, with you or someone in your family as her chauffer? Or if you can afford it and she is the type, a spa day. Getting a little extra attention might be one of the best gifts you can give her.

10-29-2006, 03:33 PM
I liked someone's idea I got on here. Buy an apron, let kids put their footprints on it w/ paint & paint on it "No-my grandkids don't walk all over me. Why do you ask?"

10-29-2006, 03:54 PM
We're in the same boat!!
MIL and FIL are both hard to buy for!
For MIL, we purchased a calendar through one of the online photo centers. We placed the pictures, and they printed and sent it. Huge hit!
The next year, we took the grandkids to a paint it yourself pottery place and had them paint coffee mugs and gave it to her with some gourmet coffee. That went over so well that we're adding to her pottery collection this year...we'll give her a dinner plate and bowl so that she can think of her grandkids when she has breakfast/lunch.

Good luck!!

It's A Happy Day
10-29-2006, 06:15 PM
What about a practical gift card - grocery store, pharmacy, etc. Alot of older people are on fixes incomes and have a hard time with the necessities.

A gift basket - bath basket, teas & coffees with some type of cookies, snack basket, take an interest and fill a basket for her.

Good Luck!!!

10-29-2006, 06:19 PM
My grandparents are the same way and I get them a hickory farm basket every year. They always rave about it.

10-29-2006, 06:20 PM
Not sure how bad her eyesight has gotten tho this point, but how about a telephone with LARGE number buttons?

I know before DH's grandmother's eyesight degenerated past the point we bought extra large playing cards for her.

It's is tough. We get DH's grandmother a fragrant wreath every year. Got her one with sleigh bells on it. She loved it, it hung on the door to the basement and jingled every time someone opened that door!!

10-29-2006, 06:22 PM
I send my MIL a flower or plant each year and she LOVES IT! She says she needs nothing...as she has everything, but loves having flowers delivered. I actually send the Thomas Kinkade ones to her, so she has a little collection of houses from it, that she displays all together with her new one.

10-29-2006, 06:52 PM
How about a CD player either a personal one or a large one and some CD's it's always nice to listen to music and some have large buttons and are very easy to use. The talking clock is also great I got one for my nana as well.

10-29-2006, 08:01 PM
How about a Woven Moments Throw (do a search for it & it will bring up quite a few places that make them).

You send a picture & they make it (wove) into a blanket or pillow.

I am debating on getting this for my MIL but I am not sure if she is worthy of the $100 since their house is a mess which means they don't take care of thngs.

Or 'coupons' for dinner meaning you either bring the family to her house & you cook or bring her to your house & you cook there, either way you cook.

Books on tape.

Kim in TN
10-29-2006, 09:27 PM
The first things that come to mind are
GC to a favorite restaurant
a gift of the month club, like fruit, or steak, or fresh flowers
a favorite book on CD?

10-29-2006, 09:51 PM
I got my grandmother a large print bible. I also get her a new container of Estee Lauder scented powder each year. She loves that. I also like to get her gift cards to her favorite restaurant and movie theater gift cards. She goes out to the movies and dinner every Saturday with my mother. I love the talking clock idea. Where do you get one of those?

10-29-2006, 11:15 PM
Gift the gift of time. An afternoon with your family now and then, taking in a concert or meal, would probably mean more than any THING you could come up with. Many elderly people are very lonely.

If your children have performances during the holidays, these would be big hits.


10-30-2006, 12:30 AM
Are there things she can't do anymore that you could do for her? Like a chore around the house..... cleaning, fixing things, helping to put up and take down decorations..... Sometimes these simple things get overlooked. Good Luck! :)

10-30-2006, 05:55 AM
We (brother and sistersin law) started buying my in-laws a large appliance each year. They would tend to spend on everybody but themselves and never upgrade. They totally love the idea now. One year it was a huge AC, the next a dishwasher. this year we are debating recliners or new sliders to the deck. Of course we are fortunate that my husband has 6 siblings so the cost isn't too bad. Good luck.

10-30-2006, 07:42 AM
Thank You, I am going to definately use some of these ideas. I too, am wondering about the talking clock. Where to go to get one of these? Thanks for all the great ideas :thumbsup2

10-30-2006, 07:42 AM
Ithink you might want to consider some low vision aides such as talking clock, lighted magnifiers - things that have color contrast such as black placemats with a white plate so that she can see better. There are all kinds of things out there to help people losing their eyesite. I would say that if you don't want to go that route how about gift certs to a grocery store such as Meijer, Walmart or whatever supercenter is in your area. Good luck!

10-30-2006, 07:51 AM
I would recommend a gift certificate to her hair salon or to a store that she frequents often. Another idea would be a nice gift basket with things that she likes, such as her favorite coffee or tea, crackers, cookies, etc.

10-30-2006, 08:13 AM
pre-paid mastercard/visa gift cards (can use on nearly anything, including groceries, etc.)

Books on audio tape,
maid service:thumbsup2

pre-cooked meals

10-30-2006, 08:18 AM
I bought my grandfather a talking picture frame one time & had the kids say 'Hi Grandpa! We love you!' into it. He really liked it a lot & I'm sure he still plays it on occasion. IIRC, it was an 8x10 frame so you could put a big picture into it.
My grandfather is diabetic & he really likes getting the sugar-free chocolates. They're not as hard to find as they once were thanks to Atkins but its still a treat for him.

10-30-2006, 09:36 AM
I know once I got the grandfather a talking picture frame with a picture of the ds inside. He really liked it since we didnt live near him and he could listen to them say hi to him etc. Its also more of a hearing than seeing gift.

10-30-2006, 11:21 AM
I get a cute basket form the Dollar Tree and then I go to Cracker Barrel and fill it up with their pancake mix, syrup, fried apples, jellies and such...She loves that stuff.

Not sure if I will go that route this year..She is in the middle of a nasty divorce after 25 years of marriage and has lost about 50lbs since July, so I may take her to buy a new outfit or something or give her a GC to a department store.

10-30-2006, 12:43 PM
Something my grandma loves is a basket I fill with different cards ....for birthday's, thinking of you, thank you's, pretty note cards, stickers to seal the envelopes and I always include a few packets of stamps-different ones from the post office so she can choose the stamp too.

She is not able to drive anymore and this helps her when she remembers someone's birthday and no one is able to go and pick her up for a few days.

10-30-2006, 01:07 PM
For talking clocks and other things for low vision and just products to help make life a little easier for the elderly try www.independentliving.com. I think this is where I got MIL her clock for her birthday. Apparently before that, my SIL said MIL was calling "time" on the phone like 43 times a day....

Dreaming of Disney
10-30-2006, 05:24 PM
You can also purchase talking picture frames and talking clocks at Radio Shack.

10-30-2006, 06:04 PM
For talking clocks and other things for low vision and just products to help make life a little easier for the elderly try www.independentliving.com. I think this is where I got MIL her clock for her birthday. Apparently before that, my SIL said MIL was calling "time" on the phone like 43 times a day....

What a cool site - thanks for sharing!

princess: princess:

10-30-2006, 06:20 PM
My MIL has everything, and the money to buy anything she doesn't have.

A couple years now I have made scrapbooks of here. usually it's of the grandkids throughout the previous year, but one year she gave me all the pictures of my FIL growing up (this was 2-3 years after he passed away) and I made a book of those pics. She loves it!

Years I haven't done scrapbooks I have bought her a gift basket of Bath and Body Works spa products.

10-30-2006, 08:31 PM
This is not truly for her, but might make everyone feel good......I received a catalogue in the mail for Heifer International. You donate $$ to purchase livestock (a cow is $500, a duck is $30 and all prices in between). The animals are donated to a poor family in a undeveloped part of the world. It gives the family an income (selling milk from the cow, eating some eggs, selling some, using some to grow the flock). When I realized how much a small donation can do, I decided to do this together with my coworkers. Seems wrong to spend $$ on my manicure when the same $20 can change a family's life.....

If you prefer something more local, there are donations to Katrina relief, Toys for Tots, etc.........Just a thought.........

I DO still like to have a token gift that is actually for the MIL!!!!

10-31-2006, 01:09 PM
I love the idea of scrapbooking old photos (of when they were young, their children were young). You could also make those photos into a DVD movie, complete with appropriate music for the era and narration of family memories.

One year, I bought everyone hand-crafted Christmas ornaments our local hospice was selling (an organization close to my heart as an Oncology nurse). They were beautiful and most of the money went to benefit the local hospice chapter. They have turned out to be like family heirlooms. Look into these types of organizations. Most have elderly volunteers that make crafts to sell ( American Heart Association, Cancer society, etc......senior citizen centers too). Who knows, it might spark some interest and they might choose to volunteer, and make new friends.

My grandmother always loved yarn for her crocheting and knitting. Kept her stocked for the whole year. Maybe TV series DVD's of shows they really used to enjoy (Golden girls, Matlock, Little house, Waltons).

10-31-2006, 01:15 PM
I liked someone's idea I got on here. Buy an apron, let kids put their footprints on it w/ paint & paint on it "No-my grandkids don't walk all over me. Why do you ask?"

Hey, that's my idea.....can't have all those grannies running around with apron's! :rotfl2:

Something I've been trying to get my DH to do is make a donation in their names to a charity that they've expressed support for.

Otherwise, experiences are great.....tickets to a show or movie, a special dinner out, getting dressed up and going for tea, spa day, a trip to Disney :cool1:.....my grandma, when she was that age LOVED Vegas.

10-31-2006, 03:47 PM
This may be a bit offbase, but I think those alert buttons are a great idea for the elderly. They just push the button if there's an emergency, and a dispatcher sends someome to them. If she has trouble seeing, she double runs the risk of injuring herself somehow.

Otherwise, I think most grandparents love anything that reminds them of the greandkids- I really like the talking picture frame idea.

10-31-2006, 09:54 PM
though it is not my mother in law, my bothers and sister have a mother that buys what ever she needs. for the last two years we have gave her flowers, that come every month. it is a little expensive but when split four ways it makes it much easier. even though your mother-in-law can not see well who does not love to get flowers.

10-31-2006, 11:57 PM
My DD has this talking clock. I picked it because the button that makes it talk is large and easy to see.


11-01-2006, 12:51 AM
I've done the gift cards from everthing to grocery stores to places that sell plants! That's all my parents and inlaws want! The restaurant ones are nice,then she can take the grandkids out and feel like she's paying.