Each Christmas well-meaning friends and relatives purchase a vast amount of gifts that are neither wanted or used. Where do these unwanted Christmas gifts end up? Well, in my house they end up in a pile in the basement. I call it the island of lost and unwanted gifts. Every so often I re-gift. Yeah I know re-gifting is tacky. And I would never re-gift a gaudy faux jewel encrusted box to someone who I knew wouldn't like it. So I occasionally take a trip to the local Goodwill store. After all you can take it off your taxes and donating feels good.
Gift cards are easy. There are a ton of websites where a non-athletic person can trade a sporting goods gift card for, say, a Starbucks. Another option is to sell gift cards you will never use. Sure you get less than the face value, but it's better than sitting in a drawer for all eternity. Be careful, however, and make sure the website is legitimate.
This year my husband received a virtual reality viewer. He's in his 60's. People in their sixties aren't interested in sitting in a room with a pendulous contraption strapped to their heads to look at scenery and such. Although television commercials would have you believe otherwise, people of that age are more into real reality. They go outside. They ride roller coasters. They experience real life.
I received a 1-inch square tile to attach to anything so that I can locate it via my phone. Granted I lose things. I get it. I'm a ditz. The thing I lose the most, however, is my phone. The second thing I lose are my glasses and a tile hanging from them would be annoying at the very least. And if I was the sort of person who wore those chains to keep them near at all times (which I don't) the problem of loss would be solved for $1.49.
I know gift giving is hard. But you would think it would be easier for adult children. So what follows is a gift giving guide for adult children-- for all occasions.
1. Don't give knick-knacks or other dust catchers. If they are old enough to be your parents, they have more than enough of those.
2. Don't give them something you would like. They are not in their 20's anymore.
3. Clothing is a big NO. Sizing is variable and do you really want to give your dad a jacket meant for a teenager in size XXL and have it still not fit?
4. Don't give food. Maybe you are unaware that dad had a heart issue and you gave him a membership to a bacon of the month club.
5. Jewelry is governed by taste and style. Stud earring for someone who only wears french hooks won't be worn. And a monogram bracelet for a dad who wouldn't be caught dead in anything other than a wedding band is not a great idea.
6. Talk amongst your siblings if possible so your parents don't end up with 7 bird feeders.
7. T-shirts with funny sayings or pictures. Enough said!
8. Gift cards to places the intended recipient would never go. Steer clear of a cute gift shop 60 miles away. I don't like to tout stores, but Amazon can be used for many things and you can shop while you are in your pajamas.
9. Restaurant cards are also not a super choice unless you are sure they love that restaurant. A seafood restaurant isn't cool for someone allergic to sea food and a burger joint would be in bad taste for a vegetarian.
10. Details! Pay attention. If you mom hates pink don't buy her a pink scarf even if it is cashmere.
So in conclusion it is really quite simple. If you want a great idea of what you can get your parents any time of the year, think outside the wrapped box. Memories are a great gift. Smiles and laughter go a long way to enliven the soul. Offers to help put away Christmas decorations or even help put them up before is so much more appreciated than skis. Take them out to dinner and enjoy time together. Spend time with them and call them often. Gift a gift of yourself. That is the best gift of all!