What do you get for the people who already have everything? As our parents and grandparents get older, they want for less and buying for them can become even more challenging. They don’t really need more THINGS, but they do need to know how much they are loved and appreciated.
Bargains to Bounty readers have offered up their suggestions to this dilemma – and you may find them to be useful as you’re shopping any time of year! I hope these ideas inspire your gift-giving!
A Photo Session
If you can find a time when the family is together (family reunion, birthday, vacation, holiday), try to schedule a photo shoot. We have had 2 vacations with extended family members and we make sure to plan ahead for pictures each time. Coordinating outfits and a professional photographer are optional (and remember that many local photographers will come to you). Having an updated picture of those you love is priceless.
A few years ago we took my niece and nephew for professional pics. They were teens and we knew it would be the last ones. My parents loved their gift! (Dawn)
Readers recommend Shutterfly books, calendars and gifts. I know many friends that create a new photo calendar every year and give it at Christmas, but there are so many other creative photo gifts available. Don’t forget about photo mugs, blankets, placemats, playing cards and so much more!
Some recommended photo gift sites:
- Amazon Prints – more than just photo prints, you’ll find a variety of gifts, too – and with free shipping for Amazon Prime members!
- Etsy – You’ll find many unique photo items from small businesses and independent crafters (like the family tree photo collage shown above)
- Groupon – for photo gifts on a tighter budget, check out the offers on Groupon first!
- PhotoBarn – Wooden PhotoBoards, Ornaments, Blocks, Canvas, Burlap and so much more (this is a personal favorite of mine)!
- Shutterfly – a huge variety of photo gifts, blankets, magnets, mugs, bags, pillows, place mats and almost anything else!
My mom has had all of our family photos in a bin since I can remember, never having the time to put them into albums. I nabbed the bin and am currently putting them into albums for her to open on Christmas (Melissa)
I ordered a blanket one year with all the grandkids pics on it. She loved it. (Amanda)
My MIL uses place mats so I make her a collage place mat every year with pics of the kids. She’ll say “I had breakfast with the boys this morning” when she uses it. (Heidi)
Digital Photo Frame
There are a number of easy to use photo frames that are easy for you to update long-distance! Set it up for them – and after that, you can add new photos via email or app. They will automatically sync to the photo frame so your loved ones can always enjoy your most recent photos (and even short videos)! Check out the reviews – they’re extremely well-rated. It’s a nice gift for the whole family to buy together.
I can send pictures of grandkids anytime I like and no need to print or frame. They receive it instantly and how exciting of a surprise for them. (Nancy)
TIME and EXPERIENCES
In a world full of stuff, it’s nice to slow down and intentionally plan time to spend with our family. This doesn’t have to be expensive at all – but knowing that you value time with them is priceless. Buy tickets, plan a day together doing something they love or send them on an adventure. Be as creative as possible!
You may want to check out Groupon for interesting local venues and experiences.
I’ve stopped giving material things. We get tickets to go and do something. (Sarah)
I’m sure they’d appreciate your TIME. Every month take them for breakfast or dinner or just an ice cream. Doesn’t have to be fancy but I bet they’d appreciate the time. (L’Nora)
Give a gift of a day with your family to your parents. Plan the whole day! They would love it! (Pam)
We bought my in-laws a sleigh/carriage elk-viewing ride/ gourmet dinner/ wine tasting at Thunder Bay Resort. They loved it! (Heidi)
I got my parents tickets to The Nutcracker! (Tje)
USEFUL & PRACTICAL (including GIFT CARDS!)
Think about the things they use often, along with items they may not splurge on for themselves. Around Christmas, we also see a number of discounts and offers on gift cards, so keep an eye out for their favorites.
- Car wash coupons
- Salon or massage gift certificates
- Housecleaning or carpet cleaning service
- Oil change gift cards
- Snow removal, gutter cleaning or lawn mowing service
- Gift cards to a favorite store, movie theater or restaurant
Our mother is a senior citizen and loves gift cards to help with her regular budget. Ideas are gift certificates to get her hair done, places she shops or a special treat like a massage. (Kathleen)
A cleaning service for a day or monthly. You pick the length by the amount you want to spend. (L’Nora)
Think about their favorite treats – those things they love that they might not always buy for themselves, edible or otherwise. My dad loves apple pie, Oreo cookies and fancy German cookies that his mom used to make. My aunt savors gourmet dried apricots and walnuts. You know items like these will be enjoyed and won’t create clutter. Plus they can make a fun filler gift when you need it:
- Coffee, tea, soda, wine or beer selections
- Pie of the month club
- Favorite candies, savory snacks
- Homemade baked goods or easy to reheat homemade frozen meals
I usually get my dad Omaha Steaks because he is widowed and they are individually frozen. Easy meals! (Kathleen)
My parents were terrible about spending gift cards. This year my dad is getting his decaf coffee. I am not a coffee drinker and that stuff is expensive. (Suzanne)
My mom always asks for things she needs, like a big bottle of lotion and baby oil, then a small little personal gift for her. My brother buys her the shampoo and conditioner she loves and a small personal gift from them. (Dawn)
Look through the boxes in the attic or sift through an old recipe box for treasures that can become amazing gifts. If you have anything written in handwriting (an old greeting card, recipe card, etc), it can easily be reproduced on a cutting board or kitchen towel. An “I love you” in their mother or father’s own writing can be carved into a piece of jewelry, printed on a wood sign or canvas. A favorite family recipe can be carved onto a cutting board or printed on a tea towel. Check out unique gifts that feature handwriting here.
Don’t forget old photos, film, videos and tape recordings – updating them with a transfer to a current form of media means they can enjoy these treasured memories even more often.
I found an old cassette recording of my grandmother. She has been gone for about 30 years. I got it put on a CD and gave it to my dad. So now he can hear her voice whenever he wants. (E.A. Thomas)
I found an old handwritten recipe from my late Grandma and had it carved into a cutting board, in her exact handwriting ♥️ He’s the baker in the family, I’m excited!!!! (Melissa)
Melissa…we did the same thing for my mom this year! I bought the ingredients to make it and will give that to her prior to the cutting board. Its driving me crazy not to give it to her yet! (Stephinie)
A Pandora bracelet with charms that have the grandkids’ birthstones (E.A.)
What great gift ideas do you have to share? We’d love to learn all about them in the comments, especially if you’ve given something that was a big hit!