Whether it's your first holiday with her family or you're celebrating yet another birthday or special day, choosing the right gifts for your girlfriend's parents takes a blend of thoughtfulness and sincerity. Before you spend a lot of money on pricey presents to impress her mom and dad, take some time to think about who they really are and what they hold dear. If you're not sure -- or you have yet to meet them -- ask your girl for some insider information.
The Gift of Giving Back
A gift doesn't always mean giving "something" to someone. Psychotherapist Barton Goldsmith suggests on the Psychology Today website that giving back is as important as giving to. If your girl's parents seem to have it all or don't care much about material possessions, donate money to a charity in their name. This doesn't mean just writing a check to any charity; instead, choose one that has a specific meaning to her parents. For example, if her parents deeply love their adopted shelter dog, donate to a local animal rescue organization.
If you're attending an anniversary party for your girlfriend's parents, consider a gift that goes along with the year theme. For example, the 20th is platinum; the 40th is ruby; while the 50th is gold. Even if you can't afford a genuine gold gift, you can use this idea to create your own version of the precious metal. For example, ask your girlfriend to get you a photo of her parents and place it in a gold-plated or mock gold frame. If her mom and dad are having a 40th anniversary celebration, go with red for ruby theme. Give them a red leather photo album in which to display pictures from the past 40 years or a new set of red dishes.
Like Your Own
When you're close to your girlfriend's parents and they seem almost like your own mom and dad, you may want to opt for a sentimental gift. Doing so may mean putting together a photo album or digital picture display of the time that you have spent together. Alternatively, give them a gift that money can't buy, such as a heartfelt letter or a poem that shows them how you feel.
A Night Out
Daily life or an impending holiday may be causing stress for your girlfriend's parents. When your girlfriend's mom and dad are rushing around and not taking time for themselves, treat them to an evening out to relax and unwind. This is especially important if you know that they won't do this for themselves or that they are stressed while planning for the holiday season. For example, give her parents a gift card to a local restaurant or buy them tickets to a play, ballet or movie.
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