Whether you live in the same town as your mother-in-law or you're several states away, getting together over the holidays is a time to show her how you appreciate her. Although she might quip that time together as a family is the best present she can receive, up the ante by presenting her with something she'll cherish. Go the sentimental route, give her some pampering, or buy a gift that shows how well you know her.
The Sentimental Approach
If your mother-in-law frequently tells you that she views you as one of her children, buy a picture frame with a loving message and load it with a favorite photo of the two of you together, such as one from your wedding day. For creative types, put together a small scrapbook that features mementos of the times you've spent together, such as photos, airplane tickets from a trip, or a takeout menu from a restaurant you enjoy.
Seasonal Gift Ideas
Many types of Christmas decorations can tug at your mother-in-law's heart strings, especially if you have children. Prepare a craft, such as a young child's handprint in a piece of hardened clay, and help the child paint the clay in red and green. Before you harden the clay, poke a hole in the top to attach a piece of red ribbon for a ready-made tree ornament. If you and your spouse or partner are expecting a child, a "Soon to be grandma" ornament will warm your mother-in-law's heart.
Rest and Relaxation
The holidays can be a hectic time for many mother-in-laws, especially if she's the one hosting the family get-together. Choose a gift that she can use around Christmas or when the dust settles after the holidays to help her relax. A voucher for a spa treatment such as foot or scalp massage, body wrap or facial is a way to help her unwind. Be creative with your approach -- write a homemade certificate entitling her to a night off in the kitchen. When she redeems it, you and your spouse will visit her to make dinner while she enjoys her favorite bottle of wine by the fireplace.
Evaluate your mother-in-law's areas of interest when you start your holiday shopping. If she enjoys keeping up with the latest fashion trends, find a new handbag or a piece of jewelry that aligns with her style sense. For the mother-in-law who's most at home in the kitchen, buy a one-of-a-kind gift such as a kitchen torch, a tabletop grill, or a decorative granite mortar and pestle. If she enjoys the arts, buy passes to a traveling gallery exhibit.
- Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media