Gifts for a Boyfriend's Parents

by Tricia Buenvenida

During the winter holidays, couples around the world will likely get together with their significant other's parents to celebrate the joy of the season, possibly for the first time. If you're looking to impress and begin the gathering on the right note, don't show up empty-handed. A small gift is a nice gesture that can also spark a conversation. Simplify the process and choose a gift based on five different parent personality types.

The Gourmet

These parents are food connoisseurs. A bottle of wine, a box of fancy chocolates, a trio of exotic olive oils, a fruit basket, a variety of tea blends or a platter featuring a collection of diverse cheeses will show them that you appreciate these kinds of things, too. If you want to go that extra mile and are a fairly decent baker, bring a homemade dessert such as brownies, cookies, pies or any other favorite pastry specialty.

The Home Body

For these parents, the home is their castle. Gifts such as room candles, elegant soaps, potpourri, and fragrance diffusers will add a pleasing scent to their home. A picture frame (let them choose what photo to place in it) or one-of-a-kind beverage coasters will leave more of a lasting impression.

The Artist or Intellectual

More cerebral kinds of gifts are the key to winning over these parents' favor. Items such as calendars, coffee table books, music CDs or even a treasured board game are special and entertaining gifts. If you've just traveled somewhere or are from another country, a gift from that region is memorable and uncommon. Consult with your boyfriend before purchasing a specific item. Giving a Lady Gaga CD may not be the right gift if they prefer classical music. If you know they fall in this category but want to get something more generic, give a box of premium stationery or movie ticket passes.

The Horticulturist

You've heard that their front lawn is impeccable and she's got the green thumb. Gifts such as a bouquet of fresh-cut flowers, a nice house plant, or even a useful tool for the garden will appeal to these gardening types. Check with your boyfriend to verify his parents don't already own this specific tool before purchasing it.


Of course, parents don't always fall neatly into one identifiable category. Although you probably would be fine giving a bouquet of flowers, you can always give a generic gift certificate that they can use at a store of their preference. Remember, giving a gift shows politeness, reinforces relationships, and demonstrates appreciation and thoughtfulness.

About the Author

Tricia Buenvenida began her marketing career in 1993. She has been featured in "Lucky" and quoted in the "New York Times," "Orange County Register" and in "Marie Claire" as a top cosmetics consultant. Buenvenida holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from Boston University, and a Master of Business Administration from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Photo Credits

  • Sri Maiava Rusden/Photodisc/Getty Images