I love my parents, but man, are they hard to shop for.
My mom is the easiest to shop for — in fact, she’s so easy I sometimes end up wanting to get her a little too many presents. My dad, on the other hand… WHEW! He is officially the hardest person I’ve ever had to find gifts for. He’s the type that would love a ’69 Camaro or 80″ TV, but when it comes to realistic gifts? I’ve always struggled finding one that truly impresses him (to be fair, he loves anything anyone gives him, but he’s my daddy, I love to surprise him).
I’ve learned that when it comes to shopping for the grandparents in my life, we can’t just hold out to the very last minute and hope to find something perfect. Our family usually has the best luck with gifts that are personal or customized. That doesn’t mean I have to spend a lot of money, I just have to plan ahead. We’ve had some pretty good successes the past two years, and in all my research for Christmas 2012, I’ve come across several more ideas that will work really well for both my parents and many of them are great ideas for going in on together with a sibling or other family member. Chances are if they’ll impress my parents? At least one of them will impress any hard-to-shop for grandparents in your life as well.
Custom Family Tree 1 of 15Honor your parents and their legacy with a beautiful, custom-typography family tree print.
Buy it from Lesley Grace Designs on Etsy, $60
Kodak Pulse Frame 2 of 15This is the best gift I have ever given my parents. I gave one to them three years ago and I'm still riding the wave of awesome knowing they enjoy it every single day. With this digital frame, I can upload photos from my home in Indiana, my sister can upload photos from her place, and within the hour they show up on the frame at my parent's house in Utah. The only thing they had to do? Plug it in and connect it to their wireless network.
Get it from Amazon, $149.99
Grandparents Rock Mugs 3 of 15Deep down inside, grandma and grandpa dream of being admired and cheered on by the masses. Why not let them know how much they rock every morning when they drink their beverage of choice from these adorable mugs featuring either a grandma or grandpa being cheered on by hundreds of adoring fans (or perhaps a loyal and loving family)?
Get it from Uncommon Goods, $12 each
Blurb Book 4 of 15This was the Christmas gift of choice last year. My second baby turned one and I compiled the thousands of photos I took over the previous year into one big, brilliant, 200-page book. With dozens of choices and options for customization, Blurb books fit into any budget or lifestyle. With options to make books from Instagram photos, Facebook photos, the photos on your hard drive or a combination of all three, it's never been easier to get printed photos into the hands of loved ones. From small paperback brag books to enormous hard cover coffee table books, Blurb makes making books super easy (and good-looking, too).
Get it from Blurb, from $3.95 (Average price between $40-$100)
Recordable Storybook 5 of 15Hallmark released recordable storybooks several years ago and they've become a tradition in many families. This is one of those books that you can give as a gift now and receive the benefit yourself long after the holidays are over. Grandma can record wishes and stories for their grandchild and it can be listened to and enjoyed for years to come.
Get it from Hallmark, $29.95
Lil’ Davinci Kids Art Cabinet 6 of 15It's a shadowbox, a picture frame and a filing cabinet all in one! Now grandma and grandpa can have an ever-changing display of their grandchildren's artwork in their home and you can dissuade the guilt of what to do with all the artwork your child produces by passing it on to their art gallery at Nana and Papa's! Cabinets come in a range of sizes and finishes (order three for a true gallery or one for each grandchild!) and each one holds up to 50 pieces of priceless kid art.
Get it from Dynamic Frames, from $29.95
Instagram Magnets 7 of 15Grandparents have a lot to keep track of —artwork, birthday cards and annual school photos, to name a few things. Why not help them do it in style on their fridge with custom magnets from some of your most favorite Instagram photos? I know my own parents miss a lot of the photos I post simply because they aren't on Instagram, so it's fun to surprise them with little everyday moments they can display without needing a frame or taking up any more space.
Get them from Stickygram, $14.99 for a sheet of 9
Photo Calendar 8 of 15Who couldn't benefit from a good wall calendar? Forget puppies and celebrities, these calendars feature customized dates and photos of all the people grandma and grandpa love the most. It's a gift that will be treasured, talked about and used all year long. Not to mention it's a great tradition to start now and modify as the years pass. Perhaps this year it's all baby photos, but as the years go by, calendars can be filled with children's artwork or even photos that grandkids take and select themselves.
Get it from Shutterfly, starting at $17.99
The Story of a Lifetime 9 of 15Another gift that is for them now, yet benefits generations of your family for years to come. Grandparents can fill out their own stories and tales in response to prompts and questions such as "What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were younger?" or "Explain your deepest values." While many young children won't recognize the importance and value of such wisdom now, years down the road as they become parents they will no doubt appreciate the words of their own grandparents recorded for posterity.
Get it from Red Envelope, $79.95
Coffee of the Month Club 10 of 15Perhaps grandma and grandpa are coffee connoisseurs like mine are. Is there a better way to keep their year interesting than signing them up for a coffee of the month club? Available in 3-, 6-, 9- and 12-month memberships, recipients will receive a fair trade and organic coffee from around the world to try each month. Also available (depending on the tastes of the grandparents) are bacon of the month clubs, chocolate of the month clubs, fruit of the month clubs and flower of the month clubs.
Get it from Grounds for Change, memberships start at $69.95
Doodle Tag 11 of 15Ever wish you could have a your child's art immortalized forever? Doodle tags by Mommy Tags lets you upload a doodle that will then be imprinted into a pendant made of reclaimed and recycled silver. It's a whole new spin on the classic locket, why have grandma wear a photo of their grandchild when she could wear a self portrait of him or her? Doodle Tags also include a custom rubber stamp of your child's drawing as well.
Get it from Mommy Tags , $125
iPad 12 of 15It's pretty safe to say that if my 18-month-old can find her way around an iPad, my 93-year-old grandpa could do the same. Computers can be intimidating to a lot of older folks, but give them something where they can just turn it on, tap a few icons and be video chatting with their grandchildren or even better, their great-grandchildren? That's something most grandparents will use. The ability to stay in touch via video has revolutionized the long-distance relationships between my girls and their grandparents. No longer are they simply voices at the other end of a phone line or those people we go visit once a year, they are an integral part of my girls' lives, thanks to technology.
Get it from Apple, starting at $329
Photo Credit: YTO
Fracture Glass Mounted Photo 13 of 15A fantastically simple and elegant gift, Fractures are photos printed directly onto glass that are ready for immediate hanging. No frames, no worrying about matching surrounding decor, and with prices starting at $10? It wouldn't be hard at all to start a gallery for grandma and grandpa of their children and grandchildren.
Get it from Fracture Me, starting at $10
Pewter or Silver Customized Initial Vintage Frames Necklace 14 of 15Why not let grandma wear her pride (and her grandbabies!) around her neck? Lisa's beautiful hand-stamped necklace allows you to include the initial of each grandchild on a beautiful necklace in a frame of your choosing. The greatest part is that the necklace can be added to as grandchildren are added to the family, making this a not only a great holiday gift, but a treasured tradition.
Get it from Lisa Leonard starting at $46
Image Credit: Lisa Leonard
Photo Blanket 15 of 15I know when I picture old age, it involves me in a very comfy chair with a very cozy blanket. Why not wrap those whom you love the most with the people who love them the most? Snapfish allows you to collage up to 30 photos on one blanket, meaning no one gets left out with this gift. Grandma and grandpa can leave it out over a chair as a great conversation piece when guests come over, and kids will love seeing their face on Nonnie and Pawpaw's favorite blanket.
Get it from Snapfish $49.99
Find more of Casey’s writing on her blog moosh in indy or her Babble Voices site Shutterlovely. She’s also available on twitter, facebook, flickr and Instagram. If you can’t find her any of those places? Check the couch, she’s probably taking a nap.