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Old 12-18-2012, 02:44 PM
Location: Wake Forest, NC
835 posts, read 3,626,445 times
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Tickets to a show at DPAC if they are local. No one needs them but most everyone likes them.
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Old 12-18-2012, 02:45 PM
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Gift certificate to a spa? Facial, massage, mani/pedi? Depending on how much you want to spend, day spas will often put together packages for half or full days.
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Old 12-18-2012, 02:56 PM
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
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I'm with the donate some money in their name crowd. I stopped giving gifts (aka needless junk) years ago.

But I do try to make it a bit personal to them. Any veterans in the family? Maybe Wounded Warriors. Do they have pets? Find the rescue organization for their favorite breed of dog or cat. Lose a sibling or parent to a specific disease? Find the charity for that disease (but be cautious that you aren't sending money to a charity that doesn't spend it wisely). Do they love to visit a certain country? Find a charity that helps the poor or builds schools in that country. And, of course, if they are church goers, then by all means, consider giving money to their church.

Then, pop over to Total Wine and More and get yourself something to make Christmas Dinner with the monster in law more tolerable.
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Old 12-20-2012, 08:06 AM
Location: The South, by the grace of God
957 posts, read 1,315,538 times
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There are so many good ideas here! This may seem a little cheesy in comparison, but what about a magazine subscription? Something that she is interested in...Wine Spectator? Wine and Food? House Beautiful? Vanity Fair?.....it "keeps on giving" all year.
Or, something simple that you can do every year would be to give an ornament for the tree. That has worked for us for a VERY long time. And the hunt can be fun for you and your spouse to enjoy together.
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:26 AM
Location: Raleigh, NC
12,026 posts, read 28,358,598 times
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Originally Posted by wheelsup View Post
My rule of thumb for gift giving is if you have to ask what they want you shouldn't be getting a gift anyway...as a son I give my parents things that mean something. Last year we made a calender with family photos and everyones birthday and important dates on it. As a parent I don't think it's about the money/object, they want to get something that shows you spent time on them, that is what Xmas is about for us. Anyone can go out and drop $$ on a gift and even pay someone to wrap it these days.

As a son though I like getting things I need/want/can't afford normally though (thanks mom & dad!). Ha!
Are you one of my kids?!!

I like your idea! I used to go to Wolf Camera (they are gone now but you can still find these items online) and get different items with photos on them. For example...the calendar that wheelsup mentioned but also cups, pens, keychains, etc.

I tell my kids that I don't really need anything either but they feel like they want to get us SOMETHING.

To the OP...I think it is great that you feel that you want to get your in laws something with meaning even though they "have everything".

I know my kids say the SAME THING! Well, after working many years, many of us DO have everything we need or want and it does make it hard to buy for us.

Some of the things I've gotten from my kids (hope this helps the OP)...photo items, Omaha steaks (yum), fruit of the month (I like this one even though others may laugh!), the fruit bouquet thing, tickets to events, gift cards to favorite restaurants, personalized Christmas ornaments, anything with an "R" on it (cuz that is the letter of my last name).


Just thought of this...I love a clean car...one year I got gift cards to Auto Bell...wonderful!

Last edited by VickiR; 12-20-2012 at 11:52 AM..
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:27 PM
Location: Chapelboro
10,703 posts, read 11,340,381 times
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I would suggest Southern Season, also. If they're not North Carolinians, or even if they are, they might like some of the NC themed treats/baskets.

Cameron's, also at UMall, is an awesome gift shop with all kinds of things that you had no idea existed.

Also, when I need to buy a gift for someone and I'm _really_ not sure what to get I like to make sure I'm supporting small, independent artisans in my purchase and that way even if my gift is not a hit with the recipient I can feel good about where my money went. To that end, I'd suggest Ten Thousand Villages in Eastgate or the NC Craft Gallery in the pointy building at Weaver St and Main St in Carrboro or Seagrove Pottery near the ArtsCenter in Carrboro.
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:20 PM
Location: Finally in NC
1,337 posts, read 1,879,340 times
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Sadly, my in-laws were gone before I met my husband, so I've never had this problem for inlaws, but have struggles to come up with ideas for other family members. When my mom was alive, I made her a scrapbook with photos of all of her kids/grandkids from when they were young and up. It took a long time, so probably cant do that, but maybe you could start and it would be ready NEXT Christmas! My mom loved that book and then when I'd ask her what she wanted on upcoming holidays, she asked for more pages to add to the scrapbook-so it's a gift you can add to every year! (just get the kind in a binder that you can expand/add pages to!)
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:03 AM
6,196 posts, read 14,247,787 times
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Since they like to travel, give them the updated version of "1001 Places To See Before You Die." Maybe they'll check off all the places they've been and look forward to more adventures.

1, 000 Places to See Before You Die, the second edition: Completely Revised and Updated with Over 200 New Entries: Patricia Schultz: 9780761156864: Amazon.com: Books

I think donating money to some charity in the recipient's name is a real cop-out. If she's insisting on gifts, I can't imagine she would want that -- she doesn't even want gift certificates. Some people just like the idea of getting something for themselves at Christmas. If you want to donate to a charity, do it for yourself.

Food (a la Southern Season) is a great idea.

In the past, I've given pajamas or night gown to those who are a bit tough to buy for...something nice and cozy, maybe in fleece. Even if it's not their style, they don't have to wear it in public.

Personally, I like the idea of gifts on Christmas, so I've asked my adult children to spend all of $5 at Dollar Tree and asked them to be creative. I would be happy with frames, a nice tall coffee cup, or a stash of giant tootsie rolls. At our age, we really don't need anything. It's just more stuff. I don't like it when they spend too much. In the past, I've suggested earrings or scarves, and I now have plenty of both.

I remember the pain of trying to find the right Christmas gifts for in-laws. When I was a young bride, I had no idea what to give my doctor father-in-law. He seemed to have all he wanted. I decided to MAKE him a beautiful soft bathrobe, in maroon, with pockets and all. Blood, sweat, and tears went into that gift. When he opened it on Christmas, my mother-in-law exclaimed, "Why did you do that?! He already has a bathrobe!"

It was at that moment I stopped trying so hard.

Yup, food is a good choice.

Last edited by lovebrentwood; 12-22-2012 at 09:28 AM..
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:35 AM
Location: Raleigh, NC
769 posts, read 2,488,075 times
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Put your foot down!

If they refuse to mutually agree not to exchange gifts, make a charitable donation in their name...
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Old 12-22-2012, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by steve54 View Post
Put your foot down!

If they refuse to mutually agree not to exchange gifts, make a charitable donation in their name...
And get cut out of the will!
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