70th BDay Present Ideas?
August 16, 2009 4:41 AM   Subscribe

70th Birthday Present Ideas Needed!

My mom is having her big 70 next month and I'm stuck on cool birthday present ideas.

It's especially tricky because:

1. She's in the process of being forced to relocate from the place where she's lived all her life to North Carolina, and she's MISERABLE about it;
2. She has very little interests. She is a compulsive shopper (her joy in life is buying ANYTHING and then returning it...I wish I was joking).

So I had the idea of a family portrait but think that could end up upsetting her more as knowing her, it will serve as a reminder that she's moved 14 hours away from us.

Other idea was subscription to local newspaper and NYTimes, tix to local theater, etc., and those may be fine for Xmas but not 70th birthday. And right now, she does NOT want to celebrate this move.

I can't afford special jewelry or an Hermes scarf, etc. She despises gift cards, doesn't play golf, tennis, anything other than shopping.

So Hive Mind, what do I get her?
posted by dzaz to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Women your mother's age are hard to buy for anyway (my mother is also 70) because they have everything they need, and are probably even trying to downsize. I usually try to think in terms of gifts that can be used up: subscriptions, gift cards and certificates, tickets to cultural events, food and wine, calendars, and so on. Jewelry is nice because it doesn't take up much space.

But I guess in your mother's case, gift cards are out, huh? She'll only buy the items and keep returning them.;-)

I think the tickets and subscriptions are a great idea. She may not want to celebrate the move, but surely she can still look forward to enjoying those things. If you're considering newspaper subscriptions, perhaps your mom likes to read, so some books could be a good idea. You might also consider a gift certificate to a national restaurant chain. She can use that before or after the move and so it'll be a move-neutral idea. Spa gift certificates for a massage or a manicure might be nice too. If she has any special likes in terms of alcohol or food or candy, buy her those things.

Reconsider jewelry. There is a lot of really lovely good quality costume jewelry out there for under $50. Striking and original costume jewelry is way better than low-end gold nothings. I know what pieces I get the most compliments on.
posted by orange swan at 5:08 AM on August 16, 2009

For my mother's 60th I got her a national and local newspaper from the day she was born in a fancy gift package, and a bottle of Armagnac from the same year.
posted by Z303 at 7:25 AM on August 16, 2009

You might plan a girl's day out with her: lunch, shopping, massage and pedicure.
We (4 women) did a simple pedicure/lunch party with my mother in law once and everyone loved it
posted by SLC Mom at 7:42 AM on August 16, 2009

Photo album with family photos? If your mom likes mixed drinks, a nice bottle of liquor might do.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:01 AM on August 16, 2009

This was a hit for my brother-in-law's 50th, and might well work for your Mom's 70th. What sister-in-law did was put together a combination photo album and scrapbook of BIL's life - from birth on - his life story so to speak. She solicited and scanned photos from family and friends, including photos of grandparents, parents, siblings, childhood, friends, kids ... but also asked relatives and friends to write up little things like funny stories and reminiscences, including stuff like what is his favorite food, what was his bedroom like as a kid, memories from family vacations, summer camp, etc. etc.. She even included a family tree. You wouldn't have a lot of time to do it, but I bet you could do some version of this if you start now.
posted by gudrun at 8:48 AM on August 16, 2009

Consumables! We always try to find unusual items to make a unique food basket or go with a themed gift basket. With food. Food is awesome because you don't have to worry about their decor, whether they like movies, etc.
posted by bodgy at 12:29 PM on August 16, 2009

I think it's going to be jewelry for her birthday and local specialities for Xmas. Thanks, Hive Mind!
posted by dzaz at 12:30 PM on August 16, 2009

A CD player (or if you think she'd be into it, an mp3 player) with music from her youth. If she was born in '39, she would have been 14 in 1953 and 24 in '63. So her musical formative years were somewhere between, say, the prom scene in Back to the Future and the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. Check out billboard charts for those years to think of songs that are off the beaten path.

Perhaps loading up on memories will make a new and very different place more tolerable.
posted by degrees_of_freedom at 1:43 PM on August 16, 2009

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