Gift filter: Sister-in-law's birthday, with kids
May 19, 2017 12:42 PM   Subscribe

Hi MeFi, I'm trying to think up a good gift for my sister-in-law's birthday. We live abroad and she'll be visiting us with two of her kids just after her b-day. She's had many Tough Life Things lately (relationship, money, kid stress, etc.) so I'd like to do something to pamper her a little bit. Difficulty: she will have her kids with her!

My original idea was to give her a brunch certificate so she and my partner could catch up and she could have a little time to herself; however, she said the kids wouldn't want to be away from her. I thought about a massage certificate or similar in her homeland but I know it will be hard for her to use (childcare issues) and it might also seem strange as we don't give presents to other siblings. I also don't want to make it seem as if we're pitying her because of her Tough Life Things, as she has not spoken with us too much about them, though I know they are many and serious.

What might I be able to do for her while she's visiting us, that would pamper her a bit but also let her (9 and 12 y.o.) kids be present? Budget is ~$40-50.
posted by stillmoving to Grab Bag (7 answers total)
Would the kids enjoy getting manicures or pedicures too? Could pay to have them all done at a place near you (you'll have to look to find a place that will do three for $50 that is clean, but they exist, at least in my town.)

Also, I would wait on this and see how the kids are when she gets there and they've had a chance to get used to you. My guess is that barring something very strange, the kids will be fine hanging out at your place while she goes out and gets a massage or pedicure or whatever at a place near you.

As far as it being weird because you don't give gifts to other siblings, don't overthink that. Giving a gift to someone who is visiting you is totally its own thing.
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:49 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]

What about a pedicure in a mall? Someone can shop with kids (or lunch at food Court) but they are near enough that checking in would be easy.

Otherwise, I'd hit a Khiels for a their fantastic hand cream and some samples of other cool things. Pampering of the every day kind.
posted by Ftsqg at 12:51 PM on May 19

I wonder if there's somewhere you could take the kids where they could have fun themselves, but your sister-in-law and your partner could also sit and talk together, and you could kind of run interference when the kids needed something. So not pampering exactly for your sister-in-law, but space for her and your partner to visit.

In the US, the place I would go for this is one of those crazy inflatables places -- like this (random link found on Google to give the idea). I went to one of these once with a friend and her kids, and the kids played for about 90 minutes while my friend and I chatted. It was a dreary setting for us, but the kids had a fantastic time and I got to talk with my friend un-interrupted! Maybe there's something like that near you, or a kids program in a museum, where you could be the hands-on adult, and your SIL and partner could hang back a bit.
posted by OrangeDisk at 12:56 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]

For $50 you could put together a great package of spa things that could be used whenever there's time and wouldn't need to be maintained (it can be a bummer when a nice manicure gets chipped and then you need to find time to take off the polish and as nice as it feels to get a manicure it's such a buzzkill to have to take it off or watch it fall apart).

My suggestion to include the kids is to get a bunch of sheet masks and do them as a family! They're not gender specific as a beauty treatment, they look HILARIOUS, they're inexpensive so you can easily buy enough for a crowd for under $50 and then all make brunch together while admiring your glowing skin.
posted by padraigin at 6:24 PM on May 19

Oooooh, they make sheet masks with faces on them now, at least here in Japan! Maybe check Sephora first and if they don't have any, look on ebay and buy through a highly-rated seller. ( is way overpriced.)
posted by LoonyLovegood at 7:49 PM on May 19

Take everybody to the movies - a matinee, and spring for movie candy or popcorn if you can. Or head to a children's museum or science museum - entry can be pricey and the kids can run around and get tired while you talk.
posted by jrobin276 at 3:33 AM on May 20

Thank you for the suggestions! The manicure idea is great but will unfortunately be out of my price range. I marked the movie and inflatable place as best as I think they will provide a way for my SIL to have a bit of time that feels like her own. Thanks again!
posted by stillmoving at 1:52 PM on May 20

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