What the heck should I get my in-laws for Christmas?
December 12, 2019 8:11 AM   Subscribe

They are impossible to shop for! We are doing Christmas stockings only this year so I need a number of smallish things for each of them.

So far I have things like a yeti mug, nice reuseable shopping bags, high-end hand cream, waterproof notepad, fun pens, and colorful playing cards.

Planning to add on some candies, coffee, maybe like a puzzle or something. They go all out on Christmas and doing stockings only was my attempt to scale back, but I absolutely need to add more.

They are both retired in their early 70's, both kind of artsy - he is a wood worker, she is a quilter. They're both very advanced at their craft so I would feel silly getting accessories/ supplies for them. They are obsessed with pickleball but how many pickleballs does a person need.

They live near Lake Michigan in a rural location and they are financially well-off. My husband and I live in another state. I want to stay away from tchotchkes and junk, and ridiculously overpriced stuff (like a 4-pack of fancy soaps that cost $48)... books and consumables might be good. Any ideas?
posted by jschu to Shopping (23 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Little jars of local honey or jelly or other farmers-market stuff from where you live.
posted by Etrigan at 8:20 AM on December 12, 2019 [8 favorites]

Fuzzy socks or cozy house slippers, scarf, winter hat. Flannel Christmas/Winter sheet set.
posted by ilovewinter at 8:24 AM on December 12, 2019

If they drink or cook with alcohol, some fancy nips.
posted by Botanizer at 8:42 AM on December 12, 2019

spice assortments
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:51 AM on December 12, 2019

chocolates, candies, or mixed nuts, suited to their taste
novels, magazines, puzzle books, recipe book
lottery/scratch tickets
socks, slippers
fridge magnets
special/personalized christmas ornament
small travel/purse size umbrella
window thermometer
small birdfeeder
fancy pill box
for the quilter... a seam ripper (can't have too many!)
posted by fourpotatoes at 8:56 AM on December 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

Seconding fourpotatoes on a seam ripper for the quilter, but I would specifically get an LED magnifying one. These are all the rage in my serious sewers social media circles right now and especially for someone older seem like they would be a godsend.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 9:01 AM on December 12, 2019 [5 favorites]

My inlaws enjoy the Farmers Almanac, I got them the calendar

Lee Valley has a range of small items for stockings that people seem to enjoy.
posted by Ftsqg at 9:10 AM on December 12, 2019

Boozy Chocolates!
posted by soelo at 9:16 AM on December 12, 2019

One quilting thing I never feel like you can have enough of is Wonder Clips.
posted by advicepig at 9:23 AM on December 12, 2019

I've been itching to give someone a Heroclip because they seem so useful.
posted by the_blizz at 9:43 AM on December 12, 2019

One of our default stocking stuffers is a couple of tubes of chapstick - you can never have too many of those, either.
posted by sarajane at 9:57 AM on December 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

In a similar vein as the reusable shopping bags, what about some beeswax food wrap? Or reusable silicone zip top bags?
posted by little mouth at 10:22 AM on December 12, 2019

I stumbled across red and blue popcorn in Kalustyan's (a specialty spice market here in NYC, you can probably mail order in time if you need to) the other day. So I got a bag for my partner's father, who is incredibly difficult to shop for but I have witnessed him making stovetop popcorn. I also got him a silly deer head magnet from Flying Tiger. These would both fit in a stocking, but I am going to wrap them like Serious Presents. I made my partner's mom a shawl last winter that she loved so much I made her another, slightly different shawl a few months ago.

Christmas ornament if they do a tree
USB stick of songs you love/they love
USB stick of photos with a gift card for photo printing
Printed photos in a small album
Cable corral stuff
USB outlet to upgrade their phone charging situation
Gift certificates with pre-made appointment for massage (a day you know they'll be free, schedule with them "an activity" Only works if they don't have objections to being massaged, bonus if they already have a regular person and you can book them there as a surprise)
I really love Voluspa candles, they are on the pricey side and I have never owned one. The small ones burn really nicely from everyplace I've seen them, no experience with the huge ones. Comes in a variety of scents
posted by bilabial at 10:35 AM on December 12, 2019

Are you into any crafts yourself that you can make for them relatively quickly? It might fit within that "something special you can't buy" and "doesn't cost a lot of money."
posted by astapasta24 at 11:48 AM on December 12, 2019

The quilter might like one of the Farmer's Wife sampler quilt books. Besides just having patterns for quilt blocks, they include "inspiring" letters from early editions of the Farmer's Wife magazine. It looks like there's a Bible version too if the in-laws are so inclined.
posted by little king trashmouth at 11:54 AM on December 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

These little puzzles are cute. They have a pickle puzzle, too.
posted by carrioncomfort at 12:23 PM on December 12, 2019

red and blue popcorn
Whole Foods has at least one different type of popcorn in their bulk section, so you could pair that with a cute mason jar.
posted by soelo at 1:24 PM on December 12, 2019

Do you have a gift/stationary store in your town or city? Browing there might lead to some great ideas

-Would either of them like a journal with different writing prompts?
-Notecards that are blank inside with a design that would appeal to them
-Comfy socks (i like this brand)
-If you don't know what type of books they like would something like an Audible subscription or a bookstore gift card be ok?
-I agree with staying away from giving things that will sit around and collect dust but I do think a nice picture frame could be a good gift, particularly if they have grandkid photos to display
posted by nuclear_soup at 1:46 PM on December 12, 2019

Plastic faux-chrome license plate frame featuring Trucker Girls.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 4:05 PM on December 12, 2019

Hand quilting needles in her preferred size, usually around 10, and/or machine needles; a couple of fat quarters; warm, non-slip socks; hand lotion for both of them, as both hobbies will dry their skin. Marking tools for either hobby.
posted by Enid Lareg at 4:44 PM on December 12, 2019

For the quilter, new rotary blades are always (always!) appreciated, at least by me. I’m very stingy with changing mine, and having new, sharp blades in reserve lets me feel like I really can use a new one for each project.
posted by itsamermaid at 8:32 PM on December 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Have you thought about a mug or calendar from Shutterfly or a similar site? You could ask your in laws to send you some of their favorite project photos because you want to show them off to a neighbor and than use them to make a gift. If it's a mug, you could do a collage of anything you'd think they'd like. I made one for a friend a couple years ago when I was having trouble coming up with present ideas and it went over well. If you want a $25 off code (have to spend at least $25 and pay shipping), I have one code left I won in a contest.
posted by stray thoughts at 8:55 PM on December 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Darn Tough socks are great (expensive but worth it).

Card games, here are a few good ones:
No Thanks

Patchwork - this is a 2-player game - it's a little more involved than the card games and the box is a little bigger so won't actually fit into a stocking, but it's quilt-themed, so figured I'd mention it.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:33 PM on December 13, 2019

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