How to Buy the Perfect Gift for That Hard-to-Shop For Parent

Sometimes, shopping for parents can seem nearly impossible.

First, parents are adults who don't wait around for special occasions to buy the things they want or need. Secondly, they already seem to have everything—and the things they don't have cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Still, no matter how many times they say, "You don't need to get me anything!" and refuse to give you suggestions, you still feel obligated when a birthday or holiday rolls around.

What's a caring child to do? We have a few ideas that might help.

Keep a Running List Year Round

Our favorite gifting trick is making a note on your phone containing the names of all the people in your life. Whenever they make an offhand comment about something they wish they had, or their interests, or even their favorite animal or color, simply go into your phone and make a bullet-pointed list of what they like. The more consistent you are with this, the more prepared you'll be to buy them the perfect gift when the time comes. When someone finally gets the thing they wanted seven months ago but totally forgot about, it can be pretty special.


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Do They Have a Wish List?

As much as you might hope to think of something original for your parent that comes straight from the heart, they'd probably much rather a gift they actually want. That doesn't mean it can't still surprise them. Search for their name on Amazon to see if they have a wish list, or ask the person closest to them if there's anything they've had their eye on. You might be able to make their dreams come true without having to rack your brain.


Get Them Something They'll Actually Use

Sometimes, the "thoughtful" gift will actually be less considerate than something practical that they'll get a lot of use from. Whether they like cooking, or using tools, or grilling, or sewing or gardening, take a look at their gadgets and see if anything could use replacing or upgrading. Go online and look for innovative new accessories tied to the things they like to do most in their free time. Chances are, you'll find something cool and interesting, and your parent will enjoy trying it out, even if they don't substitute it for their old stuff.


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Pool Money With the Fam to Get Them Something Pricey

Sometimes, you know exactly what your parent wants, and you want to get it for them, but your wallet does not agree. When those times come, work with the rest of your family to see if you can divide the price and make it happen. The more people who chip in, the less it'll cost for each of you, and at the end of the day, you'll be making their wish come true. After all, they'd probably much rather get one big, coveted gift than eight little presents they didn't even want in the first place.


Get Them a Gift Card to Their Favorite Spot

It's an old-fashioned idea that gift cards are a bad, impersonal gift. In fact, they can actually show a lot of thought and care, as long as you're specific about the place it's from. If your parent loves clothes-shopping, get them a card for their favorite boutique. If they're into home DIYs, or working on cards, or arts and crafts or hiking, think about where they shop for the things that make those hobbies possible, and make it easier for them to do what they love with the help of a gift card. After all, they know what they like and want better than anyone, so give them the gift of a shopping spree.


(via Shutterstock)


Need more hints? Click HERE for the list of gifts you should never give your mom.