If you’re anything like me, you might be struggling to find your parents the perfect holiday gift this season.
Parents are difficult to buy presents for because they’re adults with seemingly unlimited disposable income who can afford to buy whatever they want, whenever they want. This leaves their children frantically thinking of creative presents days before they come home for the holidays. Luckily for you, I’ve done all of the thinking for us.
Your Old DVDs (Free)
Why do you need every season of The Office when you’ve got Netflix and Hulu and the ability to (illegally) stream TV shows? It’s not that streaming is difficult, but my parents find DVDs familiar and easier to use. Sure, this is arguably re-gifting, but I actually think re-gifting unfairly gets a bad rap. If I’m not using something and my parents would appreciate and get a lot of use out of it, why is it shameful that I give it to them? It isn’t. So all of my DVDs belong to my parents now.
An Amazon Prime Membership ($99/year)
I’m surprised that my family doesn’t already have an Amazon Prime membership. For $99 a year or $8.25 a month or 28 cents a day, my parents can order anything from Amazon’s extensive website and receive it within 48 hours. But wait! There’s more! I — or uhhh — my parents, can stream Orphan Black or Downton Abbey whenever they want. We can listen to music or read eBooks. We can literally have it all. For practically a quarter a day! What a time to be alive!
Your Technological Services (Free, but would probably take a long time and a lot of patience)
My parents are not technologically illiterate but my dad does use the biggest font size setting on his iPhone. I know he — and dads all over the world — would appreciate an hour of my expertise.
Let your parents ask you a thousand questions and answer each one patiently and without any snark. Don’t uninstall the emoji keyboard off your mom’s iPhone even though she sends the poop emoji and heart eyes emoji too many times. Create an Instagram account for them so they can feel like they’re a part of your world. Make their homepage thelma.com to expose them to cool #content every single day.
(This would also be a good time to mention once or twice or constantly that you wouldn’t mind being on their cell phone plan for forever).
Not Get Arrested or Pregnant (Free, but might require extra caution)
My dad always says that the greatest gift would be for us to be safe and happy and healthy. And while my brother and I were pretty easy, stress-free kids, I think for any parent the fear that your child might get into serious trouble is always there. This is an ongoing present and it will continue to be a present for Christmas 2014, given that my brother doesn’t do anything crazy in the next two weeks. Fingers crossed. You’re welcome, Dad.
Arts and Crafts (I don’t know, like 5 bucks???)
I don’t think arts and crafts gifts stop being cute. Not even when you’re, uh, 23 with a real job. I mean, nothing says “I love you” like a necklace made out of candy. Nothing says, “I made this in the kitchen while you weren’t looking but know that I love you” like uncooked macaroni shaped into a heart. Maybe your parents will find it adorable and endearing. Maybe they’d reminisce about your kindergarten days when you brought home similarly awful but well-meaning gifts.
Dinner With You ($50-100)
Whenever I ask my parents what they want for their birthdays or for Christmas, they always say that they’d just like to spend time with me. So take them out to dinner. Make reservations. Offer to pay. If your parents are anything like mine, they’d decline your offer to pay and bask in the knowledge that their kid grew up to be thoughtful. Don’t complain about the absurdly early dinner time — even if 5:30 PM is practically, like, 4 hours removed from lunch, Mom.
Most parents love their children so much that literally anything — even those homemade presents — will make them happy. They’ll still think that the sun shines out of you even if you forget to give them something this year.
I think most parents just want to hear about you and your life. So maybe a really good gift would be to make a conscious effort to be nicer. Be a little less sardonic. Enjoy their company. Be their friend in real life and on Facebook. Share this article with them and say, “at least I’m more thoughtful than that girl who said she’d give her parents old DVDs.”
Or, I don’t know, that Amazon Prime membership is only 50 bucks if you ask your brother to split it with you.