Friday, November 13, 2009

The Giver

I am just going to be upfront about this, I am a horrible gift giver.

If it really is the thought that counts then I'm not too shabby but if it is the actual gift? Horrible.

Especially when it comes to my parents. They're good people. They are great gift givers. And all they really want from life are gift cards to Sizzler. Truly. Going out to dinner makes them happy. But the thing lame and unthoughtful is it to give your parents a gift card to Sizzler every. single. year?


So I conjure, imagine, think, stew, meditate. And I come up with really great ideas! Like the year I gave my dad, whose back has hurt for his entire life, a certificate for a massage. See? Thoughtful! Useful! Non-generic.

He never got the massage. (I got one by the way and it was hands down the creepiest thing I have ever done....."disrobe to your level of comfort" ....psh...another post for another day). The certificate expired, and my twenty five bucks was as good as flushed down the proverbial toilet.

He would have been much happier enjoying steak and all you can eat shrimp. Twice!

Then in 2007 Bentley was born. Both of my parents came out to visit. We had a grand ol' time watching "Everybody Loves Raymond" together. My parents laughed, my dad genuinely enjoyed himself (you don't realize how amazing it is for my dad to enjoy a movie...or at least admit to enjoying a movie). So... a few months later... an entire season of Everybody Loves Raymond was shipped to their house for Christmas. Upon visiting them the next Christmas, a full YEAR later....the Raymond Season was still in its shrink wrap, tucked on the movie shelf, dusty, unloved.

There goes that $30.

So what's a person to do? My most successful gift was when, on his fiftieth birthday, I gave him a cane with a horn and a rearview mirror. It got some good laughs and use for that day. Same thing with the time I got him a "Bop It".

But come on! My parents have done a lot for me. I really want to show them how much I appreciate them and how much I love them. And I want to do it for about fifty bucks. So I can't buy them a cruise. Or their own Sizzler franchise.

Do I give in? Do I give them a Sizzler gift certificate?



TheMoncurs said...

Ok if you've TRIED to give other thoughtful gifts and they obviously just weren't having it, give in to the gift card. There's no shame in it. At least you know they'll USE it!

kateworthi said...

I think ya do give in....
I'm in your EXACT boat with my inlaws. I never get them something they actually use and like. They have everything they need already - I guess that's what you get when you've led a full and long life! :). And believe me, I have tried to be really thoughtful - and I always feel like it's a dud. EXCEPT, the only thing they always use and love is a gift card to the Olive Garden or Red Lobster. And they probably get like, 3 per holiday from us all. Seriously.

So, the reason I say give in is b/c my parents actually LOVE gift cards. They actually tell us to give them gift cards. And they enjoy spending them, guilt free. Barnes and NOble, Best Buy, are among their favorites.

Or, you can always do the pictures of your kids route. Cute frames and put new pics in there for them, or a photo book or calendar from shutterfly or something. Parents always love those. And they use them.... just a thought....

McCulloch Family said...

Dear Kristi's Mom, Please don't read this. Thank you, Jeannie
k....I like the pics of your kids idea but I also think the g.c. is great too - what about pairing it with something like a popcorn bowl with popcorn in it and Ralphie's caramel corn recipe written out (yum) then a g.c. for one movie rental and dinner out (to Sizzler). It's the gift of a really fun date night!

Or... even better -coupons for things like "4 free hours with your grandkids, any fri or sat night" :)

My last idea is because you are such a rockin' chef, you could/should! give them a dessert of the month gift and deliver them a yummy dessert once a month (and send me the recipe!) Yum huh.... What do you think??

Anonymous said...

Great ideas!!! I was going to suggest making a photo calendar of your family. Everybody likes having a calendar in their kitchen. But Kate beat me to it. So there you have it. And I also like the other ideas listed. Hmmm... keep 'em comin'! I will be checking back.

p.s. Dear Kristi's blog commentors,
Any ideas for a gift for my 21 year old brother... who doesn't share many of the same likes or interests as myself?
Love, Angela

Gretchen said...

I SO hear you. I can never find ANYTHING to give my parents. My most successful gifts have been based off the kids. It went over well last year when I made them magnets with the kids' pics on them... Good luck and tell me if you think of anything good so I can steal the idea!!!

JoAnna said...


Laurie said...

Dear Ang,
I think Kris is onto something. Everyone loves a gift certificate, or just plain moolah. (which somehow seems less personal than a gift certificate).
And Kris, I stole your idea last year and gave gift certificates from to my parents and T's parents. They both still have them hanging on their bulletin boards, and they expire in 2 weeks. Do I steal them and use them myself? I like eating at Tuscany.....

Janae said...

We can't even give gift cards for the in-laws because they don't spend them. We went out to eat with my MIL and she tried to use a gift card that was 5 years old. Yeah all the money was gone. She didn't know that the money disappears slowly each year.

This year we got them some tickets to go see Paul Cardall's first concert in February.

marisa said...

Give them the certificate, that is what they enjoy. You are giving them a night out. Who cares if it is boring.

Sheyenne said...

I have no gift ideas. I suck at gifts too. But I just wanted to say- Geez I miss you. Come back.

Kathrin Paul said...

When was the last time you had a big family picture taken? You could give them a gift cert. for a large family portrait sitting. . .I've had people do that before. It doesn't even have to be me that does it, but I would love a chance to see you.

PS you need to have our friend Ginger give you a massage. A-Maze-ing. Not awkward or weird or creepy or anything other than bliss. Promise.

Ralphie said...

I LOVED my chocolate covered cinnamon bears. THAT was a great gift. And extremely heart felt.

I like Katie's shutterfly idea. I've been meaning to make a book of pictures for the G-parents for a long time.

Stephanie said...

Get the gift cards! This is coming from a person who just bought an AMC gift card for my mom and a Outback Steakhouse gift card for my Dad for Christmas. Then they can go to dinner and a movie and not feel guilty about spending the money and have a great night out on us! I would rather get something I am going to use that get something I have to find something I don't know what to do with!

Jan said...

I say give then the Gift Certificate, oops who said that?

Stef Bassett said...

do a sizzler gift card for sure! :)