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Gift ideas for Mom/Grandma

Sometimes getting gifts for my parents can be challenging. For instance, if there is something out there that my mother wants, at this point in her life she has likely already gone out and gotten it.

So, in the spirit of my last post about getting ready for Christmas early (let’s hear it for avoiding stress, the zoo in the stores and the over-spending that can happen when you’re feeling frantic!), here are a few ideas I thought I’d throw out there. Please feel free to add any others that come to mind. It will make finding just the right gift a whole lot easier for all of us if we put our heads together!

All of these gift ideas are under $50 and do not require entering a mall. 

The sentimental gift:
A hand-painted coffee mug or tea cup has proven to be a winner time and time again for me. Let your child loose with some paints at Gotta Paint or The Mud Oven for half an hour, and voila — a thoughtful, but useful keepsake. If you have a baby, my favourite thing is a handprint in bright paint. All items are dishwasher-safe and make a cheerful addition to the home or office. (less than $30)

The practical gift:
My friend Jen told me about this nifty little invention that her neighbour came up with called Towel Locs. You know how your bathroom hand towel seems to always end up on the floor? Not with these little babies! I was worried about the safety of these with toddlers, but Jen says the locking mechanism hasn’t failed her yet. (less than $25 incl. shipping) 

The lasts-all-year gift:
A subscription to a magazine is the gift that keeps on giving — arriving at the mailbox all year long. And the best part is, there’s a magazine for every taste. From hobbies, to popular entertainment to history and sports … you name it, it exists. Canadian Magazines has a special on now that if you buy two magazine subscriptions, you get one free. (approx $25-35)

And if 2009 calls for some special attention …

That special gift:
Sometimes you really want that something special. For my mom’s 60th birthday last year, we gave her a Tiffany bracelet. She hasn’t taken if off since! There’s lovely silver jewellery (starting at $150), crystal Christmas tree ornaments (starting at $80) and freshwater pearl earrings ($180) and bracelets (starting at $270). All available online at

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  1. I’m a sucker for the sentimental gift.

    My parents buy anything that they want so that means we have to get extra creative during any gift giving season.

    This year is sort of a cop-out.

    We’re having a family portrait taken with a professional photographer (A first with the three of us) and All of the parents are getting a copy in a nice frame.
    For my son’s grandparents on his father’s side, they’ll be getting a photo of him by himself.

    Either way I think all the parents will end up happy.

  2. The last several years we have given them tickets to something at the NAC for later in the spring, something they wouldn’t normally do, but always enjoy.

    • Great idea! I’m always hesitant to do this for my parents though since my mom travels so much for work — I never know what continent she’ll be on!

  3. I’ve bought a lot of magazine subscriptions for friends and family over the years as gifts. A staple in my mum’s stocking was always a subscription to TV guide. Now they’ve stopped making print copies. She’s desolate. I always like buying books, too. -they’ll even gift wrap and ship to whevever you want them to go. This year I’m all over those pre-paid credit cards for the people who never like anything anyone gets them. VISA Mastercard and AMEX all have cards you can buy for $25, $50, $100 or $200. They can be used anywhere real credit cards are used

    • I love doing the book gift too! When I was away in Australia last year, I bought everyone books from Amazon, Better World Books and Indigo (but I was always to cheap to spring for the gift wrapping). A book that turned out to be a great gift was Dropped Threads, compiled by Carol Shields … a collection of women’s experiences.

      I read that stores LOVE it when people buy gift certificates because a lot of the time, people forget to use them and the store gets to keep all the $$ without forking over any product. I love that you can buy all these nifty gift cards in the drug store now too!

  4. Jacqueline says:

    My mom got a Pandora bracelet last year. It is quite nice. You buy little charms every year to add on. It is very stylish. This would be a great gift that keeps on giving every year for Christmas and birthdays.

    Depending on the charms you can give it a different look everytime.

    Pendants run around $35 ea and the bracelet is roughly $50.

    This is what my mom will be getting this year – the grandchildren birth stones.

    • Oh YES! How could I have forgotten that … I love my Pandora bracelet! And my SIL and MIL both have one too, so we can easily send overseas gifts to each other in small envelopes. Beautiful idea to give the birth stones. We did first initials for MIL.

  5. In my experience, anything involving my wife’s feet and shins (read leather boots) is always a hit!

  6. I Think the hand painted are the best gifts to give to your grandma or  to your mom.

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  1. A Good Read…

    Very helpful info thanks…

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