Put Her Sons to Shame: Gift Ideas for Your Mother-In-Law

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 9:13am

Fellows, listen to her. The entire year through. Your mother-in-law is the one person you need to continue to try to impress during the holidays, year after year. Go beyond that nice big smile and warm hug of yours and get her something she will really appreciate this year.

With so many unique gift ideas out there, what with the DIY types playing show-and-tell across the Internet, what you really need to figure out is what kind of woman she is. What does she like? And if you haven't started listening to her in the past, begin today. Make a list on your phone notes, "Getting to know Donna (or, 'weird stuff Donna does' if that makes you feel better) 

  • Said 'namasté' to the checkout clerk at the Indian restaurant
  • Asked me if we were going to watch the meteor shower
  • Lights candles at night
  • Loves butterflies.
  • Breathes heavy with her eyes closed."

With these clues that you've written down throughout the year, you can conclude that your "MIL" is, in fact, a yogi. Now, the path is clear for the perfect gift. Here are a few unique suggestions for all types of women that will put her own sons to shame:

For the Yogi

Believe it or not, women of the spirit are pretty easy to buy for. Begin by bringing a bouquet of her favorite flowers (again, pay attention or ask your father-in-law). Buy her something soft and serene. Maybe a pashmina shawl, a lucky bamboo plant, Shakti Mat TM or buy her a star named after her that she can spot every night in the sky. No, really. You can do that at the Star Registry.

For the Animal Lover

You know it really depends on whether your mother-in-law has a sense of humor or is straight up animal lover, no joke. Let's assume she has a funny bone. Get her the coffee table book — "Pets Who Want to Kill Themselves: Featuring Over 150 Suicidal Pets!" Here's a preview the kinds of pictures that are inside of this must buy book for the animal lover with a sense of humor.

For the Techie

Believe it or not, you don't have to buy something pricey for the technology lover. Accessories are wide and vast. Buy "MIL" a BookBook iPhone cover, the iPhone Photo Printer, a custom Kindle or iPad skin or an 8GB *BLING* portable external USB flash drive.

For the Sports Fan

Women can love sports just as much as men, especially when it comes to their beloved football team. You could really capture her heart by buying her Green Bay Packers earrings or possibly the chip and dip helmet if she is the Sunday funday party host. Why not a Fathead wall graphic with her favorite linebacker pummeling through the wall? And if she's a really, really big Packer fan, a new cheesehead is always welcomed and appreciated.

For the Foodie

An apron, herb keepers, a magazine subscription to Rachael Ray Every Day (be SURE she likes Rachael Ray first), anything Cuisinart or a good Shun Santoku knife = prize for best son (in-law). Foodies really love their accessories.

For the Sentiment

You are looking for tears with this gift. Either an engraved keepsake box or a birthstone necklace, the sentimental lady will love you for any thought you put into it. How about a classic vintage locket with a mini portrait of your wife?


  • Clothing — You do not know her size. You cannot guess her size. Even if you know her size, it could be too small or too big.
  • Anything Retro — Don't assume she'll know what it is if you buy her something from the past. She may have been born a decade later than that vintage travel poster that you think is so cool.
  • A Portrait of Herself — whether it's for real or a caricature, there is something assuredly offensive about it. "My chin isn't that big...is it?"
  • Something Christmassy — it's a cop out. 

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