Meeting your SO’s parents for the first time is a big deal! It’s not so big that you need to panic and fret over every detail, but it’s still big enough that you want to focus on making a good impression.
One of the ways every dutiful partner can prepare is by bringing a gift for their SO’s parents. Your choice of gift doesn’t have to be too extravagant, but it should be meaningful to the person it’s intended for and say something about you as the giver.
If you’re not sure what you want to give as a gift — or what you want that gift to say — here are five ideas for making this first impression impressive indeed.
1. Something Green
Your SO can help you feel out whether something green would make a good gift for their parents. They’ll know better than you how “green” their parents’ thumbs are! But if it sounds like they’re amenable to the idea, or they’re gardeners or nature enthusiasts themselves, a well-chosen houseplant or tree can make a wonderful gift.
Take pets and care difficulty into consideration as you choose indoor plants. If you can, choose something hardy and easy to care for that also freshens the air.
If you want a gift that doubles as a touching and memorable gesture, gift them a tree for the yard. Something a little more mature than a sapling is great. Choose a tree that’s native to the area, too. You can offer to plant it someplace in their yard so they can watch it grow.
Most properties have too much grass and not enough trees and meadows anyway. Plus, your SO’s parents will have a reminder of you. And if things don’t work out, they’ll have something to take out their anger on that isn’t you.
2. Upscale Disposable Products
We’re not talking about fancy napkins or other disposable items that we don’t think much about. We’re talking about items where we’re immediately sad once they’re gone, like fancy soaps and candles. Top-shelf alcohol never goes awry either, unless your SO hails from a long line of teetotalers.
Everybody loves the scent of an upscale candle simmering someplace in the house. And while we balk at the prices when shopping for ourselves, everybody still loves the feeling and smell of washing their hands with a natural, handmade, undeniably artisanal soap. Start your search at local shops and farmers’ markets and spiral out from there.
3. An Attractive Serving Platter
Believe it or not, trays are an entire industry. And why shouldn’t they be? When we’re in a pinch, no household ever seems to have enough trays for carrying foods and beverages out to the firepit for a gathering, to the dining room table or just to the lounge for Game Day.
There are trays for every budget. Of course, handing somebody an empty tray is like gifting a picture frame with the strangers still inside it. If you and your SO recently moved into an apartment or home together, make or bake something in your new digs and place it decoratively within the tray. Nothing brings people together like homemade food!
If you don’t trust your own sense of style or cooking, you can also go with a handsome gift tray or gift basket with pre-selected foods your SO’s parents are bound to love.
4. A Watch (Within Reason!)
You can spend $40 on a watch that keeps better time and outlasts some $400 or $4,000 models. They’re well within reach if you really want to make a statement. If you have good taste and an eye for details, buying a watch as a gift for your SO’s parents will be an impressive gesture. Bonus points if you can explain the difference between Swiss and Japanese watch movements!
Watches can have neat features like time syncing with atomic clocks, chronographs, NATO-style straps, titanium housings, multiple time zone support (great for frequent travelers) and much more.
The craftsmanship, personality and style of a fine watch (or even a well-designed “beater” or tool watch) make the gesture of giving one a thoughtful, practical and sentimental gift. Moreover, it sends an unconscious signal that you’re somebody who thinks in the long term.
5. A Well-Made Throw Blanket or Quilt
Whether or not you’re familiar with quilting or crocheting, you know that crafting a quilt or throw blanket takes time. If you have enough of it — time, that is — this type of gift could keep paying dividends well into the future. Long-lasting blankets are great, but long-lasting blankets made by family and friends are singular.
A visit to local shops and artisans will yield lots of attractive ready-to-snuggle options, too. Like a lot of things, blankets are among those items that many people “make do” with until somebody shows or gives them something better. Be that somebody!
Stick the Landing
You probably have plenty of ideas of your own when it comes to picking out a gift when meeting your SO’s parents. With any luck, the ideas here have you feeling a little better prepared to stick the landing.