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12 Days of Shopping: Mom/Mom-in-Law and Dad/Dad-in-Law (Day 4)

Mother-in-Law and Father-in-Law Gift Ideas

This holiday season, I am thankful for Capability:Mom who agreed to take the Dad/Dad-in-Law portion of this shopping challenge because my father and father-in-law have both passed on decades ago.  My husband is tough enough to shop for, but that is for another day. Actually, that is Day 9 during our 12 day shopping marathon!

Capability:Mom and I both agree that we get the SAME thing for our own mothers and mothers-in-law.  In my case, my mom and mother-in-law are friends and live a half hour away from each other.  It would not be a stretch to imagine them discussing their gifts during casual conversation and feelings would get hurt, I fear, if the presents differed.

You may not have need for ideas for either your parent or your in-law if they have a myriad of hobbies and interests that make gift giving easy.  Also, they may be easy to please.  This is true for both my mom and mother-in-law:  not picky and both love to paint in any medium from oil to watercolor.  I can get them art supplies from Cheap Joe’s which I do frequently but sometimes it’s nice to change it up. After all, moms and mother-in-laws get frequent presents:  birthday, Christmas, and Mother’s Day.  I can’t always be sending them watercolor paper and chalk pastels!

But, if not a gift for a hobby, then what?  Honestly, we both struggled with this when we realized we gift along the same themes.  Here are our ideas for mom and mom-in-law.

1.  “Japanese Tea House”

Harney & Son, Sencha, 50 Tea Bags, $12; 5 Piece Japanese Tea Set in Ocean Blue, $65. Japanese Cast Iron Pot tea set for $27. To really go to town, you can buy traditional Japanese sweets and have them shipped to your mom or mother-in-law from Minamoto Kitchoan.

Wagashi Favorites of Ours include:

TSUYA (a sweet pancake with sweetened red beans)

KASUTERA (a sponge cake)

FUKUWATASHISENBEI (a kind of crisp waffle cookie)

SAKURANBO (a cherry jello)

2.  “Beautiful Skin”

Clinique 5 Piece Gift Set, $40; Perricone Prescription for Youthful Skin, $75.

3.  “Kiss the Cook”

A variety of great cook books that are also fun to read.

Flour 12 days of shopping http://PragmaticMom.com, http://CapabilityMom.com

Maybe it’s time for new spices? Olde Thompson 16-Jar Orbit Spice Rack is $34.

4.  “Good Read”

Yarn: Remembering The Way Home by Kyoko Mori: A memoir of crossing cultures, losing love, and finding home by a New York Times notable author. As steadily and quietly as her marriage falls apart, so Kyoko Mori’s understanding of knitting deepens. From flawed school mittens to beautiful unmatched patterns of cardigans, hats and shawls, Kyoko draws the connection between knitting and the new life she tried to establish in the U.S. Interspersed with the story of knitting throughout, the narrative contemplates the nature of love, loss, and what holds a marriage together.

Yarn Remembering the Way Home best novel for moms 2010 12 days of shopping pragmaticmom.com

Wool and the Gang have this kit to make this hat out of baby Alapca for $59 for a tie-in gift.

wool and the gang sweater kit

These are two books that my book club raved about…

Townie by Andre Dubus III

An acclaimed novelist reflects on his violent past and a lifestyle that threatened to destroy him—until he was saved by writing.

After their parents divorced in the 1970s, Andre Dubus III and his three siblings grew up with their exhausted working mother in a depressed Massachusetts mill town saturated with drugs and everyday violence. To protect himself and those he loved, Andre started pumping iron and learned to use his fists so well that he became the kind of man who could send others to the hospital with one punch, and did. Irresistibly drawn to stand up for the underdog, he was on a fast track to getting killed—or killing someone else.

Nearby, his father, an eminent author, taught on a college campus and took the kids out on Sundays. The clash of worlds between town and gown, between the hard drinking, drugging, and fighting of “townies” and the ambitions of well-fed students debating books and ideas, couldn’t have been more stark or more difficult for a son to communicate to a father. Only by finally putting pen to paper himself did young Andre come into his own, discovering the power of empathy in channeling the stories of others—and ultimately bridging the rift between his father and himself.

An unforgettable book, Townie is a riveting and profound meditation on physical violence and the failures and triumphs of love.

Caleb’s Crossing by Geradine Brooks

Once again, Geraldine Brooks takes a remarkable shard of history and brings it to vivid life. In 1665, a young man from Martha’s Vineyard became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College. Upon this slender factual scaffold, Brooks has created a luminous tale of love and faith, magic and adventure.

The narrator of Caleb’s Crossing is Bethia Mayfield, growing up in the tiny settlement of Great Harbor amid a small band of pioneers and Puritans. Restless and curious, she yearns after an education that is closed to her by her sex. As often as she can, she slips away to explore the island’s glistening beaches and observe its native Wampanoag inhabitants. At twelve, she encounters Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a tentative secret friendship that draws each into the alien world of the other. Bethia’s minister father tries to convert the Wampanoag, awakening the wrath of the tribe’s shaman, against whose magic he must test his own beliefs. One of his projects becomes the education of Caleb, and a year later, Caleb is in Cambridge, studying Latin and Greek among the colonial elite. There, Bethia finds herself reluctantly indentured as a housekeeper and can closely observe Caleb’s crossing of cultures.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen RubinThe Happiness Project 2012 Daily Calendar

Does someone need a little coaching to find more happiness? Give them a nudge with this set of book/calendar. It will change their lives!

5.  “Cozy”

Ugg Slippers, $99 for the first, $89 for the second.

To examine any of these items more closely at Amazon, please click on image of item.

The 12 Days of Shopping

I will be posting The 12 Days of Shopping jointly with Capability:Mom. Please visit her blog to see the other half of each post.

Dec 1: Make Your Own Gifts GRANOLA, Amazing Granola from Nigella Lawson versus Amazing Granola Bars from The Barefoot Contessa

 Dec 2: Kids Make Gifts CRAFT (ModPodge versus Clove Fruit)

 Dec 3: Personalized Gifts (Fancy Address Stampers versus Pretty Papers Giveaway)

 Dec 4:  Father-in-Law/Dad and Mother-in-Law/Mom

 Dec 5Tutors/Teachers

 Dec 6High Tech/Low Tech

 Dec 7Hostess/Gifts That Give Back

 Dec 8: Sanitation Engineers, Mail Carriers, Hairdresser, Delivery People, Babysitter, Cleaning People, Dog Walker/Dog Trainer, etc. (a.k.a. who else did I forget?) and Emily Post’s Etiquette on this subject.

 Dec 9Husband, Me (Our Own Wacko List); Capability:Mom Husband/Wife

 Dec 10:  Dog/Cat

 Dec 11: Quick Gifts from Whole Foods versus Gourmet Food Store

 Dec 12: ‘Cause I Am So Together,  Last Minute Home Made Gifts:  Cookies & Personalized Holiday Tags

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Great tip on the art supplies – I didn’t know about this – Thanks! I’m almost done shopping – Phew!

  2. Capability

    Love all of your suggestions, especially the books – I also like to get Kiehl’s products for my mom…a nice splurge and in a pretty gift set.

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