Unless you’re Leslie Knope, you might struggle with gift-giving. Even the most thoughtful and observant people can run out of ideas. Every Spring, my mind goes blank when I think about gifts for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. My parents don’t need any more “stuff,” and whatever they do want, they can just buy themselves.
Lately, I have given up trying to buy them every golf accessory imaginable and think outside the box. So, with that in mind, I present five unique Mother’s and Father’s Day gift ideas for older parents.
*Of course, you might not be able to use all of these this year. Stay inside and stay safe!
1. Dinner at a trendy restaurant
If your parents are like mine, they don’t go out much, and when they do, it’s to the nearest chain restaurants to their house. Or if you’re my father-in-law, it’s to the same neighborhood “spot” that is frequented on the same night, by the same people, telling the same stories. The thought of going out downtown isn’t the first thing to come to mind.
The growth of Buffalo is no secret anymore (despite the pleas of a certain Main St. mural to the contrary). New restaurants are popping up all the time and not just in hotspots like Allentown, Elmwood or Chippewa. New neighborhoods are coming alive like never before, such as Larkinville, Chandler St, the Westside and yes, even in the heart of downtown!
Break up their routine a bit and treat them to a night out at a place they would have never chosen. Drive them through different city streets and let them be a tourist in their own backyard.
2. Toast to good health!
Similar to the local restaurant scene, the brewery/winery landscape has exploded in the last few years. The city is overflowing with lots of great places to try. The beer scene has significantly evolved over the past decade. We have an embarrassment of skilled brewers that have opened up taprooms not only in the city but in the suburbs and even the Southern Tier. Wine tours always remain a popular option for groups in either the Finger Lakes or Niagara region and you’ll be amazed at the cocktails created by the most talented bartenders around.
There’s no doubt you’ve seen various pedal tours around city streets, and you may have even participated yourself. Well, instead of planning a night out with your friends, grab your parents, aunts, uncles, family friends and make the day about them! Or take to the water on a pedal boat, guided river tour, or even a floating tiki bar!
3. A unique way to relive the past
Your parents are always telling you that you grew up too fast. If you have any children of your own, you can identify with that feeling. There’s a great way to say “Happy Mother’s or Father’s Day” than by showing them just how much you’ve grown…with a twist.
Photo recreation has gone viral as groups of siblings are finding the strangest or funniest photos from their youth and bringing them back to life. It’s a bonus if you can match your outfit to the odd fashion trends of the ‘90s. This may be a silly idea, but it’s definitely one that will touch your mom or dad’s heart.
4. Snap a candid moment
“Pictures capture moments in time,” says Brendan Fraser in a 2002 episode of Scrubs. “When they’re posed, they’re not real. You know, I hate that whole, like, [big fake smile] thing.” In this episode, Fraser’s character, Ben, goes around taking candid photos of the staff working at Sacred Heart hospital, showing the main characters with their guard down.
How can a posed photo truly be memorable when often the moments behind them… aren’t? Sure, we can look through a stack of old pictures and remember loved ones who have passed or relive an event that is etched permanently into our brain, but there is something to be said for capturing a candid moment as it was.
Next time you’re at a family event, try and capture some heartwarming moments between your parents and their grandchildren, an old friend or someone they haven’t seen in a while. The look in their eyes will say more than any staged moment could.
5. Splurge on their hobbies & interests
Now that your mom and dad are older, perhaps even retired, they have more time to spend on their hobbies. Are they thinking about trying something they’ve never done before? Art? Learning a new language? Travel? We might be familiar with the concept of “Treat Yo’ Self,” but they might not be.
Do your parents golf the same old public course every summer? Reserve them a tee time at a fancy country club. Does mom still cook in the same old pots and pans that you remember as a child? Does dad use the family grill that holds more rust than charcoal? Grab them some new cookware or unique ingredients like fine olive oils or premium cuts of meat. Spend the money to get them something that they might not otherwise think is worth it.
It’s the thought that counts
If you’re ok with buying variations of a theme, year in and year out every Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, that’s ok. If you want to go above and beyond to say, “thank you,” hopefully this will spark an idea that mom or dad will love for years to come. Now that I am a parent myself, I can understand that it’s about spending time with your children, rather than what they get you. Your folks will appreciate the gesture, no matter what.