Holiday Gifting

12 Holiday Gift Ideas For Your Hard-To-Shop-For In-Laws

They’re guaranteed to love these.

Originally Published: 

Choosing holiday presents for your in-laws can be tough, especially when it seems like your in-laws don't need anything or when you just don't know their taste as well as you know your own parents'. But it is possible to find a gift that is lovely, useful and thoughtful for your in-laws without shelling out big bucks. We've dug into the deep corners of the internet to find these gifts for your in-laws that won't blow your Christmas budget, so you can stop biting your nails as you wait for your credit card bill to arrive.

From imported olive oil for foodie in-laws to a fun seed slingshot for the gardening obsessed, one of the most important aspects in choosing a present for anyone is to think about what their hobbies and interests are and let that give you direction. Even if a gift is small or inexpensive, it can be a huge hit if it shows that you put some thought about what they might enjoy. My mother-in-law is notoriously difficult to shop for, but small fancy presents that she wouldn't otherwise buy herself, like fragrant room spray or a pretty bottle opener, are always well-received.

When in doubt, look to the grandkids to give a personalized touch to a present for your in-laws. What grandparent doesn't want more photos of their grandkids to gaze at throughout the year?!

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A Place To Put Their Drink

On the surface, a set of coasters may seem like a pretty lame Christmas gift for your in-laws, but that’s only if you go for something generic and boring. Instead, look for a more modern and unique design that will fit in well with their home’s aesthetic. These coasters by MadeByRheal on Etsy are a great example. They are made from hand-poured concrete and feature metallic gold details to style them up a bit as well as a cork bottom to ensure they don’t scratch up any tables or other surfaces. Each set is made to order and will definitely add some style to your in-law’s house.


A Cozy Blanket

Who doesn’t love a warm, fuzzy blanket in the wintertime (or anytime, really)? Throw blankets make for excellent gifts, especially if you take some time to find one that’s made from a high-quality fabric, sized right, and has a design and/or color scheme that works with your in-law’s style. There are so many options out there, from weighted blankets, to really expensive cashmere blankets, to soft and furry throws, so which one you decide is best for your in-laws is up to you. Just remember to think about their lifestyle when picking it out, for instance, if they have pets that shed a lot then they may want a blanket they can toss into the washer and dryer regularly, so something that needs to be dry cleaned wouldn’t be a great fit.


Smart Home Tech

If your in-laws are tech savvy, then some form of smart home technology may be a great gift option for them. There are so many different things out there from thermometers, smoke detectors, hubs with video screens, speakers, doorbells, garage door openers, lights, and more. This Google hub acts as a smart speaker, can make video calls, will sync with your Google calendar and reminders, and more. I have this in my kitchen, and it’s great for making grocery lists, checking the weather, asking questions, playing music, and basically making my life just a little easier in general.


Something For The Next Family Game Night

As fun as family game night is, board and card games can get kind of stale after a while, so a few new options to add to their collection would make for a great gift for your in-laws. What you choose depends entirely on what they like and their personalities (ie: don’t get Cards Against Humanity for super conservative in-laws). This game is certainly worth adding to the game night rotation, if for no other reason than because it is sure to have you all laughing... and feeling old when you are forced to guess what all of these acronyms mean.


An Assortment Of Fine (& Delicious) Chocoloates

Sure, some might call chocolate an easy-out kind of Christmas gift, but the reason it’s so easy is because most people love the sweet treat, so you can be fairly confident the recipient will be happy with their present. Since this is a gift for your in-laws, though, consider taking things up a notch and getting them an assortment of gourmet options. There are plenty of delightful options that you can order online, like this one, or support a local business by stopping in to create a custom collection. If you don’t know for sure what your in-laws like, though, you may want to keep the pieces simple so that they enjoy them.


A Streaming Subscription

This is an especially fantastic Christmas gift for your in-laws if they’re retired, because chances are high they spend a bit of time watching TV and movies. You probably already know that there are a lot of platforms out there, whether they want to watch sports, movies, live TV, originals, or a mix of it all. Most platforms give you the option to either pay a monthly subscription fee or pay for a year up front, so do whatever works best for your budget. Also, not only will your in-laws be excited for some free TV, but you will have access to the platform so it’s a little gift for yourself, too.


Meaningful Custom Art

Assuming your in-laws are not pack rats with a house full of clutter, a piece of custom art would make for a fantastic present. The options here are pretty much endless, too. This picture is a great example, it’s stylish, meaningful, and something that would work in any room in the house. Other options include a map of somewhere that’s special to them, a matted portrait of them with their grandkids, or framed sheet music to one of their favorite songs. Whatever it is you decide to do, just remember to make sure it fits in with the rest of their decor style, otherwise it may never get hung up in the house.


Pretty Holiday Decor

It’s always fun to add new pieces to your collection of holiday decor, so pick something up for your in-laws while you’re out shopping for yourself. When you’re looking around, consider whether or not they have some kind of theme within their aesthetic (retro, certain colors, farmhouse-style, etc.) and choose something based on that. Some kind of holiday decor is an especially great gift idea if you are celebrating with the in-laws early, because then they can enjoy the piece throughout the rest of the season before packing it up until next year. Or, you can opt for something like this snow globe that works year-round in a home with the right decor style.


A Custom Photo Puzzle

So many photo and print companies can create a custom puzzle with photos you provide, so you can have one made for your in-laws for a gift that is meaningful and a fun activity. This puzzle from Minted has three piece-number options, so you can make it super easy for them to do with younger grandkids, or give them a puzzle with more than 200 pieces for a little bit more of a challenge. Either way, if your in-laws seem to already have everything they could ever need, then something like this would definitely give them a smile (especially if it features pictures of them with the grandkids).


Some Craft Coffee

My in-laws drink more cups of coffee in a given day than I ever thought was humanly possible, so we often gift them with coffee beans or grounds from one of our local shops so that they can mix something high-quality in with the bulk coffee they usually drink. If you don’t have anywhere nearby that sells good coffee, then consider something like this online. With this pack, your in-laws will get three different bags of coffee to try, each of which is made with Vietnamese coffee beans that are shipped to the company’s New York location straight from the farmers in Vietnam.


A Quick & Easy Meal

You already know by now how awesome air fryers are, so if your in-laws don’t already have one of their own, Christmas is a great excuse to get one for them. The best fit for them depends on how they cook. Do they need something that will cook a lot at once? Would they prefer one that offers a variety of ways to prepare the food? Does it need to be easy to use? If you’re looking for a suggestion, I have this two-basket air fryer by Ninja and absolutely love it because I can cook something for my husband and myself on one side and a pile of chicken nuggets for my two kids on the other, and it’s smart enough to know how to cook each side so that they’re done at the same time for a family dinner.


Beautiful Barware

For the in-laws that enjoy a nightcap (or a day drink, I’m not here to judge), consider gifting them with some really pretty barware. This decanter, for example, is unique, beautiful, and will look significantly better sitting out on a table than a bottle of liquor would. If they aren’t in need of a decanter, then you always have the option of some stemless wine glasses, a stylish ice bucket, some pretty champagne flutes, whiskey glasses, or even a statement bar cart. It’s a gift they will love, plus the easy access means you can pour yourself a drink to relax any time you go to visit.

Shopping for Christmas gifts for your in-laws doesn’t have to be stressful, so stop putting so much pressure on yourself to get it right. As long as the gift fits their style in some way, whether it’s their decor or their sentimental style, your gift will be very much appreciated.