Gift It: In-Laws
I got married last Fall, and, though it's weird to say it, my life is really different now than it was just one year ago. I have a husband (still feel uncomfortable saying that word so let's just pretend I didn't), we got a funny little rescue dog named Muffin, we bought a house, and my family has grown significantly: now I have in-laws.
People always roll their eyes about their in-laws, and and I think I've figured out why. All we want is for them to think we're great, right? Like... really great. There's a lot of pressure to seem as well read, perfectly groomed, politically informed, financially responsible, and genuinely caring as we assume every parent expects the person who married his/her kid to be. So, when we're around them, we wake up early enough to eat oatmeal and read the paper, we're super into tennis, we LOVE to cook, and we pretend not to answer work emails while on vacation — the best versions of ourselves, right? So exhausting. However, the more I get to know my husband's parents, the more I understand that what they actually care about is that the person who married their kid is kind, thoughtful, and open to them. With this in mind, I've come up with some seriously nice holiday gifts that will work for any in-law, regardless of their political leanings or social media preferences.
Photo Strip: Disclaimer: These are not my children. But I can guarantee that these children's grandparents want photos of them, and slightly unconventional ones are even more special. So frame that photo strip from your last trip to Six Flags or one of all of you guys from cousin Zach's wedding last summer. They'll smile every time they see it.
Vintage Family Photo... Of Them: What better way to show how much you care about them than to surprise them by framing one of your favorite shots of their fam when the kids were little? Either snag one out of an album when you visit or snap a photo of your favorite for us to print and frame — both are great! More details on how to pull this off here.
Drawing or Painting of Their House: I love this one! Your in-laws work so hard to make their home beautiful and special, and they're really proud of it. Hire an artist to draw or paint it from a photograph you take (just search "custom house painting" on Etsy) and frame it in one of our beautiful classic frames.
Map of Their Hometown: This is a really easy one! You can get these at farmers markets in pretty much any city or just buy one on Etsy. If you're crunched for time, you can even get these as downloadable digital files for us to print and frame (just search "city name map download" on Etsy).
So there you have it! Four easy and genuinely thoughtful ways to have your in-laws eating out of the palm of your hand this holiday season. If you get on their good side, they'll probably never notice your habit of Instagramming under the table during family meals.