Our own parents are notoriously the hardest people to get gifts for. What do they want? Ask and you will be met with vague answers. “Kahit ano.” Some are more straightforward—to a fault. “Apo.” Even if they mean that jokingly, you know deep down that there’s some truth to that.
This is especially true for aging parents in their retirement years, who have the luxury of time and hence a longing to raise their grandchildren. This may be partially because, well, we, their children, have either moved out and/or are occupied with our own personal stuff.
And while that may be easier for others—ahem, married and financially stable millennials—bringing children into this world even with helpful parents to hold your hands along the way is a huge undertaking.
So, here’s a list of gifts they might actually appreciate in lieu of a grandchild.
A new hobby
Older parents have too much time on their hands, is the truth. They are likely looking for something to pour their leisurely hours into given they’ve likely spent most of their lives working. Consider enrolling them in easy but enjoyable classes, perhaps a sport they’ve once loved but fallen out of for some reason.
Nesting parents also want something to pour all their loving energy into, in your absence. The easiest fix to this is to get a family pet—if you don’t already have one. But(!) instead of buying you might want to consider adopting a dog or a cat (if they’re the type to care for either). After all, they have all the time in the world to get these little creatures reacquainted.[READ: Want to adopt a dog? Check out these 6 pet adoption organizations]
If your parents are two of the people who over the pandemic developed an inkling for plants, adding new species to their growing garden may keep them occupied. Though this means keeping a close accounting of their inventory. Remember not(!) to buy endangered plant species, though!
Having worked all these years, they might have missed out on a chance to see the world outside of our country. Treat them to a trip abroad maybe even somewhere you are not familiar with. But if like our editorial manager, who took his senior parents to Japan, you find yourself taking them to a place you know very well, make sure to adjust your itinerary to their capabilities.
Not all gifts have to be monetary or involve you doling out a fortune. Sometimes, you might find that the simple act of spending more time with your parents at home, especially if you haven’t been around that much, may also make them happy.
When all else fails, ask them again and hope this time they give a concrete answer that’s not a grandchild. Good luck with that!