Who in your family is the hardest to shop for at Christmas? Finding gifts for my parents is challenging. My mother is 73, my father is 83, and neither one of them want anything. A lot of senior citizens feel that way. By that age, they don’t care about amassing possessions anymore. They really just want time with loved ones. A visit from their grandsons is the best Christmas gift I can deliver.
Speaking of my parents’ grandchildren, finding gifts for them is even harder. My sons are 18 and 16. Christmas was much easier when they were little. Ten years ago, a single trip to Toys ‘R’ Us in mid-December was all it took and every present opened was a fun surprise. Now the only surprises on Christmas morning are what the boys buy for me and Sara. She and I never ask for anything. It seems that we have entered the phase of not needing or wanting much, except for time with our family.
On the surface, Christmas for teenagers seems like it should be simple. They need money for clothes, shoes, food, entertainment and transportation. While Sara and I usually give the boys some cash and gift cards, but we also get them a couple of things that we can actually wrap and put under the tree. I don’t care who you are, it’s still fun to tear a little paper on Christmas morning. But for the most part, teens and young adults have very specific preferences so shopping for them can be difficult.
In a survey of people born during the 1980s and ’90s, a.k.a. Millennials, Business Insider found that personal tastes are very important. They prefer to pick out their own clothing and kitchen gadgets. However, they don’t like gift cards because it indicates a lack of effort and creativity. I’m finding that to be true with my sons. Gift cards have lost some of their luster. If only they were still into LEGO.
What Sara and I do now is probably how a lot of parents of teens handle Christmas presents: just ask them what they would like. Because it doesn’t matter that it won’t be a surprise. It’s better to give them something they can and will want to use. And because my parents are right. The best gift is the time we get to spend together. That’s the real challenge when your kids grow up.