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Buying gifts for your own parents is sometimes easier than it seems

It’s the holidays again, and if you’re anything like me, you have some people on your list you are at a complete loss for in the way of gifts. You guessed it — I’m talking about our parents.

Every year I go through the same thing. What do I get my parents and my in-laws for gifts? People who are in their 60s and 70s either have everything they want, or they have the ability to go get it themselves. It’s not like your children who are flipping over Fingerlings and Fortnite.

And let me guess — you get them a framed picture of your children, or maybe a calendar, every year. Do you ever worry that it gets old? My parents always grimace when they unwrap yet another photo of the kids — I mean, they already have the school photos, and the Halloween photos, and the family gathered around the turkey photos.

So why not switch it up? What else can you give the people who raised you and love on your kids?

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Give them the gift of technology. An Amazon Echo or Google Home is a great gift for anyone, but especially aging parents who can easily ask for a weather report, a recipe, or music from Three Dog Night. Similarly, an activity tracking watch can be great motivation for them to get their steps in and keep moving throughout the day. If your parents are the type who still love that framed photo, the internet is full of digital frames that can rotate photos and pull them straight from the cloud.

If your parents are anything like mine, they love watching the great outdoors from their porch. A bird feeder can be a beautiful gift, and also something the grandkids can make out of teacups or even a milk jug. A set of night vision binoculars could also be handy to catch the deer and other night critters that might roam through their yard at night. If your parents and your children all enjoy a bit of whimsy, why not set them a fairy garden set up? They can enjoy putting everything in the right spot and watching for the fairies to come and go.

How about the gift of time? Much like you and your children, your parents aren’t going to remember what you got them from year to year. Things are things. Why not give them the gift of time? If they’re local, get them a joint membership to the zoo or a favorite museum. If they’re not local, you can give them tickets for the movies or another event you can do when you’re together. Remember making coupon books for your mom when you were little? Do that in a grown up way. Dinner that’s your treat, a shopping trip, going for manicures, seeing a concert together. There are so many things you can give that are an investment of time, which is what all parents and grandparents want the most.

Regardless of what’s under the tree this year, remember to give some extra love to your parents and grandparents this holidays season. Appreciate them and it will teach your children to appreciate you when you’re older.