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Buying a gift for your in-laws is a bit like playing darts: Even if you give it your best, you can still miss the mark. Parents, after all, are notoriously difficult to shop for. And when they’re not technically even your own mom and dad, deciphering what they actually want can be all the more of a feat. Thankfully, unlike darts, no one’s keeping score here. There are, indeed, a few useful tips to keep in mind when coming up with ideas for your in-laws that are sure to be a hit.
A good place to begin is to think about what they already own and likely don’t need more of (looking at you, home decor and kitchenware). You should also take their interests and budding curiosities into consideration, and see if that can be shifted into a gift. Have an in-law who’s eager to know what this pickleball craze is all about? Get them a set of stylish paddles. See your in-law brushing up on great literature? Send them a curated set of the best titles. Or if all else fails, items like chocolate and cheese are sure to win them over. Ahead, 20 gifts for in-laws that will impress and delight.
Best Gift for Bookworms
For in-laws that love to read, a stack of curated titles is a real treat. This set from Juniper Books is especially great for someone that enjoys the works of some of the foremost female writers of the 20th century: Joan Didion, Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Penelope Fitzgerald and Virginia Woolf. It features beautiful custom jackets that’ll take pride of place on any shelf.
Best Gift for Francophiles
We know what you’re thinking: a candle, how original. But this isn’t just any candle: It comes from a Parisian house that dates back to 1643. This specific scent is formulated to emulate the fragrance of the elaborate flooring in Château de Versailles’s iconic Hall of Mirrors. How’s that for a backstory?
Best Gift for Festive Zodiac Fans
If your in-laws have been known to dabble in a horoscope reading or two, these hand-painted ornaments featuring each of the 12 signs is a thoughtful idea. Plus, they’ll use it each year, making it a long-lasting symbol of your shared love of astrology (and each other, of course).
The award-winning Bootleg Series from Heaven’s Door is an annual collection of rare and unreleased whiskeys, each presented in a handmade ceramic bottle adorned with paintings by co-founder Bob Dylan inside a numbered leather journal. The 2022 release debuts with an 11-Year-Old Wheated Bourbon finished in Islay Scotch Casks (cask strength, 111 proof).
Best Gift for Design Buffs
Politicians, diplomats, royalty, Hollywood A-listers, Nobel Prize winners: Time magazine picks renowned personalities to grace its covers. But in 1997, something else garnered the honor. It was Lexon Design’s Tykho radio and Bluetooth speaker, the brainchild of celebrated product designer Marc Berthier, with the cover line “The Rebirth of Design.” As the first design object to front the publication, it should go without saying that the quality is up to snuff. It’s splash proof, easy to recharge and offers incredibly sound quality.
Best Gift for Meat Lovers
Do visits to your in-laws typically include an extravagant meal? Return the favor with this gift box that includes a medium tomahawk ribeye and hand-crafted, small-batch butter. It serves two people, so if you want to join in on the feast, consider purchasing a second.
Best Gift for Seafood Fanatics
Tinned seafood is no doubt having a moment in the States right now. So, if your in-laws are fellow fish lovers, this gift set is a top-notch pick. It comes with 11 varieties, all in a handsome wooden box.
Best Gift for Hosts
The best gifts are ones that keep on giving, which is why a subscription that will remind them of your thoughtfulness throughout the year is sure to win you points. This package from Creekside Farms kicks off each season with a fresh wreath, including eucalyptus for spring and lavender for summer. It’s great for those who throw dinner parties throughout the year.
Best Gift for Game Lovers
Is there anything better than a leisurely game of backgammon? When it’s with this elegant set, the answer is decidedly no. The board is crafted in leather and lined in smooth velvet, with two resin dice, leather-bound shakers and metal counters.
Best Gift for Magpies
Gifting jewelry is always a great idea. And if you need to be pointed in the right direction, look no further than the Internal Compass necklace from Foundrae. Beloved in fashion circles, the brand sources symbols that reflect strength, karma, protection, wholeness, passion and resilience.
Best Gift for Curious Campers
For the in-laws who love the great outdoors or are curious to test the waters on a camping trip in the new year, gift them this easy-to-assemble A-frame tent. The colors are customizable, and the tent doubles as a duffle that can be worn as a backpack.
Best Gift for Pickleball Hobbyists
It’s highly likely your in-laws have already played a game or two of pickleball by now, and a customized paddle set feels like a fun way to encourage this new hobby. It also comes with one box of pickleballs and a court bag.
Best Gift for Buongustaios
For those that grew up watching the Food Network in the early aughts, Giada De Laurentiis needs no introduction. Her cooking show, Everyday Italian, was a must-watch for those looking for the no-fuss recipes from disparate regions from Italy—the kinds of dishes grounded in authenticity. Recently, De Laurentiis has parlayed all this knowledge into Giadzy, a new e-commerce site that offers a curated selection of the cured meats, sauces, spices, pasta and just about everything needed to create a delectable feast—all them sourced from small family-owned businesses. And if you really want to give your in-laws something that’s essential in Italian cooking, this four-piece set of olive oil, created by Galateo & Friends, is the way to go.
Best Gift for Pet Parents
For the empty nesters who have replaced their kids with pets, a thoughtful dog coat is sure to please your in-laws. This Barbour pick comes in a traditional quilted design and has teddy-fleece lining with the brand’s signature corduroy collar.
Best Gift for Adventurous Cooks
This kit celebrates regional Indian cuisine and is curated by chef Chintan Pandya of Unapologetic Foods. He was the first Indian chef to win the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: New York State, and his pantry essentials are sure to spark inspiration with in-laws who love to cook.
Best Gift for Epistemophiles
For in-laws with a thirst for knowledge, this annual subscription (one account, two devices) will give them access to MasterClass’s catalog of topics, ranging from mathematical thinking with Terrence Tao, to writing thrillers with Dan Brown to the power of resilience with Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Best Gift for the Sweet-Toothed
When all else fails, a delicious box of seasonal chocolates is always a good idea. This holiday collection is a collaboration with Dusen Dusen (known for their kaleidoscopic patterns and vibrant colors). They’ll sink their teeth into chocolate flavors like sticky toffee pudding, creamy chestnut and even eggnog.
Best Gift for Oenophiles
The brainchild of two of the country’s leading sommeliers, Cote’s Wine Club is the perfect gift for discerning drinkers. Each month, your in-laws will receive a shipment of three bottles, handpicked by Victoria James and Mia Van de Water. Plus, they’ll enjoy a membership card for 10 percent off bottles at Cote + Convive, an exclusive booklet with recipes, stories and pairing ideas from the growers and priority access to events and tastings.
Best Gift for Patio Dwellers
If your in-laws spend the majority of their leisurely hours on the patio, consider gifting them a standalone chiminea to make cold evenings a bit more cozy. This pick is made from a single piece of weathering steel and develops a stable, rust-like finish when it’s exposed to the elements.
Best Gift for the Health-Conscious
Good health is priceless, and a gift that signals you care about their wellbeing is sure to go over like gangbusters. This discreet ring does everything from monitoring sleep, activity levels, temperature trend and heart rate.
Best Gift for Loungers
While a robe sits squarely within the “predictable gifts” category, it’s there for a reason—they’re comfortable and make exiting a warm shower less of a challenge. This waffled pick is lightweight and softly textured, making each day feel like spa day.
Best Gift for Stylish Showers
Taking a shower should be a calming, rejuvenating and cleansing experience—and much of this is the result of the type of soap used. Your in-laws need something that’ll remove all the gunk accumulated throughout the day without leaving their body completely dry. A great scent also goes a long way. This is the beauty of all-natural soaps, and this one from Duo NYC—made of eucalyptus essential oils, coconut oil, avocado oil, lye, tea tree and, of course, charcoal—hits all the targets.
Best Gift for Fruit Preserve Fans
If you’re looking to give your in-laws the most splendid gift, book them a stay at Adare Manor, Ireland’s premier hotel and golf course. Its manicured grounds and stately rooms are certainly a sight to behold. But if you’re in the market for something much more immediate, the five-star destination also offers a box of delicious preserves, including marmalade, lemon curd, fig, apple chutney and strawberry and champagne jam—all which are sourced and made on the lush estate.
Best Gift for Intrepid Travelers
There’s never been a better time to explore far-flung corners of the globe, so if your in-laws have been itching to travel, gift them a luxurious, guide to Egypt. There, they’ll discover the great pyramids of Giza, cruise up the Nile to visit King Tut’s tomb and walk the back streets of Old Islamic Cairo.
Best Gift for Bathers
Give the gift of relaxation with this one-of-a-kind wooden bath tray. It rests across the tub and is handmade from milled eucalyptus trees that were dried for five years. While you’re at it, toss in bath salts, a candle and a book to ensure it’s their best soak yet.