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Perfect presents for tricky parents

Parents can be notoriously hard to buy for, especially when they say they don’t want anything. Here's a few ideas for gifts for your parents this year.

Gifts for parents can be hard to find

Christmas is the perfect time to thank your parents for the help they’ve given you over the year – whether it be financial support, looking after your kids, or just some DIY help around the house.

You what to get them something they’ll treasure; something that’s a bit more original than the same old wine and chocolates gift. But you’re stuck for ideas that they’ll love and that don’t cost a fortune.

Have no fear – we’ve got the lowdown on the perfect presents for tricky parents, whatever they’re into and no matter your budget.

1. Gifts for lovers of the arts

Gifts for parents theatre tickets

Theatre tickets

Going to the theatre is a real treat. So get them tickets to see a show you know they’ll love. If you’d rather let them choose when they go and what they see, you can buy theatre vouchers that can be used at theatres around the country.

Cinema tickets

If they’re not fans of the theatre, how about an annual membership to their local cinema? If you can’t stretch to membership, you can buy a voucher that covers their ticket and a large popcorn!

2. Gifts for food lovers

Gifts for parents - food hampers

Afternoon tea

Afternoon tea at a posh hotel is a luxurious gift that almost anyone would love to receive. And it might be more affordable than you think. Websites like BuyAGift and Virgin Experience Days do some great deals on afternoon tea experiences, with various locations around the country.

A meal out

Do they have a favourite restaurant? Or is there a place they’ve been wanting to try but have never had the occasion to go? Most restaurants do vouchers these days, so treat them to a meal out.

A hamper

Most supermarkets and department stores sell hampers filled with a selection of sweet and savoury treats, as well as alcoholic beverages. You can get all different kinds of hampers to suit all tastes. But why not add a personal touch by creating your own hamper and filling it with their favourite bits? You can even get a hamper making kit, which comes with cellophane, shredding, and a bow – so all you need to do is fill it.

3. Gifts for lovers of alcohol

Gifts for parents - alcohol

Tasting experiences

If they like to think of themselves as a connoisseur of their favourite tipple – be it wine, beer or gin – treat them to a tasting experience. Again, websites like BuyAGift and Virgin Experience Days offer experiences at various locations around the country.

Personalised glass

There’ll be no arguments over whose glass is whose at the dinner table with a personalised wine glass, beer glass or gin glass. You can get their name and a message engraved for a personal touch they’re sure to love.


They’ll never have to worry about running out of their favourite alcoholic beverage again with a monthly subscription. There are lots of different options available and you can cancel it at any time.

4. Gifts for the explorers

Gifts for parents - london eye

National Trust membership

This is a great gift for those who love a bit of historic culture, or even just a walk in the countryside. National Trust membership gives them access to over 500 places. You can get individual membership, joint membership and even family membership.

Overnight hotel stay

Is there somewhere in the UK that they’ve always wanted to visit but have never had the chance? Have you visited somewhere that you know they’d love too? Book them a hotel stay so they can explore, or give them hotel stay experience and let them choose where to go.

Tickets to the London Eye

It’s been a landmark on the Southbank for decades, but have they ever been on it? Book tickets for them to see the stunning views across London and add on optional extras like a champagne experience or a river cruise.

5. Gifts for the ones who like to be pampered

gifts for parents - pampering gifts

Spa day

A spa day is the ultimate gift for those who love to relax and deserve to be pampered. BuyAGift and Virgin Experience Days offer a range of packages to suit all budgets, with various locations around the country.

Voucher for a beauty treatment

Show them you care with a voucher for a beauty treatment. They could get a manicure, have a facial or get a relaxing massage. After all, they deserve a bit of pampering.

6. Gifts for the sporting mad

Gifts for parents - stadium tour

A stadium tour

Gift them a visit to their favourite team’s football stadium so they can take a behind-the-scenes tour and learn all about the goings on off the pitch. Websites like BuyAGift and Virgin Experience Days offer some great deals.


Whether they’re a football fan, golf groupie or equestrian enthusiast, you’re sure to be able to pick up some merchandise related to their favourite sport or team.

7. Gifts for the craft lovers

gifts for parents crafting

Make your own food & drink

If they enjoy beer, cheese or gin, for example, you can get them a DIY kit, so they can make their own at home. Who knows, it might become a new hobby?

DIY craft kits

Similar to the idea above, you can make just about anything at home with the right equipment these days. If they love getting creative, buy them a craft kit so they can make their own wares. From candles and lip balms to cross-stitch and stationery – there are plenty of crafts to try. And they may even pick up a new skill?!

8. Gifts for the photo fanatics

Gifts for parents photo gifts

Digital photo frame

Bring their photo collection bang up to date with a digital photo frame. It means they can have all their favourite photos in one place, without having to trawl through endless old photo albums.


Have you got loads of family photos on your phone that you keep meaning to print? A photobook is the perfect present to bring all those memories together in one book, and it’s super-simple to make online.

Photo blanket

Similarly, a photo blanket is a lovely gift for a hard-to-buy-for parent, especially one who’s on their own. They can snuggle up with the whole family each night and keep you close when you might be miles apart.

9. For the ones who love a personal touch

Personalised pottery gifts

Personalised pottery

There are lots of places that offer pottery painting. So take your little one and get them to jazz up a flowerpot or mug. If you’re feeling creative, you could paint something yourself. It makes a lovely gift that they can use again and again.

Personalised jigsaw puzzle

If they love a good jigsaw puzzle but are bored of doing the same ones over and over again, get a favourite family photo made into a jigsaw. It’s a unique gift that will keep them busy for hours.


Got a new baby in the family? Get some hand or footprints made of your little one and put them in a frame for a lovely, personal gift.

10. Subscription gifts

Magazine subscriptions

A monthly subscription of their choice

A subscription is something they can look forward to each month – it’s the gift that keeps on giving! There are all sorts of subscriptions you can sign them up to – from alcohol (mentioned above) to flowers, magazines and chocolate.

Here are our favourite options;

  • Magazines - perfect for those with hobbies such as golf, football, gardening or baking!

  • Flowers - receiving fresh flowers every few weeks is the gift that just keeps giving

  • Plants - there are some services like Bloombox who offer this service, a bit like giving fresh flowers but they last that little bit longer (hopefully!)

  • Socks - sounds odd, but getting a new pair of socks every now and then is pretty handy.

  • Beauty - monthly beauty boxes with a selection of pampering treats

  • Bread - BakedIn offer a box of bread ingredients to make different bread every month

  • Alcohol - from wine to gin there are a lot of different options out there

  • Toilet paper - sounds like a bum deal, but something fun like 'Who gives a crap' would be a very useful gift for the whole year

  • Coffee - so many artisan coffee companies now offer subscriptions to their beans or ground coffee.


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