post-off: what do you bring the in-laws-to-be?

JA Ornament

As a group, in-laws are famously difficult to shop for. It seems all I read in these days of holiday gift guides are anecdotes highlighting their fussiness as a demographic and uncanny ability to dislike items purchased for them. Without in-laws of my own, I can’t speak from personal experience, but I have enjoyed offering my services as a consult to friends and those who may or may not be dating my twin sister, and choosing the perfect thing can be a high-stakes maneuver. Glamour offers this list of 10 gifts for in-laws that highlights items that each ring in at less than $100 (and prominently features socks, scarves, slippers and a little Jonathan Adler) but I want to hear from you. What do you bring your in-laws? What has worked, and (eek!) hasn’t? –Sarah C.

From our partners

Surprisingly, my affluent in-laws request every year that I bring them my homemade trail mix when we come for Christmas. In fact this Thanksgiving, they sent the decorative jar, that I brought the trail mix in the first year, home with us so I wouldn’t forget.

I am very fortunate that my in-laws are wonderful and adore me. So, I think anything I bought them would be well received.

I’ve found over the years that clothes, jewelry and kitchen wares have always delighted my mother-in-law and hobby oriented or charitable giving gift always get the most enthusiastic response from my father-in-law.

Erin M

Before they officially became my future in-laws, last year for the holidays I had a wreath made of vineyard grape vines sent to them, from Napa. I like they liked the fact that they had a little bit of California, where we live, in their home in Maine. It is also something that can be displayed year round, and not just a holiday thing. I am not sure how to top it this year, now that they actually are future in-laws.

Christina S.

When I first came home with my now-husband, I wanted to bring his parents a small gift. They are obsessed with all things the state where they live, so I found this really unique basket, shaped like the state, that folds down into a trivet. Sounds odd, but it was perfect for their country home. Inside I filled it with my favorite (not cheap) cookies from a local baker.

When I gave it to them, they put it aside and didn’t say much. At the end of the visit, they handed the cookies back to me in a bag and said they didn’t want to take my “fancy cookies,” and the trivet to this day is shoved in a drawer in their house, never used.

Needless to say, my husband handles the gift purchasing for them now!


Ultra gourmet local chocolates and snazzy wine worked for me. But I only give things people can use, not stuff that can clutter up your house.


My bf and I have been together a long time so I sometimes refer to his parents as my “non-in-laws.” They are the kind of people who manage to look very happy about whatever you might gift them for Christmas–luckily for me. This year I got each of them a gift plus handmade dog hats from Etsy. They have three chihuahuas and like to dress them up for Christmas so I think they will get a kick out of them. I know my cats would definitely NOT welcome hats but dogs are different.

I always go handmade – one year, I did homemade wine glass charms, another year, I brought back handmade Christmas ornaments from a trip to Prague – this year, I made my own ornaments and will also gift them with homemade yummy biscotti and wine. I’m very lucky that I have such amazing, grateful future in-laws who value quality time and good food and drink over anything material.