How to Buy Birthday Gifts for Your In-Laws


Shopping for birthday gifts for in-laws can often be more challenging than buying them for your own parents. It’s easy to understand why this is the case. After all, if you’re like most people, you know what your own parents like very well. In-laws, however, can be a bit trickier. Even presuming to think that because you’ve spent a bit of time with them, therefore, you can now make a bold birthday gift can be wrong. Use this guide to avoid the pitfalls and select surefire birthday gifts for your in-laws.

Buy Gifts That Follow Their Hobbies

Gifts based on age or other behaviors that people do not have a deliberate choice over can be hit or miss. For example, buying a book that accidentally reminds your in-laws that they are aging is a no go area.

The safest path for gifts is to pick a gift based on a behavior that the in-law actively chooses and publicly enjoys. For example, hobbies are a good area to center your birthday gift ideas around.

If your mother-in-law loves baking, for example, or is a patron of the Girl Scouts, that gives you a safe place to shop ideas around. You could, for example, gift her a great book on baking by a celebrated chef. Or you could gift her a special edition collectible that celebrates the history of the Girl Scouts. With any luck, your tasteful gifts will earn you the good graces of your in-laws.

Gifts for In-Laws Who Are Sports Lovers

Men, in particular, tend to be lovers of team sports such as American football, but this is by no means limited to fathers-in-law only. Neither do all men love sports. Even mothers-in-law are frequently avid fans of the local sports team.

To be sure, you have to spend some time with them and see if they get excited and gather around the TV to watch the football game on game night. If you find that, say, they are a New England Patriots fan, now you can select some Patriots memorabilia for their next birthday. If they are a basketball fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder instead, you can probably safely gift them a huge OKC basketball on their birthday. They will likely appreciate your support of their favorite team.

Gifts for Music Lovers

Shopping music for the in-laws is another safe choice for their birthday. Music, however, has some pitfalls of its own since there are almost endless choices to pick. This is a double edged sword because it means that you can just as easily pick the wrong thing. A fan of pop music may like Michael Jackson, but passionately hate John Mayer. You just have no idea unless you’ve hung out with your in-laws long enough to know what they like and don’t like in terms of music.

A good way to navigate this potential problem is to ask your spouse, who is their son or daughter. That way, you learn who their favorite artists are. On their birthday, you will be ready with a gift that is sure to please.

Buying Gifts for Business People

If your in-laws are business people or highly passionate about their career, you can give them a gift that reminds them of the work they love. Be careful though, because you do not want to appear boring.

For some people, anything that reminds them of their workplace is not welcome in the leisurely setting of family time. Some businessmen, however, like to take business meetings on the golf course. They mix work with relaxation. This includes current president Trump, and many other executives, including past presidents like Obama. It’s safe to say, while your golf clubs gift might remind such in-laws of their work meetings, they associate it with the fun aspect of business networking. Such a gift would likely work well, as would a frequent fliers member pass or subscription.