Staying with SO's parents for Christmas, what gift to bring??

Michiyo-Fir

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#1
We've just decided that I'm going to be staying with my boyfriend's mom's family for a week around Christmas. They live 5000 km away and I've never met them yet!

They're very kindly having me over for a week, what kind of gifts can I bring to thank them for having me??

I did buy everyone in the family small Christmas presents already, this is more of a general thanks for having me gift.

I thought of alcohol but his mom doesn't drink at all. Any suggestions?
 

eddieq

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#2
Cheese/crackers basket? Do you bake? Pies? Cheesecake?

Unconventional, but you'll be staying a week. Practical consumables like TP, towels, coffee, etc. We do that when we stay at my in-laws for extended stays over holidays, but we've been married 20 years and I'm not trying to impress them anymore :D
 

Michiyo-Fir

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#3
Thanks for the suggestions!

I do bake some but his mom is one of the best home cooks I know. Plus I will be traveling 7 hours by plane to get to her so bringing food that's not chocolate or biscuits or something is a little unfeasible.

I also don't want to barge into her kitchen and start cooking :lol-sign:

I know they're all coffee drinkers (unlike our family, no one drinks coffee) and I will be getting there from visiting my family in the UK, maybe I can try bringing some fancy coffee beans? I don't know what kind of coffee machine she has though :/ I hope it's not a Keurig type.
 

meepitsmeagan

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#4
Do they like movies or specific tv shows? You could treat them to dinner. You could buy them a gift card. If they like to read, get them a few books. Get them a massage. Buy her flowers. Treat them to a date night. Get a sentimental ornament.

And a thank you note. :)
 

Michiyo-Fir

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#5
Do they like movies or specific tv shows? You could treat them to dinner. You could buy them a gift card. If they like to read, get them a few books. Get them a massage. Buy her flowers. Treat them to a date night. Get a sentimental ornament.

And a thank you note. :)
I'm not sure what movies/TV shows she likes :( Also she's French so it's hard for me to buy her books. I know she loves to cook and I wanted to buy some cook books but bf says she has a whole shelf full.

I wanted to take her and the family out for dinner but they live in a semi-rural place and the nearest restaurant is 45 minutes drive into the closest town. According to my boyfriend, with the number of people there, it's going to be hard to coordinate everyone to get to the restaurant.

I couldn't buy a gift card either because I didn't know what stores are around their place. I've been told there's not that many stores, for example, the closest grocery store is 30 min away. So I wouldn't be able to get a mall gift card :(

This is really hard!
 

Michiyo-Fir

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#7
They definitely have internet, I will keep that in mind.

I did hear his mom is not good with technology and all my bf's siblings live 5+ hours away so I don't know if she orders stuff by herself online. I will have to ask.
 

Michiyo-Fir

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#9
He said he would probably give cookies and nice chocolates and things like that but he already bought like 5 boxes for everyone to snack on for Christmas!

He also keeps telling me that she likes having all of us around and I don't need to bring much but I feel like I really need to because she's going to be housing and feeding us for a week, including picking me up at the airport despite their terrible snow conditions and weather (-30C)!

Since I'm in Europe right before getting there, I think I can buy some specialty items from the UK? Maybe some fancy jams or spreads? I thought tea was a great idea since London has some awesome tea producers from the 18th and 19th century but she doesn't drink tea!!

My current thoughts are
- tea (maybe bf's siblings and SOs will drink it)
- jam
- coffee beans
- Christmas crackers (the ones you pull, not eat) for the family?

I'm also not sure how much I should spend since I'm staying so long. What do you guys think? $50? $75? $100?
 

eddieq

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#10
Fallback to a pretty candle or diffuser for a "House gift". You don't need to bring something huge, just thoughtful. I agree that the SO needs to step up and help. Maybe he knows her favorite author or artist and you can get something by one of them.
 

Beanie

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#11
- Christmas crackers (the ones you pull, not eat) for the family?
I actually really love this idea. It's fun and if his mom is anything like my mom, or my grandma, she will really enjoy seeing the family have fun and "play" together.
 

Michiyo-Fir

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#12
I actually really love this idea. It's fun and if his mom is anything like my mom, or my grandma, she will really enjoy seeing the family have fun and "play" together.
I didn't think of it that way! I do know his mom LOVES to make the family play silly games like walking around with an egg on a spoon being held in the mouth or dressing up as characters so that might be good!

Is it a big thing to do Christmas crackers in North America? We always do it every year in the UK, but I don't actually know if people do that here. My hope is that she doesn't get them so I can. It would be a bit redundant if she bought some and then I bought them again.
 

Dekka

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#14
I would agree with some candy or something fun and UK specific would be good. That and some Christmas crackers. Fun all round :)
 

Fran27

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#15
No I've never heard of Christmas crackers until I read about it on myfitnesspal last year lol (and saw them in Doctor Who).
 

noludoru

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#16
This is kind of an easy, no brainer suggestion - it's also free. It sounds like you're having trouble thinking of enough things they would like.

Be helpful. Make the bed every morning, so his mom sees a clean room. Keep all your stuff in one spot. Ask where to hang your coat and do it without prompting. Ask where to put your shoes. Offer her help in the kitchen. Start clearing away dishes and putting the house back together after meals without being asked. Things like that.

The BF, our friend Crystal, and I were invited over to our friend's mom's thanksgiving this year. Crystal and I helped with the cooking and did almost all the cleanup so his parents could relax after dinner and our friends' siblings could manage their kids. We were so happy to be invited, and even though we brought wine and pie and lasagna, we wanted to show them how grateful we were to be invited. They were super happy and specifically invited us back for Christmas and for Thanksgiving next year. :)
 

amberdyan

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#17
I totally agree with thrilling around the house.

The first time I stayed with my SO's family I brought stuff to make ice cream Sundaes for everyone (her dads fav) and we had late night ice cream. It was a good bonding experience and is a tradition now : )
 

Michiyo-Fir

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#18
Be helpful. Make the bed every morning, so his mom sees a clean room. Keep all your stuff in one spot. Ask where to hang your coat and do it without prompting. Ask where to put your shoes. Offer her help in the kitchen. Start clearing away dishes and putting the house back together after meals without being asked. Things like that.
Thank for this suggestion! I will definitely try to help as much as I can! But I also wanted to bring something as a polite gesture. Especially since she's going to be housing her 4 children + their SOs! Lots of work for poor mom, we will all try to help her out as much as possible.

Edit: I saw these really cute hampers from Fortnum and Mason. Since I have to go to F&S anyways to pick up gifts for other people, I think I will probably get his mom one of these. They look really nice and have some super neat things like tea and jam!

http://www.fortnumandmason.com/p-10415-the-winter-warmer-basket.aspx
 

noludoru

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#19
Thank for this suggestion! I will definitely try to help as much as I can! But I also wanted to bring something as a polite gesture. Especially since she's going to be housing her 4 children + their SOs! Lots of work for poor mom, we will all try to help her out as much as possible.

Edit: I saw these really cute hampers from Fortnum and Mason. Since I have to go to F&S anyways to pick up gifts for other people, I think I will probably get his mom one of these. They look really nice and have some super neat things like tea and jam!

http://www.fortnumandmason.com/p-10415-the-winter-warmer-basket.aspx
Those look great! In my experience, people who are all staying in one place always mean to help out and really don't. A gift is thoughtful and sweet, and they'll appreciate it - but making their lives easier because you're there creates a lasting impression.
 

Lyzelle

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#20
Food! Either make them a nice dinner to say thanks or bring travel-friendly foods like sweets...cakes, cookies, etc.

It's always been a family tradition here...no matter if we are having people over or we are invited to someone else's family, we ALWAYS cook them dinner and it is always appreciated. Plus, it creates more family time when everyone sits down to enjoy it, or they ask for help, women chatting in the kitchen, men chatting in the dining room or watching TV. (My family was incredibly segregated, LOL).

And later down the road, they were eager for us to come back and make them food again, every time. When Jin and I used to visit Rhio and BeAu, they would always ask for a signature dish or two from me while we stayed there. Same with my mom's husband's family. Even within our own family, we shared and exchanged recipes while visiting each other.

We <3 food. *I* <3 food. Everyone <3 food.
Food is the universal language of <3.
:cheers:

Many people actually don't see it as "Barging in". Many actually appreciate the help and having a day off from having to find a way to cook dinner for everyone, plus new people, and having it be something everyone likes. I always bring it up casually in a sort of, "If you don't mind, we/I would love you cook you guys dinner one evening to say thanks for having us!". I've yet to meet someone who isn't receptive to that, particularly if you are good about asking if you can help, cleaning up, etc. Also asking them which day would be best for them, explaining that you will do the shopping, etc.
 

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