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What to buy difficult 84 year old mother

(25 Posts)
recklessgran Sun 23-Oct-16 14:33:21

Please can anyone suggest a gift that might make my mother happy?
Last year we got her a beautiful dressing gown and fleecy blanket which apparently she "didn't need". In the past we have made her a gardening hamper [her only hobby] which was not right as it was "the wrong time of year", afternoon tea at a posh garden centre along with some vouchers to spend whilst there. That was an epic fail - we moved table twice as she didn't like where we were sitting and she ate hardly anything as the food was "too rich". Another time theatre tickets to see a show she would like - refused to go as it was "too cold".

ohfourfoxache Sun 23-Oct-16 14:37:00

Subscription to a gardening magazine?

ImperialBlether Sun 23-Oct-16 14:39:07

The thing is that at that age they tend to have what they need and anything extra is just cluttering the house up.

Could you just ask her what she wants, and then when she says she wants a surprise, remind her that the last few surprises have failed and that you want her to tell you exactly what she wants.

Chiliprepper Sun 23-Oct-16 14:44:12

If she's that tricky to please I would put minimal effort in! A token, probably something like a candle/smellies/food which can be used up. There is no pleasing some people and you'll only wind yourself up by investing any feelings into their reaction to your present

carmenta Sun 23-Oct-16 14:51:10

Music or movies that were popular when she was young? My grandfather, who became rather depressed in his old age due to ill health and surviving his wife by quite a few years, loved a trip down memory lane.

TroysMammy Sun 23-Oct-16 14:51:41

I feel your pain. Whereas my 73 year old mother is not fussy like your mother appears to be she is equally difficult to buy for.

She has no hobbies whatsoever.
Doesn't want a lap top or a Kindle.
Doesn't have a favourite author.
Doesn't knit, sew or crochet.
Gets cystitis from scented toiletries and perfumes.
Doesn't have her ears pierced and always wears the same necklace. Doesn't drink alcohol.
Refers to ornaments as "dust gatherers"
Not into fancy tea or coffee.
Particular about buying her own clothes.
Doesn't go on holidays or weekends away or out to restaurants with my Dad (he is even more difficult to buy for).

I'm at a total loss each Christmas and Birthday.

NoahVale Sun 23-Oct-16 15:18:39

a voucher for her favourite clothes shop?

NoahVale Sun 23-Oct-16 15:19:37

how about a hyacinth planter thing, comes up a bit later? or pot with bulbs in it which will come up later on?

NotCitrus Sun 23-Oct-16 15:21:35

Nice cordless amplified phone? Tokens that don't expire? Potted plant? Paperback book?

We do token presents with my folks and ILs, unless there's something that would make their lives better, as what they really want is a day with us and gcs, and us taking clutter off their hands.

flupi Sun 23-Oct-16 15:23:22

My mum is equally hard to buy for. I usually end up sending a bouquet of flowers which she seems to like. 💐

mumofthemonsters808 Sun 23-Oct-16 15:34:30

I would buy her tickets to the theatre, or take her for afternoon tea or a little coach trip day out. I used to love doing these things with my Mum and she adored these type of presents.Another one she liked was when I used to go into the shop before her hair appointment and pay for it, so when she got to the till it was a lovely surprise. I'm crying typing this, remembering all the things we did together.You reach an age, when you have the all the possessions you need, the greatest gift you can give is your time.

Sirzy Sun 23-Oct-16 15:36:35

Can you make her a photo album of family photos from over the years instead?

Or a nice hamper of her favourite foods?

Snowgeese Sun 23-Oct-16 15:36:58

Food hamper you make up yourself with Marksies shortbread etc. You can choose budget and I bet she will eat at least some of it . As Noah says up thread a pot of bulbs or hyacinth planter . All lovely gifts that will be appreciated and used . Once I bought my mum a simple bird feeder that sits in front garden . Bag of bird food too obviously . It gave us a talking point . Hard isn't it ?

recklessgran Sun 23-Oct-16 15:38:48

Thanks everyone!
I think I'll go with the Gardeners World subscription and an M&S bulb thingy. There are some other great ideas here, so, thank you - I will pass them on to my 5DD's who will be equally grateful I can assure you!

SymphonyofShadows Mon 24-Oct-16 13:29:52

My mother sounds exactly like yours and she has been awful this year for various reasons, so I've ordered her an M&S Hamper with Christmas cake, biscuits, tea etc. that I know she'll use. She'll still moan about it though.

ShowMeTheElf Mon 24-Oct-16 13:34:32

I feel your pain OP.
I have resorted to chocs and a TKmax voucher for birthdays and Christmas this year after 3 years in a row of unwanted gifts accepted rudely (or left behind when she went home). It was making me crazy so I just stopped.

annandale Mon 24-Oct-16 13:37:44

Flowers, really nice ones.

DiegeticMuch Mon 24-Oct-16 13:40:06

I'd go with a garden centre voucher (or Homebase if there's one nearby). She can obtain what she needs for the garden then. Maybe get a poinsettia to go with it, or a box of the mini chocolate snowmen/reindeer from Hotel Chocolat.

Octogenarians who don't drink are the hardest to buy for!

JoJoSM2 Mon 24-Oct-16 13:43:23

I'm not sure if she's got it in her to be happy lol

Allatseainthemidlands Mon 24-Oct-16 13:46:50

I got to the point with my DF where he had everything he wanted and if he didn't he'd buy it himself- he's well off and certainly didn't need me to buy him anything. A few years ago I "gave" him a herd of goats from Oxfam for a family in an underdeveloped country and he completely choked up with joy. Since then we haven't given each other anything for Christmas except these 'good gifts' - my sister and brother do the same. It takes the ache out of Christmas shopping and reminds us of the things that really matter. Needless to say this doesn't work for my teenage DCs!!!

Corialanusburt Mon 24-Oct-16 13:46:54

It's not so much she's difficult to buy for as she genuinely wouldn't want anything you buy her, partly because she hadn't chosen it herself and partly probably because she's grumpy and impolite.
If you ask her what she'd like she'll probably tell you not to get her anything then complain that you don't care when you follow her instructions.
Get an M and S voucher, job done and close your ears to moans about that.

recklessgran Mon 24-Oct-16 14:56:07

Ha! You ladies are SO perceptive. My mother is an extremely difficult and miserable woman and as the family "fixer" I feel under so much pressure to make everything right for everybody. Up until now I haven't been able to see, that actually it's impossible to make anyone happy who clearly seems to enjoy being miserable! Thank you everyone-I'm beginning to get it and will try to stop worrying. [FWIW my three siblings all send her flowers in the week before Christmas and completely avoid her for the whole holiday.]

KC225 Tue 25-Oct-16 01:31:37

My Mother too has always been an ungrateful receiver. Seems ok at the time but invariably there is something wrong and I get 'don't get me anymore gadgets' after complaining about her wrists and hands. 'Another nightie' 'not anymore plants please' after one outdoor planter from M&S. I feel your pain. Incidentally my brother has got so fed up with her he gets a big box.of Thorntons chocolates which she also moans about.

Last year I got her gourmet marshmallows from London marshmallow company. 40 quid for marshmallows was hard to swallow (pun intended) but she loved it and it wasn't stuffed in a cupboard or unused. Birthday I got her treats from Agnes D'sucre which she also loved.

islurpmyspaghetti Tue 25-Oct-16 07:10:21

I like the marshmallow idea KC and it reminded me that I once got DH some from Boomf with pics of the DC on. Very cute and much less expensive than £45. They might be a novel gift, OP.

Cheguevarahamster Tue 25-Oct-16 08:00:13

Does she like books? My mum (similar age) loves audio books and I got her an audible subscription last year.

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