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AIBu to ask for help choosing a gift for Mum

(59 Posts)
PossiblyPFB Mon 09-Oct-17 23:20:40

It’s my mothers 70th quite soon. She’s terribly hard to buy for, and most if not all of the gifts I can recall giving her she’s either returned, criticised or re-gifted to ‘someone more worthy’ like a local nursing home, which is a bit upsetting as a lot of thought and money has gone into them. She lives abroad, where I grew up. While I’d love to get away with sending a very expensive gift of flowers, I know she’d hate that, as last year I did that as she is SO hard to buy for —and so did everyone else- she complained that her home looked like a funeral home with all the flowers and she was upset no one ‘made an effort’. She has no hobbies except apparently watching Fox News, browsing the internet and reading dubious right wing webpages she can’t quite remember following but which now mean a lot to her.. Help!! What do I buy her for her 70th which won’t be thrown in my face?

rightsaidfrederickII Mon 09-Oct-17 23:33:28

What's her mobility like?

They're not designed for old people (indeed, they're quite fashionable) but a Breville one cup kettle thing went down very well with a relative who finds lifting a kettle a struggle nowadays

Otherwise - personal, handmade things, ideally made by the grandkids as then (a) the kids do the creative legwork and (b) she can't return or regift it

Ojoj1974 Mon 09-Oct-17 23:36:00

Have a look on not on the high street.
Personalised name picture with her name central and a hundred words which mean something to her?

PossiblyPFB Tue 10-Oct-17 00:03:25

Rightsaidfred unfortunately Americans don’t know what to do with kettles (and I say that as one)! Trying to get DD to make something might be a go-er though! Don’t have much time but it could work!

Ojoj NOThS could be a good option - will look at the shipping situation! I have less than 10 days to get it to the US though! smile

Ploppie4 Tue 10-Oct-17 00:06:01

What about a hamper of nice foods she likes?

PossiblyPFB Tue 10-Oct-17 00:17:08

ploppie the food would get donated ...

IClavdivs Tue 10-Oct-17 00:23:09

What about a chocolate/cheese/wine/beer/sherry of the month club, where she only gets a small amount each month for twelve months? Half a dozen, for example, Godiva chocs aren't going to be worth her while donating. Obviously, it's got to be something she enjoys.

PossiblyPFB Tue 10-Oct-17 00:23:20

I should say, I started her a pandora bracelet and my brother started her some Japanese cooking knife collection - both thrown at us as ‘easy thoughtless gifts’ like we aren’t urgently trying to think of something to buy her with some meaning or something she seems to like (jewelry/cooking) - any gift she seems to have reason to reject or give away. I normally end up with an amazon credit. hmm

AtrociousCircumstance Tue 10-Oct-17 00:26:17

She sounds lovely. Get her a £10 book token.

PossiblyPFB Tue 10-Oct-17 00:26:25

Iclavdibs - that could be a good idea!!

PossiblyPFB Tue 10-Oct-17 00:27:09

atrocious I have threatened to sponsor a donkey in her name more than once...

PossiblyPFB Tue 10-Oct-17 00:29:27

I legit wouldn’t be posting this here if I thought it was easy!!! 😬

leamington1999 Tue 10-Oct-17 00:32:42

Could you get her jewellery or a photo album, something to commemorate turning 70? Or maybe a few spa/theatre/whatever she enjoys tickets?

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 10-Oct-17 00:32:49

My mum is like this. I made a massive, extremely personal effort one year and got a 'meh'. So now I please myself. She gets what she gets and can hate it if she wants.

leamington1999 Tue 10-Oct-17 00:35:07

Maybe ask her what she’s after as she doesn’t seem to enjoy your gifts. My mum is the same, I used to spoil her but really she never liked anything I bought and would happily say take it backblush

AdaColeman Tue 10-Oct-17 00:46:44

What about a magazine/newspaper subscription for a year? Something general like National Geographic perhaps, or the US equivalent of the Daily Wail.

Or a photo of you and your family? Or a few typically UK things, Kendal mint cake, Taylor's tea, posh fudge, tin of Colemans mustard.

The thing that will help you most, is for you to refuse to get emotionally over invested in what you buy, then whatever she does with your gift she can't hurt you. Really, you could just buy anything, a scarf from M&S for instance, send it and let go of it in your mind, you've made the gesture, what she does with it is up to her.

She's trying to belittle you and make you feel inadequate by criticising your gifts, don't let her control you across an ocean. thanks

thegreylady Tue 10-Oct-17 07:25:42

What about a bound copy of a newspaper from her birth date? Most broadsheets and some tabloids do it and Google will give lots of options.

PossiblyPFB Tue 10-Oct-17 08:48:05

adacoleman you’re right about the inadequacy and control aspect. I had a very upsetting time for my father’s 75th last year, he is interested in genealogy so I bought him a very expensive premium membership to a well known website as it was a special birthday.

He seemed pleased but she convinced him that it was far too lavish and that we shouldn’t be spending that money on him. Plus they could ‘go to the library and do whatever research for free’. So my very thoughtful gift that HE ACTUALLY SAID HE WANTED was rejected. I had to ring their customer services and tell them that the recipient, my dad, didn’t want my gift, so please could I cancel it. She could hear my upset, and the woman said that’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard! I ended up in tears on the phone with her. She was the sweetest lady. My mom is toxic.

alwaysthepessimist Tue 10-Oct-17 08:49:52

have you looked at the book of everyone? I got a couple done for hard to buy for people - they are really good - some fascinating facts & stories in them & you can personalise them as much or as little as you like

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Tue 10-Oct-17 09:04:19

If she's that difficult, and is evidently going to reject or moan about just about anything, then I agree with the M&S (or elsewhere) scarf - nice and light to post, and try not to get upset if she isn't happy yet again. Some people are never happy unless they've got something to moan about!

Or, depending on climate where she lives, M&S have nice leather gloves in just now, in various colours - also nice and light to post.

teaandtoast Tue 10-Oct-17 09:48:28

I'd get her a voucher for an American store you know she likes. You've tried personal, go with impersonal.

I don't get my mother anything now. She complained I was late with her present one year (as I was struggling with what to get her that wouldn't be criticised), so I don't bother now.

SloeSloeQuickQuickGin Tue 10-Oct-17 09:51:58

My mom is toxic

I'd buy her a goat - cut hte middle man out and make your point - oh and I'd specifically choose a chrity I liked rather than one she liked

www.oxfam.org.uk/shop/oxfam-unwrapped/build-farms/goat-ou9010ml

There you go, Mother, we named it after you grin

littlepinkgiraffe Tue 10-Oct-17 09:57:07

I got my step dad a newspaper headline book for his 60th - it has all the front pages of newspapers on a person's birthday for the last however many years.

You said she likes watching the news so could be an idea? If you google personalised newspaper book or something it should come up.

Liiinoo Tue 10-Oct-17 10:00:22

she sounds awful and very like my mum. I have pretty much given up on putting thought into her gifts as she is impossible to please these days. (she seems to get some sort of satisfaction from rejecting attention or kindness). I now tend to buy nice leather gloves (Primark or M&S) or a cashmere scarf. She probably regifts them but that's nothing to do with me. The last present I bought her she actually liked was a small stepladder when she was about 70 but that's awkward to post overseas!

shouldwestayorshouldwego Tue 10-Oct-17 12:20:05

A book of photos from the place and the era in which she grew up? Or maybe save that idea for your father who sounds slightly more grateful.

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