It may haunt you for the rest of your life.
Credit: Sang An

The joining of two families isn't always easy, especially around the holidays. Combining traditions, splitting time between your parents and the in-laws, and cooking at least five different types of potatoes for every holiday meal can lead to a hectic few months. But dealing with the craziness of the holidays while also trying to impress your mother-in-law can be a Herculean task. One thing you shouldn't have to worry about this season is what to give your MIL for the holidays. Check out this list of what not to give and avoid making a mistake that may haunt you for holidays to come.

25 Gifts for Moms and Mothers-in-Law

Anti-aging, wrinkle cream

Don't give your mother-in-law a gift of skin care for older or more mature skin, however expensive or revolutionary it might be. As thoughtful as it seems, anti-wrinkle serums and creams only reinforce the age difference between you two, and that is not welcome! As a general rule, unless she specifically asks for miracle cream, stick to something that would pamper anyone of any age-a manicure/pedicure gift set would do the trick!

Clothing without a gift receipt

Unless it's truly one-size-fits-all, all clothing gifts should have the requisite gift receipt, or she may send it straight to the local Goodwill. Sometimes it's difficult to guess on size (err on the smaller one, please), taste, or need-so give her the opportunity to pick out something she might like, if possible. If you aren't sure what to buy, consider a nice scarf or fun jewelry that is of a similar style to accessories she's worn in the past.

Your favorite singer's album

Although you and the hubby may love that awesome under-the-radar band no one has ever heard of, there is an excellent chance that the MIL will find the guitar solos terribly annoying and edgy lyrics unwanted. Pay attention to what channels she enjoys on Spotify or Sirius XM and buy accordingly! Ask her about her favorite concerts and artists growing up and get the albums she jammed to when she was your age. Better yet, see if a reunion tour of her favorite '70s crooner is coming to town and purchase two tickets!

A cookbook she will not use

Even though you can't stop singing the praises of quinoa and could spend an hour explaining the virtues of kale, your MIL may not be as much of a health nut and won't appreciate a lecture on wellness. She's made it this far without following every health trend that came her way! A vegan, gluten-free, low-carb, sugar-free cookbook will just sit unused next to her family recipes and Betty Crocker classics. If she does enjoy cooking, ask her about her favorite celebrity chefs or types of food and go from there.

Technology outside of her ability

Though plenty of MILs are whizzes on the iPad, not every woman of a certain age is technologically gifted. While it's always a nice idea to bring her further into the 21st century, a gift that's way out of her skill set will either gather dust or lead to several phone calls a day to help her figure it out. Unless you're prepared to teach a crash course and be on call for every software update, skip the latest tech and try an old-fashioned hardback book instead.


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