Choosing the perfect birthday gift for retired parents can feel daunting, as the pressure is real. After all, this is the pair whose genes and wisdom you are incredibly grateful for, but to whom you also owe countless years of forehead smacking, rolling eyes and, “Mooom, Daaaad, you are so embarrassing” moments. With retired life affording them boundless free time, though, the last thing you want is to gift a dust attracting knick-knack or gadget that comes with a three-day assembly instruction booklet, two dozen batteries not included.
Instead, you’ll want to find something that not only thanks them for a lifetime of love (and patience) but also resonates with their newfound independence. So, put the flashy ties and the snow globe collections away. Here, we’ve sifted through the internet jungle for you and came up with 35 unique birthday gift suggestions for your retired parentals that are just as special as they are.
The suggestions fall across a broad scope from the practical and the sentimental, to the humorous, and slightly eccentric. Trust us when we say, you can’t go wrong with these because they are the Furby to an 80s kid, or the Netflix to a millennial – they’re just that good; and will make your parents believe that you just graduated from The Wharton School rather than spent a minute too many playing Cats Around The World on your phone.
1. Personalized Photo Book: It’s like a trip down memory lane, but with each turn of a page, there are your parents’ favorite moments, smiling back at them. The photo book is the visual encyclopedia of their life – something they can feel thrilled to own.
2. Kindle Paperwhite: With adjustable lights and a glare-free display, this e-reader has your bookworm parents covered from the Sahara desert to the North Pole. Extra points if you pre-load it with their favorite books.
3. MasterClass Subscription: If your parent has always dreamt about cooking with Gordon Ramsay or writing scripts with Shonda Rhimes, this gift will be their Oscar moment, literally.
4. Orthopedic Pillow: Gifting an orthopedic pillow isn’t admitting that they’re getting older, but rather saying, “I love you and care about your neck.”
5. AeroGarden Indoor Garden: This self-watering garden brings the farmer’s market straight to their kitchen. It’s perfect for the retired parents who wish to garden but without the bothersome pests, weeds, and hay fever.
6. Virtual Reality Headset: If your parent ever wanted to climb Everest or swim with dolphins, all they need now is to adjust the straps. A VR headset lets them travel the vibrant virtual world, sans the travel sickness.
7. Streaming Device: With this, they can catch up on their favorite shows, movies or live-stream their grandkid’s first football game. Isn’t that a day everyone looks forward to?
8. DNA Ancestry Service: If they have passed on their love for history, exploring their genetic makeup will only fuel the fascination. It’s also a subtle way to remind them that they gave you 50% of your genetic makeup.
9. DIY Pottery Kit: A fun, engaging activity that will keep them entertained for hours. Plus, you tease them that their pottery skills are just as good, if not better, than those contestants on “The Great Pottery Throw Down.”
10. Personalized Jewelry: A beautiful piece that bears their monogram or a special date shows your high level of thought and effort. Warning: This gift might make them tear up.
11. Magazine Subscription: A subscription to their favorite magazine shows that you know their interests and want to keep them intellectually stimulated. Because no one wants to play Sudoku all day, every day.
12. Noise-cancelling Headphones: If your retired parents are picking up new hobbies, like learning a new language or attending virtual concerts, this will be a game-changer. Plus, they don’t have to hear the neighbor’s pesky lawnmower at 8 a.m.
13. Kindle Unlimited Subscription: With this gift, the world is literally in their hands – from Miles Davis’s autobiography to Agatha Christie’s thrilling mysteries.
14. Folding Shiatsu Massage Chair: A soothing massage at the end of the day? Oh, wait. They’re retired. They can have one in the middle of the day, too!
15. Electric Wine Opener: Because there’s little more frustrating than wrestling with a cork when all you want is a glass of Merlot. This is a revelation in your parents’ endless search for the ultimate wine gadget.
16. An Electronic Gaming Device: It’s not just for kids; many retirees enjoy gaming, too. And hey, nothing beats the look on their faces when they crush Candy legend Level 3467 or have a new top score in “Words with Friends.”
17. Traveler’s World Map: It’s a beautiful decoration and a great way to help them plot their next adventure via RV, post-retirement cruise, or 14-hour flight to Australia.
18. Touchscreen Gloves: If they enjoy long, chilly walks or cool-weather activities, these gloves will keep their fingers warm while they scroll through those urgent grandbaby photos for the zillionth time.
19. Essential Oil Diffuser: It’s the pampering gift that promotes relaxation, purifies the air, and even enhances their mood.
20. Food Delivery Subscription: A birthday gift that ensures they’ll enjoy a gourmet meal without having to Google “how to chop an onion without crying.”
21. A Luxurious Robe: Because if they’re going to lounge around in their retirement, they should do it in style and comfort.
22. Customized Door Mat: It’s a safe bet for retired parents who have a thing for home décor. Plus, it’s a low-key way to warn unsolicited salespersons about their ferocious poodle.
23. Home Fitness Equipment: Perfect for the retiring champion who needs an easy way to work up a sweat now, especially if their favorite pastime (aside from spoiling the grandkids) is their tai chi.
24. Automatic Pet Feeder: For our parents who dote on their pets as much as they dote on us, this is pitch-perfect. Your parents’ euphoria over not having to get up at 5 a.m. for feeding would be simply unmatched.
25. Personalized Puzzle Featuring Favorite Locations: If your parents love a good brainteaser, why not a custom jigsaw puzzle featuring their favorite vacation spot or hometown?
26. Audiobook Subscription: Perfect for when they’re in the mood for a good book but don’t wanna put on their reading glasses.
27. GrandPad Tablet: It’s designed specially for seniors, with large buttons and an intuitive interface. Plus, it’s pre-loaded with apps for calls, emails, photos, and games.
28. Digital Picture Frame: This gift allows them to relive beautiful moments with family and friends over and over again. It’s like the family slideshow that thankfully does not come with your dad’s “interesting” popcorn recipe.
29. Charcuterie and Cheese Board: For parents who have a pension for fancy snacks, this is the perfect gift to treat their taste buds.
30. Weighted Blanket: Here’s a thoughtful gift, great for quality sleep and reducing anxiety. It’s like that firm bear hug from their (grown) baby.
31. Insulated Wine Tumblers: What’s better than a glass of wine at the perfect temperature? A pair of tumblers that promise to keep it that way.
32. Grilling Equipment Set: To support their cooking enthusiasm and anticipate epic BBQ nights, this set will come in handy.
33. Smartphone Telephoto Lens: An ideal gift for the retired parent turned budding photographer. Crisp and focused pictures without the bulk of professional camera equipment.
34. Donut Making Kit: Here’s something to satisfy their sweet tooth. Plus, they can boast about their culinary expertise on the Sunday brunch.
35. Custom Artwork: Last but not least, a custom artwork of a favorite family photo. This turns an intangible memory into a tangible keepsake.
Our parents have given the world to us, so finding a gift that truly delights them is an unparalleled joy. Whether it’s a state-of-the-art gadget, a luxurious pampering treat, or something deeply personal and customized, each of these presents promise to work up the charm. Happy shopping, and here’s to scoring some serious offspring points this year!