What gift to give the people who gave you the gift of life? I've got a few Mom & Dad gift ideas for those of you who want to go beyond the Whitman's Sampler Boxes and bathrobes, jumbo cans of mixed nuts and multi-packs of golf balls this year. Here are my picks for the Best Gifts for Mom & Dad.
Note: Gifts are sorted by category and, within each category, listed by price from low to high. All items' prices are listed as they were at printing. Prices are subject to change.
Gifts for Mom
Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser Necklaces $14 to $36. These floral filigree designs crafted as lockets come shaped in the symbols of love & admiration (heart), wisdom (owl), and I'm moving 2,000 miles away with the grandkids (teardrop). The pendants open to provide a space for one of 7 included colored lava stones. To get the aromatherapy action, add 1 to 3 drops of your favorite essential oil to a stone's porous surface and then pop it inside the locket. Maker Maromalife says the scent will linger for hours--longer than leather discs or poms.
The Whisk Wiper $20. What is this whiskcraft you see before you? The Whisk Wiper fits over the spherical end of any standard whisk, its star-shaped slots sliding between the utensil's metal loops, and stopping at the base of the handle. While Whisking the Wiper stays put and serves as both a ledge for stationing your whisk against the edge of the bowl so it won't fall in and get quick-batter-sanded to the bottom, and as a batter catcher if you decide to invert the whisk and set it on end on the countertop.
Dinner: Changing the Game Cookbook $21. I can't disagree with the title of this cookbook. My fiancee, She-Ra: Princess of Power, received it as a gift for her birthday, and every dish she's made out of it has made me feel like it was my birthday.
Magisso Perfect Slice Cake Server $23. Looks like a cookie cutter, and probably has the same basic carve-out function, but what makes it desirable to bakers and party hosts is that it doesn't just cut the perfect slice, its squeezable handle also lets you latch onto the piece and transport it to the plate without destroying or dropping it during the transition. Once it place, loosen your grip and release it.
Microwaveable Slippers $25. Slippers. The most no-fail gift ever. Especially when you can stick them in the microwave to make them magnificently warm and cozy. And especially when they're extra plush and soft to the touch. And especially, especially when they come in colors Chewbacca and Wampa (click here for Wampa).
Temperature-Controlled Electric Kettle $44. Just like you prefer some coffees and teas over others, coffees and teas prefer some temperatures of hot water over others. Taking the ease and efficiency of using an electric kettle to heat water one step further, the Precision Temp digital electric kettle also comes with preset temperature settings, giving you control over the exact number of degrees you want to add to your tap water to make it the perfect hotness for your hot drink.
Tabletop Fireplace $70. Complement those lazy, hazy, crazy...miserable, cold-ass days of winter with a Vigo tabletop fireplace. The piece's dual stainless steel burners run on Moda Flame ventless ethanol fuel, so no electricity, gas, chimney, or gel cans are needed. Glass panels on both sides provide a full 360 degrees of fire visibility.
UrbAlive Indoor Worm Farm $130. A 2017 Red Dot Design Award Winner, the UrbAlive Indoor Worm Farm is a 4-legged bin that eats up - or, rather, contains the red worms or red wigglers you put inside it, so they can eat up your household bio waste. You know, the scraps your dog and bottomless-pit-bellied teenagers don't eat. Once the worms process your leftovers, you can scoop it out for use as a natural and nutritionally-dense fertilizer for your yard, balcony plants, or P-patch plat.
Kodak Photo Printer Dock $140. It's 2017, Kodak, who still wants hard copies of photographs? Your mama. And all her Baby Boomer friends. The Kodak 5-pin Dock accommodates Android phones directly, and iOS devices with an included Lightning adapter. Hook one up and press the "One Touch" button for instant printing; no need to transfer photos to a computer or memory card first. The Dock also serves as a charger while it's connected.
Ninja Coffee Bar Brewer System $160. This coffee-making Ninja is a pod-free system that can brew either single servings or a carafe of coffee for a variety of different drinks. Custom brew settings include Classic, Rich, Over Ice, Specialty, and Cafe Forte. Classic delivers your standard balanced cup, while Rich kicks up the intensity, and Cafe Forte takes it one step beyond that (ideal for cafe au laits.) Specialty trickles out a super-rich 4-ounce concentrate you can use to make hot, cold, frozen, or blended espresso-style drinks. The Over Ice setting is designed specifically for chilled coffee, and though it brews hot Ninja says the result will not be weak and watered down once it hits your ice.
Outdoor Swinging Lounge $225. The Thompson Outdoor Swinging Lounge dangles a cozy nest of thick meshed wicker from its powder-coated aluminum stand, and then throws on a coupla cushions to guarantee your back and butt are as content as your reclined legs and swaying whole self. The top of the chair even arcs over the top of your head to provide shade and a little extra privacy. Chill-Out Score: 10 / 10.
Gifts for Dad
BenShot Bullet Shot Glass $15. BenShot hand-sculpts all of these bullet-impaled shot glasses (and rocks glasses too) in their Wisconsin studio. When the glass hits temperatures of 1,000+ degrees F it becomes malleable, at which point BenShot shapes and fits it with real 9mm bullets. Each 1.75-ounce shot glass is made to order, and usable for drinking. Who wants a round?
Jeri-Rigg Tie-Downs $16 to $22. Let Dad Jeri-Rigg his whole life with this multi-functional tie-down / anchor point / attachment point / strap straight outta Chassell, Michigan. The Jeri-Rigg system pairs with securing tools such as bungee cords, tie-down straps, lanyards, ropes, netting, carabiners, webbing straps, chains, or anything else you can stick through its end loop bullseye. The Jeri-Rigg itself then wraps and secures around a similarly long list of structural objects.
Whisker Dam Mustache Protector $20. They say it's like an umbrella for your face. And also that it's the best dam invention for keeping your whiskers dry. The Whisker Dam sits over a pint of beer (or milk, or triple mocha with extra whipped cream) and prevents the liquid's foamy head from sticking to the sipper's 'stache. This shielder of lip hair can also slip over glasses containing non-foamified drinks, such as Old Fashioneds and Grape Fanta, just to help keep follicles clean and dry.
Remarkable Books: The World's Most Beautiful and Historic Works $20. In addition to stirring artwork and hand-scribed text, Remarkable Books also has Gift for Dad written all over the pages it has extracted from the tomes of history. A permanent resident for the coffee table, and gem for the enthusiastically literate, Remarkable Books guides readers through 75+ of the world's "most celebrated, rare, and seminal books and handwritten manuscripts ever produced."
Great City Maps $20. This coffee table-ready book is a full-color collection of some of the world's most famous historical city maps. It starts with ancient civilizations and moves through time into today's "sprawling modern mega-cities." In addition to 30 detailed prints, Great City Maps explores each of its entries' backgrounds, including the culture and beliefs of the time, and why and how the map was made. Rome, Jerusalem, New York, and Tokyo are just a few of the cities revealed in intricate detail.
YETI LoadOut Fishing & Utility Bucket $40. YETI says it's "all-purpose on purpose, so don't over-think it." On the boat you can store your bait, your net, or your catch, or fill the bucket with water to wash down evidence of a long day on the water. The LoadOut has nonslip, nonmarking ring around its base and a lipgrip handle for easier carrying. Like YETI coolers, the bucket is high-impact-resistant and virtually indestructible.
On land, you can LoadOut your ranch feed, campfire kindling, car washing gear, or even 5 gallons of homemade ice cream. The bucket is food safe "just in case."
Sync II Multi-Tool Belt Buckle $60. Has a detachable base that clips and locks onto most buckles on belts measuring up to 1-3/4" wide. If it's not compatible with a belt you're wearing on a particular day, you can also clip the tool onto a pack strap or boot. The idea is to keep it within arm's reach, easily accessible without searching or digging. Multi-tool implements include: pliers; gripper; soft wirecutter; crimpers; awl; straight blade; jewelry driver; bottle opener; small flathead screwdriver; 3-sided file; and ruler.
Ziv's Portable Smoker $99. a cooker box that collapses and folds into a briefcase, designed for fellow fishermen, campers, and anyone who wants freshly smoked fish, meat, and veggies around the campfire. Or at the beach or park. Or off on the side of a road in Tennessee during the family's RV trip to Disney World. Who needs the Cracker Barrel when you've got Ziv's Portable Smoker?
Liquor Log Booze Dispenser $119. Now this is the kind of Yule Log I'm talking about. How better to bring good tidings to you and all of your kin than with a nice bottle of Jameson or Jack chug-a-lugging out the tap on an urban harvested Ohio hardwood tree? A father and son team at the Ohio WoodWorking Shop handmake each of these Log Liquor Dispensers to order. They use all-natural woods from their hood, so no two are alike. Dispensers stand around 8" tall and measure between 4" and 6" in diameter; they hold any standard size booze bottle. The guys treat the logs with a waterborn clear finish, and route liquor through a food and beverage safe PVC conduit that pours out a brass spout. Dispensers come with both wood and metal interchangeable handles.
Ship in a Bourbon Barrel Decanter $120. Sloshed at sea, awash in a swell of liquor. It doesn't sound that nice when you say it, but this hand-blown decanter giving a whiskey barrel spin to the class ship in a bottle sure looks pretty alright. The decanter nestles into a wooden cradle that looks like it could get the motion of the booze ocean going for additional effect. A tap built into the barrel end lets some of that fine amber sea out into your tumbler or strategically placed open mouth.
Worx Electric Leaf Mulcher $131. Secure a garbage bag underneath the Leaf Mulcher and flip it on to rev up its Flex-a-Line bladeless system (a grass trimmer line). Feed your piles of fallen leaves and twigs into the WORX mouth, and let it shred the dead and rotting waste into organic mulch. You can then spread the mulch as fertilizer, a gift for the garden or flowerbeds, or dispose of it in a form 1/11th of its original size.
The WORX Leaf Mulcher has a 13-amp motor that spins at 8,500 RPM to mulch up to 53 gallons of leaves per minute. When not in use, its components nest inside one another for compact storage.
Igloo Party Bar Cooler with LiddUp Lighting $155. Keep the party lit up all night long courtesy of LiddUp technology. About 4 years ago, startup LiddUp sought crowdfunding for its own illuminated cooler. The campaign didn't quite hit its goal, but the company decided to proceed with their lid-up-lights-on idea anyway. Eventually, they scored an appearance on Shark Tank, and then partnered up with Igloo.
The Party Bar is built to Igloo cooler standards, and enjoys the brand's name recognition, but differentiates itself from other coolers for a crowd with LiddUp's through-ice LED lighting system. Adding nighttime visibility during drink selection and a moody-smooth glow through the cold, LiddUp takes this Igloo from mere ice chest to full-on Party Bar.
The Blaze Fire Tower $500. The Blaze's contemporary pyramid design consists of 5 sections of precision-cut 3/16" American steel, which should render the fire tower impenetrable under attack from wind, hail, and yard debris. It's made to live outdoors for life, and will develop a matte copper-colored patina over time.
In operation the Blaze stores firewood in its bottom chamber, and burns it in the center, sending flames and smoke out the stacked vents leading to the tower's peak as well as its primary opening.
Gifts for Either or Both Mom & Dad
ThinOPTICS - Reading Glasses on Your Phone $14. The only thing worse than needing reading glasses is not having reading glasses when you need them. ThinOPTICS has designed a simple way to ensure your glasses are always on hand that doesn't consume a ton of space, weigh you down, or risk making the blur that is your day even blurrier.
Sugru Moldable Glue $22. Like poster or Silly putty, Sugru molds easily in hands or around objects into any shape its manipulator can muster. However, Sugru also bonds to nearly anything--plastic, glass, metal, fabrics (rubber stormtrooper to patch your jeans?)--and when left in open, room temperature air overnight, cures into a strong, flexible, silicone rubber. As the photos indicate, Sugru has nearly limitless practical applications, determined entirely by the needs and resourcefulness of its holder. When bonded with neodymium magnets, the compound's uses only...compound.
iceScreen Magnetic Ice Shield $25 to $45. Creators Dan Miller and Andy Wright have developed a magnetic windshield cover they say will eliminate the need to scrape a snowy or crystallized front window ever again. Anchored by a set of chrome/stainless steel magnetic clips and flaps that close inside car doors, the iceScreen attaches to a vehicle's framework and promises to remain in place even during high winds and some punk kid's attempt to steal it. The magnets themselves are circular and housed in individual gel padding cases so cover has no sharp edges that could damage car finishes. When covered in snow, frost, damp dew, or bird shit, iceScreens pull or roll away from the windshield for shakeoff and folded storage in an included pouch.
The Doughnut Warming Coffee Mug $30. This mug has been specially crafted with a "plate" set into its rim so you can use your morning cup of coffee or tea to also hold and warm your morning doughnut. The only problem is that I heard your morning doughnut is really, really bad for you. The worst. Like, heart disease with a hole in it. So I'm glad to see mug creator Best Morning Ever has also shown some alternative, healthier options for steam cradle warming. Muffins. Danishes. Mmmm, chocolate chip cookies.
Yosegi Japanese Puzzle Boxes $35 to $120. Yosegi Puzzle Boxes suggest that the best way to dissuade petty thieves and nosy family and co-workers is to make them think. Developed during the Edo Period (early 17th to mid 19th century), these Japanese stash holders require equal parts manual and mental dexterity to open.
Vehicle Tire Snow Socks $56 to $66. For the traction-challenged feet of a car facing a winter that drank too much and then puked it up all over the road, just in time for the morning commute. The trek up to the mountains. The drive home from the movies. Shaddock Fishing's Super Snow Socks provide benefits similar to those of chains on slippery roads, but are way easier to install on your tires, and don't risk damaging the roads you're driving on. Snow Socks come in 3 sizes to fit cars and trucks ranging from compact to SUV. They're made of polyolefin, and each set is lightweight, reusable, and washable.
Motion Activated Underbed Lighting $60. These mylight.me under-bed LED strips have motion sensors so that when Dad has to take his clockwork whizz at 3:00 a.m., he can be considerate of snoozing Mom without fear of rib fracture from the corner of his dresser that sticks out half an inch too far. The package includes two 4' light strips, each with 48 diodes and 3M self-adhesive for easy mounting, which you will probably need to take care of as part of the gift. A combined motion and light sensor is fitted with a shut-off timer programmable for anywhere between 30 seconds and 10 minutes.
Royal Purple No Pressure Seat Cushion $80. A 2" thickness of Hyper-elastic polymer Smart-Comfort Grid sized for any chair or car seat. Purple says these materials and their design configuration are able to absorb all human posterior pressure and uncomfortable contact with the underlying surface when you take a seat. If Mama or Pops experiences sciatic nerve or disc pain, or just Numb Butt Syndrome from sitting at a desk or behind a wheel for too many hours at a time, the Royal Purple Cushion aims to eliminate the discomfort by eliminating a big chunk of the sensation of being seated altogether.
Aquor House Hydrant $90. Overhauls the water spigot with its flush-mounted outdoor faucet system. The hydrant allows users to instantly plug into--and out of--the faucet with a hose connector attachment, eliminating scraping knuckles and struggling with heavy hoses and worn threads on old brass spigots. Better, plugging into the House Hydrant automatically activates your water flow, and unplugging automatically shuts it off. The system then self-drains, so down to temperatures of minus 30 degrees F, Aquor says you'll won't have to winterize it.
Coravin Wine Siphoning System $350. A tool for wine owners and collectors to use when they want to pour out a glass, or even just a taste, from a special bottle of wine without pulling the cork. Whatever remains in the bottle post-Coravin remains just as preserved as it was before, so you don't have to commit to drinking all 750mL of vino at once.