Let's be honest: Most parents will love almost any gift that comes from their children. But personalized and homemade gifts are often the ones that parents love the most. Photo books, homemade items for the house and planned surprises such as anniversary cake in bed are the kinds of gifts that are sure to win the heart of any set of parents, regardless of how old their kids are.
Personalized Photo Gifts
Parents are often happiest when they see that their kids are happy. So, make every morning a happy one for your parents: Present them with a photo-mug that features their kids' smiling faces.
Parents love photo gifts that show a time line of their kids' lives, whether that time line spans from Day One to three months, or Day One to 60 years. There are Web companies that make jigsaw puzzles, mugs and calendars with photos that you send in. Apple creates professionally bound coffee table books that make it easy to tell a story in pictures. Be sure to select pictures of special moments -- Halloween, graduation, birthday parties and family vacations. And since you're celebrating your parents' special day, also include some photos of their early love, before any kids were born.
Of course, if your parents have a blank wall in their house, or an empty bookshelf, you might want to print the photos yourself and frame them to fit.
Are you a painter or a writer or a video editor? Do you dabble in one of these? Your parents would probably love if you painted a picture for their kitchen, consolidated family footage into an artistic montage or prepared a scrapbook of family memories with stories or poems written between the pictures.
For younger children, homemade gifts are perfect. Paint an apron for the parent who's a chef. Paint a clay pot and plant a flower in it. Make a large construction paper card. Make a wind chime or a bird feeder that parents will see each time they arrive home. There's really no way to go wrong with a homemade gift.
Gifts of Time
Most parents love nothing more than spending quality time with their children. Plan an experience for them -- you don't have to make a huge surprise party, just a simple surprise activity, with you. Prepare a picnic basket and take them to a nearby park. Take them apple-picking at an orchard or to a production of a touring musical or on a bicycle ride somewhere beautiful. Symphonies and concerts can sometimes be free -- choose an activity that you can afford and you know they will enjoy.
If your parents aren't activity-lovers, they're sure to appreciate an extravagant meal that you've prepared -- even small children can make breakfast in bed or an anniversary cake with the help of another adult.