In the annals of family gift-giving, I scored a home run recently: I gave my daughter—a grown child who already has 1 husband, 1 child, 1 dog, 1 highly competitive job and 1 small house -- the gift of once-a-fortnight housecleaning service.
Not that I barged in with the present virtually wrapped in cheery gift paper. I was, in fact, wary of presenting her with a gift that she might take as criticism of her and her spouse’s housekeeping skills. So I asked before I gave and I framed it this way: Given all the demands on her time, I didn’t see why she should use precious energy vacuuming, dusting and scouring her house when help was available—help that I could make happen.
Reader, she did not take umbrage—she was thrilled. She had been thinking about it herself and trying to figure out a way to stretch her tight budget to cover the cost.
Score one for parents looking for gifts that can delight as well as help their grown children—whether that child is struggling financially or could use the boost of a little indulgence.
I stumbled into my unusual present, but others have given gift-giving more thought and come up with presents that their grown children have really appreciated. The seven brilliant ideas of others are listed in my article on NextAvenue, the PBS Web site for baby boomers--everything the 50+ set is dealing with.
You can check them out there: "8 Gifts Your Grown Children Will Truly Appreciate." They range from paying off some of their debts--as in, a year's worth of monthly car payments--to providing meals when a new-born baby arrives to opening a Roth IRA retirement account for them.
Go forth and give non-gadgets.