Visiting Your Parents? Here Are the Best Last-Minute Gifts to Bring Them

Well, well, well. Look who thought they could see their folks for Thanksgiving without bringing them a gift. [Tousles your hair.] It’s OK, you simple rube, we’ve got you covered. Believe it or not, parents are surprisingly easy to shop for. Not all parents are the same, naturally; you may have a mom who lives for Live, Laugh, Love merch, or one who ran away with a mushroom dealer at Woodstock when she was 14; you may have a dad whose primary decorating aesthetic is “forest animals I’ve shot and taxidermied,” or a chill ‘n’ gentle dad who is all about cardigan-and-newspaper life. But there are some gifts that are pretty much guaranteed to do the trick for nearly all parents, and we’ve brought them to you here. 

We, of course, have extensive guides on the best presents for Dad and the best gifts for Mom, but if you haven’t had a chance to peep those yet, we understand. The holidays can be a stressful time, and worrying about buying gifts only compounds that wintertime anxiety. That, friends, is where your faithful Rec Room editors swoop in and save the day. 

Whether you waited until the last minute to get your folks a gift or you’re planning ahead for the holidays, here are some of the best last-minute gifts for parents, from neck massage machines and burrito blankets to suave cocktail kits and wine subscriptions. 

Don’t call it a char-coochie board in front of them 

They won’t get it, trust us. This Cheese Board and Knife Set by SMIRLY is made from bamboo and features knives, a slide-out drawer, a sauce compartment, and grooved edges to avoid spillage. It’ll be the star of the show at the next HOA meeting. 

Oil them up 

Brightland, an oil company that makes delicious cooking potions (and isn’t destroying the environment and polluting the ocean), has all of your parents’ oil needs covered with The Essential Capsule. It comes with two of the brand’s best olive oils, Awake and Alive, as well as the raw Champagne vinegar Parasol and the balsamic vinegar Rapture. Their salads are about to get a major upgrade, even if they refuse to replace the Dell desktop computer they’ve had since 2007. 

Taps mug

Sure you and your siblings know your mom and dad are the best parental units on planet Earth, but what’s it all for if they can’t showcase those credentials to their friends, family and coworkers during their early-morning Zoom call? Sometimes, channelling The Office’s Michael Scott is the best way to let others know how you feel about them.

A most important piece of luggage

Speaking of those who live to spoil their pets, sure, your folks could accessorize with a fancy hat or a designer clutch, but if you’re looking to get them the most flattering statement piece of all, look no further than the Roverlund Out of Office Pet Carrier. It’s made with an innovative 3-in-1 design and triples as an airline compliant pet carrier, car seat, and mobile dog or cat bed—plus, it comes with a bonus leash.

Flowers that won’t die

Dried bouquets are all the rage, people. They last for months, look fabulously retro, and never get stinky. Plus, your folks won’t feel burdened by the extra job of caring for live flowers—they’ve cared for enough living things for one life.

Upgrade their soap game

If your parents are still adding water to the basically empty bottle of Dawn they’ve been using for their hands, it’s time to get them this pared-down hand soap from Public Goods. With as simple-as-hell design and a clean, unfussy citrus scent, you can be sure it’s something they’ll actually use (with a price that won’t have them scolding you for spending too much on something like hand soap)

A nice oaky afterbirth

The California Wine Mixer by In Good Taste is the perfect gift for the parents who like to have a glass or two during (or before, or after) family FaceTimes. The brand will send them mini bottles of their favorite West Coast wines so they don’t have to put away an entire bottle every time they want a sip. Catalina Wine Mixer, here they come. 

It’s your turn to cook for them

OK: Umamicart is one of our favorite online Asian food grocers, and the Holiday Roast Duck Kit might just be the brand’s magnum opus. This holiday season, order the kit, bring it to your folks’ house, and cook for them (for once). Turkey seems so bogus next to juicy, crispy-skinned duck.

Candles are a gifting hack

Who doesn’t love an unconventional advent calendar? Sure, you could gift mom a regular-degular Yankee Candle, but what about a literal dozen top class candles that have a little bit of that bougie je ne sais quoi?

Not that kind of pot

Unless they’re trying to chill hard, of course. No, instead get them a Perfect Pot from Our Place, makers of the wildly popular Always Pan… What makes it so perfect? That it’s an all-in-one boiler, baker, crisper, and steamer, with a ceramic nonstick coating and included roasting/steaming rack, strainer, and spoon rest. Plus, it comes in a bunch of neat colors.

That’s a wrap 

It’s a burrito blanket. Need we say more? (Well, we will mention that it has a solid five-star rating from more than 41,000 enthusiastic reviews.) Aside from being perfect for the family’s annual white elephant ritual, this is something that could very likely become a favorite when the grandkids come to visit (or at least spark some conversation). Your parents may not know they need it, but once they get one, they’ll never want to live without it.

Help them take a load off

Since you can’t be there to give your parents a massage every day, why not give them a machine that does it for you? This Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager has three speeds and strength levels so they can dial in their ideal pressure to help them unwind. It also features a built-in heat function with auto-shut-off protection.

For when they’re knocking a few back

Nothing says “I love you” more than helping your folks get drunk in style. These Infused Cocktail Cubes take the hassle out of cocktail making—just pop the tray in the freezer for at least 24 hours, toss a single cube into a glass, add the appropriate amount of the appropriate booze, shake or stir until the cube completely dissolves, and boom. Cocktail time. 

Eat and be merry 

The holidays are a time for hanging with your family and enjoying good food and drink. In an effort to expedite that process, might we suggest gifting your folks a Silpat cake mold? It lets you bake cakes and other cakey treats with evenly spaced indentations, which make it easy to cut 12 even slices. (It’ll also subtly suggest that you’d like your parents to bake for you more often.) 

Those crafty, crafty Swiss

Other than picking a side in a conflict, there’s really not much the Swiss can’t do. Take this Swiss fondue set, for example. Just when you thought your folks couldn’t get any more cheesy, those mountain-dwellers drop this bad boy on ‘em, complete with a traditional cast iron rechaud, a handsome wood base plate, a cast iron pot with an enameled interior for easy cleaning, and heat-resistant, three-tine stainless steel forks with color-coded tips. Reap the benefits as your holiday gatherings suddenly feature waterfalls of raclette.

Multitasking is their strong suit…

…As is being clean and gettin’ tipsy. There are few better beers in life than the kitchen beer while you wait for your partner to finish getting ready to go out, the first pint after a long day of work, and the famed shower beer. This shower drink holder by 30 Watt helps with that last one.  

They’re gonna do dry January

Good for them! Livers are important—hence the name—and if they want to give it a break without sacrificing delicious craft drinks, we suggest picking up a bottle of nonalcoholic aperitif Ghia—or better yet, the brand’s Cocktail Box gift set. The set includes glass stirrers, a handmade Totem Glass and, of course, a full-size bottle of Ghia.

Get them baked

HA, HA, HA. (We know.) This best-selling kit from Williams Sonoma should give your parental unit(s) everything they need to start baking sourdough bread from scratch.

That vinyl collection is just collecting dust

Your recent investment in an apartment-friendly record player might have you eyeing your folks’ vinyl collection, but there’s a good reason that your parents refuse to part with a piece of their beloved archive—they’re going to get their vinyl player set up again… inevitably. Inspire them to get back in touch with their collection of tunes with an easy-to-use player that doubles as a piece of furniture.

Couch cushions hate this one simple trick

Your parents can keep all of their 11 remotes in this bad boy, and finally stop tearing apart the couch so they can get back to watching Outlander and pretending it isn’t softcore porn.

Embrace the cheug 

One of two things will happen when you gift your folks these customizable shirts. Either a) they’ll think it’s ironic and hilarious, or b) they won’t think it’s goofy at all and they’ll be psyched. Either way, they’ll love them!

FINAL DAD MODE: UNLOCKED

The Drop Stop is here to solve a problem all car owners have: the frequency with which we drop shit in that gap between the seats and the center console and have to root around pathetically trying to dig it out. Your parents will never lose their oversized Bluetooth headset in the crevices of the car again. (Disclaimer: Cell phone belt clip not included.) 

And remember: At the end of the day, they’ll love whatever you get them.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.

VICE US