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Emerald Recommends: Last minute gift ideas for your parents



Update: 3:05 p.m. More last minute gift ideas have been added to the list.

Let’s face it: our parents do a lot for us. In addition to being the reason we are in this world at all, our parents spent years loving us unconditionally, providing a home, feeding us, doing our laundry — the list goes on. The @CollegeStudent Twitter page perfectly summed up the dilemma of buying gifts for your parents on a student’s budget with this tweet from 2014:

With the holiday season coming to a close, we figured it might be helpful to share some easy gift ideas for your parents that you can pick up at the last minute. From the materialistic to the sentimental, we have you covered.

Tickets to an event

If you’re down to the wire, tickets can be a great gift for family members because you don’t have to leave the house to get them. Tickets to a Trail Blazers game, the Portland or Eugene Symphony, and most other concerts can be purchased online and either printed or sent to your home. Even if your parents don’t live in Oregon, you can find tickets online for a local sporting or music event with just a few clicks.
Tickets are perfect for giving your parents a memorable experience rather than just another knickknack for the house. Tickets also come in a wide price range, so you can splurge or save depending on your budget. If they don’t arrive in the mail on time you can always make a card by hand to let your family know what is on the way! — Leanne Harloff

Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen

After performing at the Super Bowl XLIII Halftime Show in 2009, Bruce Springsteen decided that it was time to write his autobiography. In it, he chronologically ventures through his life, beginning with his family life as an acne-ridden child growing up in Freehold, New Jersey all the way up through last year’s The River tour.

This isn’t a breakdown of all of his songs and albums, rather, it’s a 500-page chronicle of the Boss’s multi-decade career and how he handled the events that shaped his life. Most importantly, Springsteen shows the reader his internal thought process. It’s the closest the majority of us will ever be to having a conversation with him, and even if it is a one-sided talk, the reader will be left with a burning desire to revisit all of Springsteen’s music.

This book is perfect for Springsteen fans and music lovers alike. If your parents lived through the ’80s, they will know who Springsteen is, and the book is a fascinating look at the both the glorious and gruesome nature of music from one of the all-time greats. Born To Run should be available wherever new books are sold. The accompanying album of outtakes titled Chapter And Verse makes the perfect companion present. — Craig Wright

Just make something

If there’s one universal law of parenthood, it’s that parents need to accept any handcrafted gift from their children unconditionally, no matter how little artistic or practical talent their kids might have. This opens the door to all kinds of easy, moderately quick and cheap gift ideas that will still net you plenty of points in the effort category. Some ideas to toss around: pick up $5 of worth modeling clay, a pack of origami paper or an assortment of pipe cleaners from Target, then look up some hot tutorials on the internet to put something together. At the very least, your creations will scream, “I tried!” — Mathew Brock

Frame a picture

If you’re looking for a quick, inexpensive and meaningful gift for a parent — or any loved one for that matter — a framed photo is a great option. It’s an easy way to personalize your present and invest in something that will last.
If you already have a physical photo to use, perfect. If not, many department stores, like Target, provide speedy and cheap photo printing services. Access your Facebook or email on the in-store photo machine, select your pictures, and print away. A frame that complements the photo —likely available in the same store — is the finishing touch. If you have a little extra cash in your wallet, the photo can be professionally framed at a local framing store. Put a bow on it and voila. — Carleigh Oeth

Fill a stocking for your parents

Parents are always in charge of Santa’s duties: putting out presents on Christmas eve, consuming the cookies and milk we leave out and filling up our stockings with goodies. This holiday season, be your parents’ Santa and fill up a stocking for them instead. Just grab some of your parents’ favorite candy and maybe a gift card or two; throw in a few personal items like a movie or an album they love. Finally, decorate and personalize the stocking as an ode to them with family photos or a handwritten note glued on. — Patience Greene

Cook a meal for your family

It’s hard to buy Christmas gifts for parents. But if you’re racking your brain and struggling to come up with an idea, sometimes it’s best to look past physical items to buy. Try cooking a nice Christmas meal for the whole family. It’s a great way to make your parents happy without having to stress over their liking your gift. Everyone loves a homemade holiday dinner.

Subscribe to a magazine

If you’re in desperate need of a last minute Christmas gift for your parents, a magazine subscription is your answer. All you have to do is head to the closest convenience store and pick up your Mom or Dad’s favorite magazine and a card to go with it. They might be a little confused when they first open their gift, but your card will explain that this issue is only the first of a year-long subscription. This gift is great because it’s something that your parents can enjoy throughout the year and it won’t break the bank either.


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Mathew Brock

Mathew Brock